HBCU College Fair Panelist Preview: Clarence Ball

Clarence Ball

We’re previewing the panelists who will be talking about the HBCU experience at the New York Urban League’s HBCU College Fair on November 14th at Riverbank State Park– make sure you register! Next up: Tennessee State University graduate and Emmy winner Clarence Ball!

What is your favorite on campus memory?

My favorite memory on campus was winning 1st in Nation in Poetry Interpretation at the National Forensics Association Championship held at Tennessee State University. TSU was the first and last HBCU to host a national speech and debate tournament in the United States. This happened in 2008, my senior year, when my team hosted the tournament.

Why did you choose to attend an HBCU?

I chose to attend an HBCU because I went to a predominantly white high school and I felt culturally detached. I wanted to learn more about myself, my history and my culture by being a part of a scholarly community that champions the black mind.

What’s the most memorable quote you remember from your HBCU experience?

When I was a freshman I went to hear TSU’s then president speak to the class of 2008. He said, “never be afraid to be an elitist without apology”. That resonated with me because I knew from then on that there was nothing wrong being the best, still humble but the best.

Panelist Bio

Professor Clarence Edward Ball III hails from Houston, Texas where he was born and reared. He is an alumnus of Tennessee State University where he received a bachelor’s in Speech Communication and a minor was Africana Studies. He did his graduate study at Michigan State University where he received his degree in Research Journalism and Qualitative Methodology.

Amidst Professor Ball’s numerous academic and professional accolades chief among them is his Emmy Award (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) in Historical Cultural Programing. He produced this award winning work with Nashville Public Television about the African American experience in the state of Tennessee during the Anti-bellum and Post-bellum periods in the South.

As a competitive speaker and speech coach, Professor Ball has personally won a total of 186 awards to date and coached students at various universities to win a total of 364 local, regional and national awards. Moreover, he is a two time National First-Place Champion in Aristotelian Forensics and a three time International First-Place Champion in Public Speaking and Oral Interpretation.

Although Professor Ball is relatively new to the New York chapter of Young Professionals he has been active since 2011. He started his membership in the Nashville chapter and switched his membership to New York in 2014 upon agreeing to join Fordham University’s faculty.

Academically, Professor Ball’s research has eschewed the notion of minority academic inferiority and replaced it with the notion of pedagogical asymmetry. Professor Ball started is professional career at his alma mater Tennessee State University as an Assistant Professor in the Communications Department. During that time he added to his long list of accolades and won the American Forensics Association Best New Coaches Award. During his time at TSU he also was an Associate Producer/Researcher for Nashville’s PBS affiliate Nashville Public Television. Professor Ball began his career at Fordham University in January of 2014 as a Clinical Assistant Professor where he has been enriching the educational experiences of students ever since. He was recently named the Faculty Liaison to Minority Males by the STEP/CSTEP program housed in the Provost Office at Fordham University. He also coached the winning team of the 2015 Consulting Cup. The Consulting Cup is a public speaking competition student in the Gabelli School of Business with roughly 600 student competitors annually.

At Michigan State University in the internationally peer acclaimed journalism program Professor Ball made huge strides as a researcher. Continuing his history of research that impacts inner-city minority males, he chose to use some of his required course work to conduct useful research that impacted his community. For instance he used his qualitative research methods course to study social interactions between minorities and whites at Big Ten Institutions. During his first year of graduate school he won two Michigan Broadcasters Association awards, worked with the Big Ten Network, covered Barack Obama’s visit to the university and anchored MSU’s broadcast of the 2008 Presidential Election. His research at MSU was revered so highly in his field that his thesis was presented to the then United States Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings. The purpose was to inform the White House how it could better understand the minds African American students as they transition from the American education system into large state institutions.


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