More than 400 receive degrees at Clarion winter commencement

December 18, 2017

Clarion University graduated 419 students Saturday. Among the degrees are 54 associate, 249 bachelor’s, 113 master’s and three doctoral degrees.

Curtis ZimmermanThe guest speaker for commencement was Curtis Zimmerman ('79), founder and chief executive officer of The Zimmerman Agency, a $165 million marketing communications firm with an impressive list of global clients including: The Ritz-Carlton Company, Cooper Tires, Hunter Fans, Gold Toe Socks, Hard Rock Hotels, Pilot Pens, Aruba Tourism Authority, Firehouse Subs and others. Clarion University is another of his clients.

After graduating from Clarion with a degree in marketing, Zimmerman began his career in the Atlanta office of one of the world's largest advertising agencies. The education he received at Clarion – combined with a little hard work and creativity – helped accelerate his career, and he was soon recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as the advertising industry's rising star. At the age of 27, he was named the first new partner in the history of Atlanta's largest independent agency.

In 1987, with no clients, little money and a strong desire to raise their children surrounded by family, Curtis and his wife and business partner, Carrie (who also attended Clarion), moved to Tallahassee, Fla., and launched The Zimmerman Agency. The agency has grown to become one of the South's largest marketing communications companies, overcoming industry odds by becoming a nationally recognized, industry-leading firm from a smaller city.

Curtis is a member of the American Advertising Agency Association's Board of Governors.

In 2004, The Zimmerman Agency was acquired by Omnicom, the world's leading global marketing and corporate communications holding company.

Eric ZavinskiStudent speaker Eric Zavinski of Warren, Pa., is a degree candidate for a Bachelor of Science in communication, journalism with a minor in English writing.

Zavinski was editor-in-chief or news editor of The Clarion Call, the student newspaper. He has hosted Voices of Eagles, a news talk show on CUTV; student-directed the Honors Program; freelanced for the Oil City Derrick and News Herald; and wrote for various publications including The Odyssey, Order of the Arrow communications, Gamnesia and The Clarion Honors Chronicle. He has conducted and presented research on fake news, perceptions of police brutality and the changing media landscape.

Zavinski plans to become a web or print journalist. He aspires to be a published novelist so that the anthropomorphic heroes and villains in his head can inspire children around the world. He also wants to one day create an independent reporting agency with other dedicatedly unbiased journalists to inform the world and just maybe make it a slightly better place.

His parents are Ruth and Jeff Zavinski.

Last Updated 12/18/17