Dr. Eric Clark: Our November American Graduate Champion
Few people in Mississippi have been as committed to education as Dr. Eric Clark. Dr. Clark began serving as Executive Director of the Mississippi Community College Board in January of 2008. Prior to that he had served for twelve years as the Mississippi Secretary of State and sixteen years as a member of the Mississippi Legislature.
As head of the MCCB, he was responsible for overseeing Mississippi’s fifteen community and junior colleges. Mississippi has the oldest community college system in the nation. Each year, approximately 250,000 students receive education or training at a Mississippi public community or junior college. In Fiscal Year 2015, Clark managed an agency budget of approximately $7.2 million and oversaw the distribution of approximately $252 million in state appropriations to the public community and junior colleges.
Clark managed a staff of 39 employees that deal with finance, administration, academic and student affairs, workforce training, career and technical education, eLearning, and research for the community college system.
He led efforts to establish agreements between the public community colleges and public universities, ensuring a seamless transfer for community college students who transfer to a university. In addition, he helped bring technology upgrades to the Mississippi community college system including Electronic Audit Reporting System (eARS), which improves the enrollment verification process at each college; a redundancy project which ensures internet connectivity at all times to each of the community colleges; and a transition to Canvas, the eLearning platform.
He attended Jones County Junior College and received a bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College, a master’s degree from the University of Mississippi, and a doctorate in history from Mississippi State University. Dr. Clark taught history and government at Jones County Junior College, Mississippi College, and Belhaven University.
Eric Clark has been recognized with the American Family Association’s “God and Country” Award for authoring the law that outlawed possession of child pornography in Mississippi. He was also given the Mississippi Wildlife Federation’s Conservative Legislator of the Year and twice awarded the Mississippi Nature Conservatory’s Public Service Award for his efforts to preserve natural lands on the Gulf Coast. He is a Certified Public Manager.
Dr. Clark has served on numerous boards in the state in addition to being Executive Director of the Mississippi Community College Board until this past year. He has served on the boards of Jobs for Mississippi Graduates, the State Workforce Investment Board, Innovate Mississippi, and Mississippi Public Broadcasting. He continues to serve on the boards of the Mississippi Chapter of Nature Conservancy and the Humanities Council.
He is married to the former Karan Killebrew, a registered nurse who grew up in Durant and Forest, Mississippi. Their family includes two children, Charles and Catherine, daughter in-law, Katy, and grandson Benjamin. The Clarks are active members of First Baptist Church.