O.D. Skelton created what is now the Department of Foreign Affairs and International trade (formerly the Department of External Affairs) and was its Deputy Minister for 19 years. W.C. Clark created what is now the Department of Finance, of which he was Deputy Minister for 20 years. Both had moved on from Queen's to influential careers in Ottawa, where they are credited with helping to found the modern public service.
The money from the endowment was to be used to promote research and publication in fields underlying problems of public policy, and one of its chief uses over the years has been to bring people active or knowledgeable in public affairs to Queen's as Skelton-Clark Fellows, to write, meet with students and faculty, and generally participate in university life.
In 1977, the endowment was divided between the Departments of Economics and Political Studies, and while the former department now uses the money for different purposes, the latter department continues to bring Skelton-Clark Fellows to campus.
Recent fellows have included former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, Deputy Minister of Justice George Thomson, South African scholar and activist Mary Simons, and Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Louis Delvoie.