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Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark and ESPN anchor Jay Harris will speak to graduates at Old Dominion University's 100th commencement exercises Saturday, May 8, at the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

Two ceremonies will be held for the approximately 1,500 candidates eligible for graduation. Harris, a 1987 graduate of Old Dominion, will address graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering and Technology, and Sciences at the 9 a.m. ceremony. Clark, who will receive an honorary doctorate, will speak at the 3 p.m. ceremony for the colleges of Business and Public Administration, Education and Health Sciences.

The highest-ranking officer in the U.S. Navy, Clark has served as the 27th chief of naval operations since July 2000.

During his 36-year naval career, he has commanded three ships, the Atlantic Fleet's Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center, Destroyer Squadron Seventeen and Destroyer Squadron Five. After being selected for flag rank, Clark commanded the Carl Vinson Battle Group/Cruiser Destroyer Group Three, the Second Fleet and the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

Ashore, Clark has served as special assistant to the director of the systems analysis division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, administrative assistant to the deputy chief of naval operations (Surface Warfare) and administrative aide to the vice chief of naval operations. He served as head of the cruiser-destroyer combat systems requirements section and force anti-submarine warfare officer for the Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and he directed the Joint Staff's Crisis Action Team for Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Clark's first flag assignment was at the U.S. Transportation Command, where he was director of both plans and policy and financial management and analysis. While commanding the Carl Vinson Battle Group, he deployed to the Arabian Gulf and later served as the deputy commander, Joint Task Force Southwest Asia. Clark has also served as the deputy and chief of staff, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and as the director of operations and subsequently director, of the Joint Staff.
Clark graduated from Evangel College and earned an MBA from the University of Arkansas. His personal decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (three awards), the Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), the Legion of Merit (three awards), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious

Service Medal (four awards), the Navy Commendation Medal, and various service and campaign awards.

Harris, who received a bachelor's degree in speech communication from Old Dominion in 1987, is an anchor for ESPN's popular SportsCenter news/highlight program.

He joined ESPN in February 2003 as an anchor for ESPN News, one of four ESPN channels, but quickly began appearing on the Saturday morning and evening broadcasts of SportsCenter.

Harris began his career at WOWI-FM in Norfolk and served as morning news anchor for Sheridan Broadcasting and WAMO-FM in Pittsburgh. He moved to television in 1997, eventually becoming a weeknight news co-anchor at WPGH in Pittsburgh.

A 2003 Old Dominion Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Harris has also received a Silver World Medal from the New York Festivals for writing and hosting American Urban Radio Networks' "Year-in-Review" program.

This article was posted on: April 15, 2004

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