Posted on May 18, 2011

Commencement Speech Wasn’t NCCU Student’s Own

Jane Stancill, News & Observer (Raleigh), May 17, 2011

A law student who graduated from N.C. Central University last week is in hot water after plagiarizing a speech in front of thousands of people at commencement.

Preston Mitchum, 25, of Youngstown, Ohio, apologized Monday for his conduct, which has triggered a review by NCCU officials.

In an interview, Mitchum said he was under pressure to come up with a speech and found a YouTube video of a speech made last year by Anthony Corvino, a student at Binghamton University in New York.

Mitchum copied the speech, delivering parts of it word for word at Friday’s ceremony for graduate and professional students at NCCU. In an interview Monday, he said he meant to credit Corvino in the speech, but didn’t.


“Quite frankly, I’m disgusted,” Pierce said. “I spared no words in expressing to Mr. Mitchum how disgusted I am with this, and shocked. I mean, he is a student leader here at our law school. Plagiarism is a sad yet unfortunate reality in higher education, we all know that. That is not to make any excuse. . . . I would say, of all places, a school of law has no place for that.”


Mitchum, who is set to take the bar exam this summer and pursue another graduate degree at American University, was emotional as he discussed the situation.

“I just don’t want this to have an effect on my career,” said Mitchum, who has published two law review articles and was head of the law school student body.