Gerard William Clum, DC, FICA, longtime president of Life Chiropractic College West and a respected member of the chiropractic and health care community, died on Oct. 27. He was 71.
“The chiropractic community has lost a true pioneer with the passing of Gerry Clum, DC. His dedication to chiropractic education, society and the global health care community will not be forgotten,” said Nick Doyle, CEO of Chiropractic Economics.
Clum, born May 7, 1952, grew up in Buffalo, New York, and received his first chiropractic adjustment as a young teen in an attempt to save his decreasing vision after conventional medical approaches had failed to resolve the issue or even give any hope of recovery. His parents were told he would be blind by the time he turned 18. After the adjustment preserved his vision, Clum chose chiropractic as his career.
He received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, in 1973. After graduation, Clum practiced in Davenport and accepted an appointment as an instructor at his alma mater.
Clum spent a significant portion of his career working in chiropractic education.
In 1975, Sid E. Williams, DC, founding Life Chiropractic College in Marietta, Georgia, saw Clum’s potential and appointed him as a member of the charter faculty, a group known as the “Day One Faculty” of Life Chiropractic College.
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. In 1980, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Chiropractic Humanities for his efforts in the development years of the College.
Williams again saw Clum’s potential and sent him west to establish a second college; and in January 1981, Clum was appointed President of Life Chiropractic College West in Hayward, California. He served in that role for the next 30 years through January 2011. At the time of his retirement from Life Chiropractic College West, Clum received the title ‘President Emeritus’ from the school’s Board of Regents.
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, 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
This last dozen years of 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.
“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,” said Beth Clay, Executive Director of the International Chiropractors Association. “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.”
The Chillon Project
One of the most profound efforts Clum led is the 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.
Clum was active in the chiropractic profession throughout his entire career, serving in many organizations, including:
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.
Clum also received many prestigious awards, including:
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
Remembering Dr. Clum
In 2022, the Gerard W. Clum Lasting Purpose Leadership Legacy Lectureship was established by Life University and the Integrative Health Policy Consortium.
The International Chiropractors Association has several of Clum’s interviews and lectures available online. The link also includes several photos of his family and his accomplishments.