Terry native and longtime journalist Norm Clarke will be the commencement speaker at Montana State University-Billings on May 3 at MetraPark.
Clarke, who fell in love with news as a paper delivery boy and began his journalism career at the Terry Tribune in 1963, will share how his childhood dream to compete in the Olympics came true, but as a sportswriter with The Associated Press.
His speech will cover several life-changing decisions that helped him stay the course.
He left a dream job – as sports editor of the Billings Gazette – to tour Europe and nearly walked away from another dream job shortly after joining The AP in Cincinnati.
The reason he didn’t give up in Cincinnati, Clarke said, was because of a message he received in a small box from Terry residents.
In the box was a scroll, similar to those used in biblical times.
“I believe it was sent by Bud Goplen,” said Clarke. “Hundreds of encouraging messages were written on the scroll. All these friends saying ‘Go for it!’ I’ve never forgotten how much that meant to me – how much it changed my life.”
The 1960 graduate of Terry High went on to an award-winning career that included 12 years with AP in Cincinnati, San Diego and Los Angeles before he joined the Rocky Mountain News for 15 years. In 1991, Clarke broke the story that Denver was being awarded a National League franchise.
He has been the man-about-town columnist at the Las Vegas Review-Journal since 1999. Clarke was voted by Review-Journal readers as “Best Print Journalist” in 2013 and 2014. He appeared on NBC’s “Today” show last week for a story he broke about actor George Clooney.
Published April 30, 2014