On Wednesday, May 17th, the City of Peachtree Corners installed a Memorial Children’s Little Free Library at the Town Green in the Children’s Corner. The little library was donated by Steve Cloer on behalf of Mr. Cloer’s son, Benjamin ”Lloyd” Cloer. The little free library encourages kids to take a book and leave a book to encourage increased literacy and the love of reading.
Benjamin, A Norcross High School graduate in 2011, lost his life in an act of senseless gun violence on November 10th, 2019.
While at Norcross, Benjamin was an Honor Student, President of the Science Club, Co-Founder and Co-President of the Philosophy Guild, a member of the Math Team and a violinist in the Orchestra. He earned numerous academic awards and achieved an SAT score that put him in the top 2% of students in the nation.
Following high school, Benjamin was awarded an academic scholarship to attend the prestigious and selective Pomona College in Claremont, CA. In addition to his course studies, Benjamin worked as a Research Assistant studying biological neural networks and the binding of diabetes drugs. He was a member of the Future-Tech Club, Bit Coin Club and Nu Alpha Phi. He spoke Spanish fluently and was a member of the International Club. Being an accomplished violinist, he was awarded several scholarships to study advanced violin while at Pomona. In 2015 he earned a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience with a minor in mathematics.
After completing his undergraduate degree, Benjamin continued to pursue his education at Georgia State University as a full-time student. While taking graduate classes there he served as a Professor Assistant. He also worked full-time as a tutor at C2 Education and had many of his own clients he tutored evenings and weekends while going to Georgia State.
In the fall of 2018, Benjamin entered the Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) program at the University of Georgia. He also served as a Professor Assistant at UGA. While at UGA, Duke University selected Benjamin in the summer of 2019 to develop and teach a four-week course, “An Introduction to AI,” which was held for high school students on the Georgia Tech campus. In the fall of 2020, Benjamin was planning on attending Georgia Tech to pursue his Doctorate in Artificial Intelligence.
Benjamin loved the academic world, and that’s where he felt at home. He worked with numerous educational institutions as a tutor. He also called upon his entrepreneurial spirit to establish his own tutoring business to assist with his educational expenses. He used his tutoring talents and passion for learning to serve and inspire hundreds of students throughout his high school and college days.
Benjamin’s heroes were not from popular culture, but rather he was inspired by great historical thinkers, including philosophers, mathematicians, and physicists. He admired Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, Alan Watts, Thomas Bayes, Paracelsus and the stoic Marcus Aurelius.
In addition to his passion for academics, Benjamin had a love for the outdoors and adventure, which he shared with his father. Camping, hiking, rock climbing, dirt bike riding, snow skiing, caving, kayaking, Boy Scouts and exploring anything outdoors was always a part of his life. Exercising his interest in music he inherited from his mother, Benjamin and his violin often got together with his musician friends to “Jam”. He loved socializing with his countless friends and was often the instigator, planner and host of many social events.
At 26 years old, only a few weeks before he was to complete the requirements for his master’s degree in AI at UGA, Benjamin’s life was taken. Benjamin received his master’s degree in AI from UGA posthumously in May 2020.
Benjamin is described by those who knew him well as someone filled with compassion and caring for others. He had an innate empathic ability to feel when someone was in need. Many people have described him as being “an old soul.” He was always there to lend an ear and help his friends when they had any kind of problem. People looked to Benjamin for comfort and advice, and he never avoided helping someone in need. It was important to him to help make people's lives better in some way.
Friends of the Cloer family created an endowment at UGA for Benjamin. Thanks to those friends, the “Benjamin Lloyd Cloer Endowment for AI” is a reality at UGA. Because of all who have made a tax-deductible donation or will donate, there will forever be a “Benjamin Lloyd Cloer Endowment for AI” at UGA. This will create a legacy in Benjamin’s name that will eternally endure. The endowment began offering grants in the fall of 2020 to students in financial need who are studying artificial intelligence.
The library was paid for with funds Benjamin had acquired during his lifetime and was designed and built by Benjamin’s father.
The little library will be registered as an official Little Free Library, www.littlefreelibrary.org, and will be part of a program that provides over 150,000 libraries in more than 120 countries.
You can visit the Benjamin “Lloyd” Cloer Memorial Page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2541704642714986.
To view or donate to the Benjamin Lloyd Cloer Endowment for AI fund at UGA, please visit https://gail.uga.edu/as/benjamin-lloyd-cloer-ai-endowment.