Longtime Florida Tech Board of Trustees Member Charles Clemente Passes Away at Age 85

By  //  February 16, 2021

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gifted $5M in total to Florida tech over the course of his time on the board

Charles Clemente, a technology industry executive and longtime member of the Florida Tech Board of Trustees whose generosity helped reshape the university’s Melbourne campus has died at age 85. (Florida Tech image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Charles Clemente passed away Sunday, February 14 at age 85.

A technology industry executive and longtime member of the Florida Tech Board of Trustees, Clemente’s generosity helped reshape the university’s Melbourne campus and enhance the student experience with the sports and recreational complex proudly known as the Clemente Center.

The Boston native and Melbourne-area resident spent more than three decades in the computer and technology sectors, retiring as chief operating officer of America Online/Redgate Communications.

At that company and at hundreds of others, Mr. Clemente used his unique combination of operating management and hands-on counseling in strategic marketing and positioning to make those around him, and the companies they worked for, better.

He was previously involved in marketing and communications with Digital Equipment Corporation, Gray Stratton International and Hill & Knowlton, among others, and served as a consultant in strategic marketing and positioning to a variety of companies, from Fortune 100s to start-ups to leading international corporations such as IBM, XEROX, NEC and Phillips.

He worked extensively with boards of directors to formulate corporate business and marketing plans and the implementation of international mergers.

Mr. Clemente served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

In April 1999, he joined the Board of Trustees at Florida Tech, bringing outstanding business acumen, leadership and vision.

ABOVE VIDEO: Charles Clemente delivers an address during Eastern Florida State’s B.W. Simpkins Lecture Series in 2016.

He also brought unparalleled generosity, as demonstrated by a $2.5 million gift later that year from Mr. Clemente and his wife, Ruth, that helped produce one of the cornerstones of a revitalized south campus, the 58,000-square-foot Charles and Ruth Clemente Center.

Replacing the aging Hedgecock Gymnasium and classroom annex, the state-of-the-art facility opened in September 2001 and featured varsity and intramural gyms, a large fitness center and group fitness room, a multipurpose room, athletics offices and a café.

“Chuck was never the loudest person in the room, but he was always one of the sharpest,” Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay said.

“The combination of his experience in technology and business counseling made him an ideal Florida Tech trustee, and his guidance and insight will be greatly missed. We are so thankful for the time we got to spend with him, and for his everlasting impact on our university. Mary Helen and I send our deepest condolences to his family.”

Florida Tech’s sports and recreational complex is proudly known as the Clemente Center. (Florida Tech image)

Mr. Clemente gifted $5 million in total to the university over the course of his time on the board.

His community support extended beyond campus.

He was a former chair of the Astronauts Memorial Foundation and served on the boards of the King Center, the American Cancer Society and Easter Seals.

In 2005, he was named a laureate of the Junior Achievement of the Space Coast’s Business Hall of Fame.

Details on funeral arrangements are not yet available.

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