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Award-winning teacher to deliver commencement address

GREENVILLE, NC   (June 25, 2008)   —   Ron Clark, a national Disney Teacher of the Year and an East Carolina University graduate, will deliver the featured address at the 93rd spring commencement on May 11.

About 2,300 degree candidates will be recognized at the ceremony, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The public is invited, and no tickets are required.

Clark taught five years in Aurora after graduating from ECU in 1994 then moved to a classroom in Public School 83 in Harlem. His fifth-grade class had 37 students, none performing at grade level for reading, writing or math.

By the end of the school year, his class scored higher on grade 5 citywide tests in math and reading than classes labeled as "gifted."

For his work with those students, he was cited as the Disney Teacher of the Year last year, and he brought students from his class with him when he visited the ECU campus last fall.

A history major and North Carolina Teaching Fellow at ECU, Clark is no stranger to awards. He was named Beaufort County Teacher of the Year for the 1996-97 school year.

One of his class projects at Snowden Elementary in Aurora involved raising money to place an anti-smoking ad in a national newspaper. Among those who noticed the ad was then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, who invited him to the White House.

With contributions from the community, he was able to take his students with him for that visit.

Clark agreed to deliver the commencement address after Gen. Hugh Shelton, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the scheduled speaker, was injured in a fall and had to cancel numerous engagements.

More information about commencement is available at


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481