Clarence Underwood to speak at commencement

May 1, 2018

Distinguished alumnus Clarence Underwood, Jr., a veteran educator and leader for student-athletes, will speak to spring 2018 graduates of the Michigan State University College of Education on May 6.

Underwood taught in the East Lansing elementary and middle schools, played many different roles in the Big Ten Conference and worked for the MSU Athletics Department, serving as director from 1999 to 2002. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Health and Physical Education and his Ph.D. in Higher Education from MSU.

Clarence Underwood. Photo courtesy of MSU Athletic Communications.

“Clarence Underwood had a long and distinguished career as a teacher, counselor and administrator,” said Robert E. Floden, dean of the College of Education. “With his connections to our college, success in teaching and work with athletes, Dr. Underwood is an ideal College of Education commencement speaker.”

Underwood was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in September 2017, capping off a series of accolades to honor his contributions to the university and to college athletics more broadly. Underwood is credited with expanding academic support services for athletes and setting higher standards for compliance. He also led efforts to address issues of equity.

He received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003 and the Department of Kinesiology’s Professional Achievement Award in 2013.

“Throughout his career, Dr. Underwood has demonstrated a passionate commitment to excellence, service and equity,” said Alan Smith, chair of the Kinesiology department. “He is a lifelong educator who inspires us to expand and advance our efforts to promote learning, development and well-being.”

This year, there are 458 graduating seniors in the MSU College of Education, which includes majors in Kinesiology, Athletic Training, Elementary Education and Special Education.

The College of Education’s Baccalaureate Commencement Ceremony will be held from 4-6 p.m. May 6 at the Breslin Center. The event is free and open to the public.