Cliff Pope ’94
Gives Back In The Classroom And Community
When Purcell Marian High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, had to say goodbye to Cliff Pope after four stellar years, it knew it would be hard to replace the star athlete and standout student. Several years later, with a Wittenberg degree in hand, Pope returned to his high school alma mater, not to leave his mark on the gridiron or the wrestling mat, but rather in the classroom and in the community.
A recent recipient of the prestigious Praestans Awards for his career success, positive and lasting impact on the community, and for giving back in a substantial way to Purcell Marian High School, Pope acknowledges that he would not have had a chance of being recognized this way if it were not for his Wittenberg experience. “It’s incredible how much I grew emotionally, spiritually and matured as a man,” Pope said. “The different people I met from the various parts of Ohio, the country and the world really opened my eyes to so many things.”
Pope has had a tremendous 17-year career in secondary education. At Purcell Marian, Pope has garnered many awards as a religious studies teacher and as assistant principal-dean of students, including being named “Most Promising Teacher” in 1994, inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s High School Teachers in 1998, the Marianist Sesquicentennial Award in 2000, and Teacher of the Year in 2000 and again in 2004.
Wittenberg has also positively engrained the importance of community service into Pope’s mind. “One facet of my Witt experience as a student that has stayed with me throughout my career is my constant need to stay involved in my community,” Pope says.
For the past four years, Pope has assisted the non-profit organization, Power Inspires Progress (PIP), which helps recently released ex-convicts and recovering drug addicts transition back into everyday society. Based out of Cincinnati, PIP was a perfect opportunity for Pope to satisfy his hunger for community service. From initially working as a tutor for basic computer skills to assisting with resumes and preparing individuals for job interviews, Pope today serves on PIP’s Board of Advisors.
Pope, who now works at Cincinnati Elder High School, has also given back to Wittenberg by acting as a pipeline for future Tigers. In addition to recruiting relatives to attend, Pope has also sent former students and former players whom he has coached to his alma mater.
“Witt’s motto is ‘having light we pass it on to others’, I feel like I have done that.”