Clark Burrus was the head of Finance for the City of Chicago and later Vice Chairman of Chicago's largest bank and an expert in issues pertaining to minorities in public finance. He was born and raised in Chicago.
After graduating from Roosevelt University in 1954 with his undergraduate degree he worked for the City of Chicago. During his 25 years with the City he served under 7 Chicago Mayors. He became Comptroller of the City of Chicago in 1973. In this role he was the head of the Department of Finance and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Chicago. He was the first African-American to hold this office.
Burrus had many great achievements during his career with the City. He established billions of dollars in capital improvements for Chicago infrastructure including the CTA, Metra, and Pace. He also brought Chicago's accounting practices in order; under his leadership the City of Chicago earned a AA-bond rating. This was important because in 1979 the whole country was engulfed in an economic crisis. Having a strong credit rating was immensely helpful in getting Chicago through financial tough times.
Several bank acquisitions and mergers occurred in the 1990s and 2000s. First National Bank of Chicago is now known as Chase Bank.
Next Clark worked First National Bank of Chicago from 1979 until 1988. He retired as Vice Chairman of Capital Markets and was the co-leader of Public Banking.
Watch this Chicago History Museum oral history with Clark Burrus from May 22, 2012
His civic involvements were many; he was on the board of several Chicago organizations including: Chicago Council of Urban Affairs, The Economic Development Council, The Harold Washington Foundation, Urban Gateways.
Honorary Clark Burrus Way was dedicated the first week in August, 2017. The sign unveiling was hosted by Alderman Ed Burke of the 14th Ward, who is the head of the Finance Committee. Other Chicago dignitaries included: Carole Mosley Braun, Carole Brown, Dorothy Brown. Clark Burrus' widow, Lucille, and a showing of fifty family members attended the ceremony in front of the bank where he once worked.
Honorable Clark Burrus Way
Alderman: Reilly (42), and Burke (14)
Dedicated: August 2017
November 5, 1928 - June 17, 2015. Age 86
Englewood High School. 1946
Roosevelt University MPA, Master of Public Administration 1972
Updated: August 3, 2017