For both lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H, NC State University professor emeritus and 4-H alumnus Dr. James W. Clark Jr. was among 16 people inducted last week into the National 4-H Hall of Fame at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
“We are proud to acknowledge the outstanding 2017 National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees for the passion, dedication, vision and leadership they have shown toward young people during their many years of service to 4-H,” says Jeannette Rea Keywood, who chairs the National 4-H Hall of Fame Committee.
Clark was honored as “the ultimate citizen leader” — one who has promoted 4-H in every phase of his personal and professional life. He has served 4-H directly as the author of two 4-H history books and a leader of the successful drive to build a 4-H museum in North Carolina.
Clark was a 4-H’er in Warren County, where he excelled at a range of projects. He was a national winner in the entomology project and, in 1961, he was inducted into the state 4-H Honor Club, the highest accolade awarded to 4-H youth in North Carolina.
From 1967 until his retirement in 2015, Clark was an English professor at NC State. Clark also directed the College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Extension and Publications Program (1993-2003) networking with Extension agents for program effectiveness, and he served as special assistant to the vice chancellor for Extension, Engagement and Economic Development (2005-2006). Among his duties with the Extension program, Clark encouraged faculty members in other colleges to embrace extension work including 4-H.
Jim Clark has fully lived the 4-H pledge throughout his life. He is an inspiration to all who know and admire him.
Clark is a much sought-after volunteer instructor in the university’s Encore Program, teaching 2-3 courses per year on a variety of topics including folklore, creative writing, literature and philosophy. He also frequently conducts study trips for the Encore Program, and he teaches Life Writing Workshops at senior centers, churches, 4-H and other organizations.
He was instrumental in helping teach the art of writing and helped 4-H youth acquire a love for writing by conducting numerous writing camps for 4-H’ers. In 1984, Clark published the first history of North Carolina 4-H, “Clover All Over.” As a volunteer, Clark assembled the research, conducted interviews with the people whose stories he sought to tell, and even paid from his own pocket to have the book indexed by a professional. To commemorate the 2009 centennial of 4-H in North Carolina, Clark took up his pen again for 4-H, this time to take the story of “Clover All Over” into the 21st century. He also provided leadership in 2009 for a long-term exhibit in NC State’s D.H. Hill Library celebrating the 100th anniversary of 4-H in North Carolina.
In 2011, Clark was recognized with the 2011 North Carolina 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to his service to 4-H, he has been a volunteer and leader with many groups and organizations, including the Paul Green Foundation, the Friends of the Gregg Museum of Art and Design, the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, North Carolina Freedom Monument Project, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, and the Chautauqua National Book Prize Committee.
Shannon McCollum, 4-H youth and adult leadership and training specialist at NC State, noted that Clark “has fully lived the 4-H pledge throughout his life. He is an inspiration to all who know and admire him and appreciate the many ways in which his knowledge, skill and commitment to 4-H ideals and principles are mirrored in his work.”