October 28, 2023 (Falls Church, VA) It is with a heavy heart, that I share the news of the passing of one of the Giants of the chiropractic community and healthcare overall – Dr. Gerard William Clum.
ICA President, Dr. Selina Sigafoose Jackson stated, “Dr. Gerard Clum, known to many as Gerry, was one of my first memories at Life Chiropractic College. He and his family lived right down the street from our family condo in Ashborough Village. I used to babysit his children while visiting my siblings who were in chiropractic school, over my summer break. I never knew a man who could be so intelligent and important, yet so down to earth. Over the years, I have had the privilege of traveling abroad with him and sharing stages. My memories of Dr. Clum carry so much laughter, compassion, and awe. Gerry is truly a chiropractic legend. I am not sure he would have seen himself as that, but I don’t know anyone who would dare see him any other way.
I know his wife Cathy and their children are suffering right now and most likely will for some time. But love runs deep, and I pray they have the gift of feeling his presence in all their memories, love, and laughter they will share for years to come. Knowing that many of us thank God that He gave our chiropractic family and profession this gift of a man, even if it was for this too short of a time. We will remain forever grateful for the time we had and the power he so eloquently shared. “
About Dr. Clum: He grew up in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Clum’s story started with first official adjustment, which was not a ‘back or neck pain’ issue, but something much more profound. Dr. Clum received his first adjustment as a young teen in an attempt to save his vision after conventional medical approaches had failed to resolve the issue or even give any hope. His parents were told he would be blind by the time he turned 18.
Vision preserved, Dr. Clum chose chiropractic as his career, and received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1973. After graduation, Dr. Clum practiced in Davenport, Iowa and accepted an appointment as an instructor at his alma mater. In 1975, Dr. Sid E. Williams, in founding of Life Chiropractic College in Marietta, Georgia, saw Dr. Clum’s potential and appointed him as a member of the charter faculty, the “Day One Faculty”, of Life Chiropractic College.
Dr. Clum went on to serve as the Registrar and Director of Admissions at Life Chiropractic College and ultimately as the Chair of the Division of Chiropractic Sciences at the College. In 1980, Dr. Clum was awarded an honorary Doctor of Chiropractic Humanities for his efforts in the development years of the College.
Dr. Williams, again saw his potential and sent Dr. Clum west to establish a second college; and in January 1981, Dr. Clum was appointed President of Life Chiropractic College West (Hayward, CA). He served in that role for the next 30 years through January 2011. At the time of his retirement from Life Chiropractic College West, Dr. Clum was provided with the title ‘President Emeritus’ by the Board of Regents of Life Chiropractic College West.
Dr. Clum is known for his ability to translate complex technical/clinical matters into readily understood and appreciated concepts. He has served as a postgraduate faculty member at ten chiropractic educational institutions.
In March 2011, Dr. Clum again accepted a faculty appointment at Life University in Atlanta, Georgia. At that time, he was named the Director of The Octagon at Life University as well as the President’s Liaison for External Affairs. Subsequently, he was appointed Director of the Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics also at Life University.
The Octagon Institute Legacy: This last dozen years of Dr. Clum’s career may have the most profound effect, not just on chiropractic, but in society and the global community. The Octagon was established in 2007 to be a vibrant, dynamic, and engaging community of academics, researchers, business leaders, political scientists, and dreamers who would be willing to engage questions of the day from the perspective of Life University’s vitalistic philosophy that sees all systems as inter-related, and all living systems as self-aware, self-healing and self-evolving. Under Dr. Clum’s leadership, it was focused on fulfilling the Board’s vision that it serve as a vehicle to promote world-changing conversations addressing Life University’s eight core proficiencies: Integrity and Citizenship, Communication and Relationship Theory, Philosophy of Human Existence, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Belief Systems and Performance, Learning Theory/Critical Thinking, Contemporary Scientific Paradigms, and Integrative Change. Each year, The Octagon hosted a conference or think tank to advance a topic.
Beth Clay, ICA Executive Director stated, “While I had known Dr. Clum for my years at the National Institutes of Health and working for Congress as a leader in the chiropractic profession, it was not until we both were volunteering on a number of projects, including the Integrative Health Policy Consortium, that I came to call him friend and mentor. The brilliance of this ‘Gentleman Scholar’ is recognized worldwide. In 2013, I was honored to participate in the Octagon Conference, “Creating 2025” and be immersed for three solid days on a single vision – maximizing the potential of chiropractic with Dr. Clum and the gathered experts. It was a profound experience in witnessing his depth of knowledge not just of chiropractic, but all of health care and vision for how chiropractic can play a major role in reshaping how the nation, the world perceives health, not through the lens of medicine, but through the lens of personal empowerment. These last few years have been particularly challenging for Gerry, but through it all, he willingly shared his wisdom, his amazing sense of humor, his love for Cathy and his family, and his friendship.”
One of the most profound efforts led by Dr. Clum is the Chillon Project. (http://www.compassion.life.edu/chillon-project/) This undertaking of LIFE’s Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics (CCISE), together with the Georgia Department of Corrections, introduced degree programs in Georgia’s correctional facilities. It will be one of a handful of such programs in the entire Southeast. An innovative feature of The Chillon Project is the inclusion of scholarships for correctional officers employed by the GDC, as well as their family members, to also have increased access to higher education at Life University.
When one realizes that when Life University was established, only about half of Georgians would receive a high school diploma; the extension of Sid William’s vision to bring college education to more Georgians by extending it through the Chillon Project is truly the embodiment of the Lasting Purpose: To live an inner-directed life, to give, to do, to love, to serve, out of your own abundance.
ICA Leader and Leader in the Chiropractic Profession
Dr. Clum, for many years, was a leader in the ICA. He was active in the profession throughout his entire career, serving in many organizations including the following:
- International Chiropractors Association – served as a member of the Board of Directors for over 20 years, as a member of the Executive Committee and as Vice-President.
- World Federation of Chiropractic – served as a founding member of the WFC Council Board of Directors for over 25 years (on behalf of the ICA), and as an officer having passed through all of the chairs of the World Federation of Chiropractic.
- Association of Chiropractic Colleges – founding board member, member and officer having passed through all of the chairs of the Association of Chiropractic Colleges
- Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) – served as a representative of Life Chiropractic College West to the Board of Directors for approximately 20 years, as a member of the Executive Committee and as the Treasurer of the Council on Chiropractic Education
- Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) – served as a member of the Board of Directors for twenty years, as a member of the Executive Committee and spokesperson for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.
A Snapshot of Dr. Clum’s Many Honors and Awards
- Golden Achievement Award, Foot Levelers, Inc., Chiropractic Philosophy, January 2006
- Hayward Chamber of Commerce, Businessperson of the Year 2000, presented January 26, 2001
- Volunteer Business Leader of the Year, Hayward, California, October 2000
- Rotary International Vocational Award, Hayward Rotary Club, June 21, 1999
- The “Big Idea Award,” Chiropractic Leadership Alliance, July 19, 1997
- Chiropractor of the Year, Monterey Peninsula Chiropractic Society, September 1995
- President’s Citation, ICA, September 13, 1995
- Certificate of Appreciation, Tokyo Chiropractic College, Tokyo, Japan, March 1995
- Certificate of Appreciation, International Chiropractors Association of California, February 1995
- Acknowledgment, American Black Chiropractic Association, August, 1994
- Certificate of Appreciation, New York Chiropractic Council, October 1994
- Presidential Award, California Chiropractic Association, June, 1994
- Outstanding Administrator of the Year, Associated Students of Life Chiropractic College West, 1994
- Certificate of Appreciation, Colorado Chiropractic Association, 1993
- Honorary Membership Award, Michigan Chiropractic Council, April 1993
- Distinguished Service Award, New York Chiropractic Council, October 1993
- Man of the Year, Dynamic Chiropractic, December, 1992
- President’s Citation of Distinguished Service – Palmer College of Chiropractic, August 1992
- Chiropractor of the Year – International Chiropractors Association, May 1992
- Certificate of Appreciation, Tokyo Chiropractic College,
- Tokyo, Japan, December 1988,
- Service Award – International Chiropractors Association of California, June 1987
- Fellow of the International Chiropractors Association, July 1987
- Certificate of Excellence – International Chiropractors Association – April 1985
- Doctor of Chiropractic Humanities – Honoris Causa, Life Chiropractic College, June 1980
- Lee-Homewood Award of the Association for the History of Chiropractic 2014
- 2015 Honor Award of the World Federation of Chiropractic
- In 2022, the Gerard W. Clum Lasting Purpose Leadership Legacy Lectureship was established by Life University and the Integrative Health Policy Consortium.
In His Own Words: We are blessed to have several of Dr. Clum’s interviews and lectures online. Links are provided below. These treasurers are worth the time.
Parker Seminars; Why Chiropractic Must Remain Separate and Distinct
Last updated on November 6, 2023 at 7:47 pm