CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The U of I is mourning the loss of a beloved dean. Former dean Clarence Shelley died.

He took on a number of roles over the years, from dean of students, to special assistant to the chancellor. He played a major role in “Project 500,” which was the university’s first big effort to ensure equal education opportunities. He encouraged U of I to bring in students who were underrepresented. Those who knew him say he was a leader.

“He was a mentor to everyone,” Danita Brown Young, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said. “He was a father figure. He was a counselor, an advocate. I mean, he was so special, definitely one in a million.”

She went on to say he would help students night and day, while continuing to navigate them even after they left the university.