Clark Bunting Takes Helm as CAS Alumni Board President

Posted on: January 8, 2014

ClarkBunting_featureClark Bunting took the reins Jan. 1 as President of the CAS Alumni Board. He also recently accepted the position as President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA).

Bunting, who holds a bachelor's degree in Advertising ('77) and a master's degree in Communication (84') from CAS, just finished his first three-year term on the Alumni Board and began his second three-year term Jan. 1.

"I'm at a point in my life where I want to give back," Bunting said. "MSU had a lot to do with where I am today and has had a tremendous impact on my life.

"The university gave me a great education, enabling me to have some success in my career, and also gave me a sense of obligation that being a Spartan is a two-way street. There is a sense that we should give back to this university, which was very good to me. So I ask, how can I give back? How can I give back of my time? How can I give back of my resources?"

Giving back to MSU has always come natural to Bunting. Throughout his career, he has hired MSU interns and graduates. He also has come back to the college to speak to students and was MSU's commencement speaker in December 2001, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree of humane letters. More recently, he served as a key adviser for the development of the Media Sandbox, and along with fellow CAS alumnus Craig Murray (B.A. '76 Advertising), gave the Media Sandbox inaugural lecture.

"As the Dean of CAS over the past five years, I have been incredibly fortunate to have someone as accomplished, approachable and passionate about MSU and the college so actively engaged on the CAS Alumni Board," notes Pam Whitten.

"Clark is a visionary who will provide extraordinary leadership and energy to the CAS Alumni Board and the college at a very critical time. The world of communication and communiction technologies are constantly changing the way we engage as a society, in education and in our global economy. Clark has a unique grasp of how this impacts the college from multiple perspectives, including how we teach, what we create, and the types of research we should pursue," adds Dean Whitten.

The former President of the Discovery Channel started his new position Nov. 11 at the NPCA, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with the mission of protecting and enhancing America's National Park System for present and future generations.

With more than 400 sites in the national park system, Bunting says his favorite is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan. That may be because of the trips he made there as a kid with his family.

"Growing up on the outside of Detroit, my parents would throw us in the car and go up north...and we would bring lot of sand back with us," Bunting said.

Those trips also helped teach him a love for the outdoors, which has served him well throughout his career.

Bunting was the ninth person hired by the Discovery Channel, beginning his career at Discovery in 1985 when the network first started broadcasting.

During his 27-year career with the Discovery Channel, Bunting served in various positions including Executive Vice President and General Manager, Animal Planet Executive Vice President and General Manager, President of Discovery Studios and finally President of the Discovery Channel, in which he lead all aspects of the network's programming, production, development, operations, new media, marketing, communications and research.

Bunting oversaw production of some of the Discovery Channel's most successful and highest rated shows, including "Deadliest Catch," "Mythbusters," "Dirty Jobs" and "American Chopper" and helped launch the highly successful "Shark Week." He also created and launched Discovery's Animal Planet network. Under his leadership, one of the Animal Planet's most notable successes was the introduction of Steve Irwin, "The Crocodile Hunter." Bunting worked closely with Irwin on the production of the popular "The Crocodile Hunter," "The Crocodile Hunter Diaries" and "Croc Files" series.

Bunting retired as president from the Discovery Channel in March 2012. Before joining the NPCA, he did what he calls "a gap year."

"I was at a moment in my life when I looked back and thought about the future. I took a year off to think about what I wanted my second chapter to be," Bunting said. "And, for a kid from suburban Detroit, I was blessed to have been all over the world. It was an enormously exciting opportunity, but it was a time to think about giving back."

Bunting is the recipient of numerous awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award in Media, presented at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in October 2011, and the Steve Irwin Memorial Goodwill Ambassador Award, presented at the Queensland Expatriate Awards in 2007. He also received MSU's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011.

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