sealPurdue News

December 9, 2002

Purdue to award honorary doctorate of education

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University will award an honorary doctorate in education on Sunday (12/15) to a pioneer in the international implementation of Reading Recovery, a literacy intervention program.

Purdue President Martin C. Jischke will present the degree during a winter commencement ceremony to Marie M. Clay, a Dame Professor Emerita at the University of Aukland in New Zealand. Clay's early work as a child psychologist involved the study of children as they acquire literacy. She then created the teacher professional development model for the Reading Recovery program, which links elementary schools with universities for intensive training in literacy intervention.

Clay's development of learning theory prompted the National Reading Conference to name her the "Most Influential Theorist Over Three Decades: 1960s-1990s." She has received many additional honors, including the Charles A. Dana Foundation Award for Pioneering Accomplishment in Health and Education and the Mace Medal from the Australian and New Zealand Association of the Advancement of Science. Clay also served as president of the International Reading Association from 1992 to 1993.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Clay earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the University of New Zealand in 1946 and 1948, respectively. She completed postgraduate work in clinical child psychology at the University of Minnesota in 1951 before earning her doctorate in education from the University of Auckland in 1966.

CONTACT: Jim Vruggink, university relations director of special projects, (765) 494-2086,

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: A publication-quality photograph of Marie M. Clay is available at

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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