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Release: Jan. 18, 2000


4:30–5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20

Northwestern Room (Third Floor) Iowa Memorial Union

Joe Clark, education activist, heralded in movie 'Lean on Me' to appear at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Joe Clark, an educator turned activist, who took on a Paterson, N.J. public school and received national acclaim for his work in energizing once-apathetic, under-performing students and re-making them into a model of excellence in education, will be available to address the media at a Thursday, Jan. 20 press conference. Clark will address a public audience at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20 at the Iowa Memorial Union Main Lounge.

Clark appears at the University of Iowa as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. keynote lecturer, invited to campus by the UI Lecture Committee. Clark's appearance also coincides with Human Rights Week 2000, (Jan. 16-23), a week-long event sponsored by various UI departments in recognition of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Clark, a former Army drill instructor was epitomized in the 1986 movie, "Lean on Me," played by Morgan Freeman. Clark was named one of the nation's ten "Principals of Leadership" an award he received two years after New Jersey's governor named his Eastside High School a model school.

Clark, who began his principalship at Eastside High School in 1981, resigned from that position in 1990 and since has been lecturing across the country.

In 1995 he was appointed director of the Essex County Youth House, a juvenile detention center in Newark, N.J. In his biography he says he accepted the position because he wanted to "effect change," in the city where he grew up. Clark is the author of "Laying Down the Law."

For more information on Clark, visit the UI Lecture Committee Web site at