In Memoriam: Clarence “Earl” Carter, assistant dean in the College of Science

Author: Deanna Csomo McCool

Earl Carter. Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame.
Earl Carter. Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame.

Clarence “Earl” Carter, 61, assistant dean for faculty affairs and special projects in the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, died unexpectedly on Thursday, May 14, at his home.

After a long career in the United States Navy, Carter joined the University faculty in 2011 as a professor of naval science and commanding officer for the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit. He became an assistant dean in 2013, where he served in a chief of staff role for matters pertaining to the College of Science faculty. He coordinated special events and projects, and assisted in the college’s strategic planning. He served as interim managing director of the Notre Dame Haiti program from 2013 to 2015.

“Above all, Earl was a very kind and generous person who lived his faith,” said Mary Galvin, the William K. Warren Foundation Dean of the College of Science. “His compassion was evident through his interactions with faculty, staff and students, and he had a way of listening and advising that solved many problems and healed wounds.

“From my start at Notre Dame, I turned to Earl for guidance and advice. He made the college and all of us better, and will be forever missed.”

During his 32-year naval career, Carter was a submariner whose career highlights included serving as commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Scranton, leading its crew on the first mission to the North Pole by a Los Angeles Class submarine, and later serving as commander of Submarine Squadron Eight, comprising 10 fast-attack submarines and their crews. Carter earned a number of medals, awards and commendations before retiring in 2012.

In his role as assistant dean, Carter worked closely with the Notre Dame Office of the Provost, including Christine Maziar, vice president and senior associate provost for budget and planning. As an academic administrator, Carter wore several hats and switched gears often, which he did with ease, Maziar said.

“You don’t carry ‘special projects’ in your title without being that special kind of person who can be assigned some of the toughest, often irregular, and sometimes off-the-wall assignments without complaint, and Earl was one of those special people,” Maziar said.

He was also an advocate who worked tirelessly for the Notre Dame Haiti Program, which has culminated in the Bon Sel Dayiti Salt Project. The project fortifies salt to reduce iodine deficiencies and to eliminate lymphatic filariasis, a disease of the immune system that causes swelling of the limbs, breasts and genitals and is a leading cause of disability in the world.

He was completely committed to health and welfare of the people of Haiti, according to volunteer David O’Brien, who said, “He deeply believed he was serving Christ through our work.”

In addition, Carter was involved with the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund, which is dedicated to funding medical research projects to find a treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C disease. He often assisted with the yearly golf outing, the Parseghian Classic in Pebble Beach, California. The outing is a major fundraising event for the organization.

Carter is survived by his wife, Lea; his two daughters, Alora and Ciera; a son, Joseph; and his sister, Kathryn Carter.

Visitation will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, at Grace Church, 52025 Gumwood Road, Granger. Funeral services will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 28, at Grace Church. Burial will take place at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.

Contributions in his memory may be made to Boy Scouts of America, LaSalle Council #165, 1340 South Bend Ave., South Bend, IN 46617, or Grace Church, 52025 Gumwood Road, Granger, IN 46530. They may also be made to the Haiti Salt Program online at, by phone at 574-631-5150, or by mail to University of Notre Dame, Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.