Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world
Clay Aiken graduated on Saturday, December 20, 2003, from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in special education from UNCC’s College of Education.
Clay obtained his degree during an afternoon ceremony at the school’s Halton Arena, and according to people in attendance at the ceremony, he was just another face among all of the black-robed graduates. Others disagreed and said he could be spotted because of his height and his signature spiked hair that stuck out from beneath his mortarboard.
Being the very last of the 593 graduates, Clay’s name was only mentioned as he walked across the stage. When he approached the stage, there were lots of flashbulbs that went off in the arena. As his name was announced, there was lots of applause with an occasional boo from a few hecklers. Because of his appearance at the commencement, the school was forced to impose a first-time limitation on tickets available to the grads. This was an unpopular policy with many of the students although it is commonplace at many universities.
James Woodward was the Chancellor of the university. He said, “One among you has received a bit more attention, and he would like to speak to his class.” He then asked Clay to join him on the stage.
Clay was humble, yet articulate as he spoke to the crowd saying,
“This has been an amazing year for me. This is more special to me than a lot of the things that have happened to me this year, because what happens here today says something to people. This is a day that makes for all of us a statement … how important it is to persevere and continue to work and strive to succeed.
Thank you for letting me be a part of this day. Congratulations and God bless. Thank you so much.”
His short speech was met with immediate and rousing applause.
After the ceremony, Clay held a short press conference where he spoke about the Bubel/Aiken Foundation. He presented a check from the foundation for $25,000 to the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The Council presents the President’s Volunteer Service Awards to people who demonstrate a sustained commitment to their community. The Foundation’s gift was given to provide awards to those who make a sustained commitment to serving people with developmental disabilities.
Clay’s graduation and his attendance at the ceremony spoke loudly at how important the event was to Clay and his family. That he was able to graduate with all the changes in his life showed determination and purpose. Congratulations to Clay Aiken for the 6 year anniversary of his college graduation.
WRAL covered the graduation and the following video is their report of the event.
Each day you write an article about Clay with so much love and caring. Each day as I read there
are so many things about Clay that only make me more proud – these articles sometimes bring
smiles and laughter. Today "good" tears of pride and love for this young man who has touched so
many lives – "Clay I hope you make me feel these emotions for a long time to come!!" The last 9yr.
have been magical and I so look forward to the New Year – looks like it will even be better than the past. <3
It is cool that Clay had such dedication to finish his degree even with everything else going on at the time. He's such a wonderful example in showing the importance of education.
Where did 8 years go????? It was nice re-living this again. I loved how Clay puts Education on the top of his list. A great example for others to follow. Well done Clay!! Loved watching the clip of Clay speaking..but got caught up watching other youtube videos of Clay….It's what I do!!!!!!
What an amazing memory and an amazing young man Clay is! Thanks!
Great article, loved reading the history up to his graduation. He certainly keeps his priorities straight, I am so proud of the example he sets for others. 8 years wow, hard to believe.
Thank you so much for posting this. As a "newbie" of sorts, I've never seen many of the articles and interviews he's done. This one touches a place deep in my heart and I am seeing a side of this young man that I like very much. So again, thank you and please keep posting these.
Just another example of how Clay has a role model for the last 8 years. Education comes in all forms and what he has achieved shows it.
I have always admired Clay for his determination to finish his degree. It took hard work and dedication on his part to complete the requirements while being so busy with all of the aftermath of AI. That says to me the type of man he is. He wanted to be sure he could finish what he started and he wanted to be sure he could continue to work with children even though he was then a successful entertainer. He put his education and children at the top of his list and I respect and admire him so much for that.
Thank God that Clay made sure he got his degree. Because of the special project he needed to create in order to graduate, we now have the National Inclusion Project. It would not have surprised me, however, if Clay ended up creating an inclusion charity all on his own anyway.
I loved watching that video again. It shows what a lot of determination can do. Very proud of all the good things he has done in his life. Also, know there will be many more accomplishments from this wonderful young man.