Clarence Shelley earned his Masterʹs Degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. He then taught English and Speech at Northeastern High School for several years. He subsequently developed programs to facilitate the admission and retention of minority students in colleges and universities throughout the Midwest. He has taught and counseled at the Cranbrook School, Bloomfield Hills; Dartmouth College and Wayne State University. He came to the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign in 1968 to organize one of the nationʹs earliest minority student recruitment efforts. In 1974 he was named Dean of Students, and in 1984 he became Assistant Vice Chancellor then Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and finally Special Assistant to the Chancellor. He has received numerous awards and citations for his service to higher education, with a special interest in advocacy for those groups that remain underrepresented in American colleges and universities. In 2002, he was awarded the Chancellorʹs Medallion for service to the Campus.
Clarence was featured in Difference Makers 2010: An eBlack Champaign-Urbana Publication.