Former Trojan Pitcher Mark Prior Earns Degree On Friday

May 11, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- Former Trojan and current Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Prior will receive his bachelor's degree in business from USC during graduation ceremonies on Friday (May 14).

Following the 9 a.m. university-wide on-campus commencement exercises, Prior will speak at the Marshall School of Business ceremony at 11:50 a.m. at the Shrine Auditorium.

Prior signed a four-year, $10.5 million contract with the Chicago Cubs after being drafted No. 2 overall in the June 2001 draft following his junior year at USC. However, the San Diego native spent the past three off-seasons finishing his USC undergraduate classes.

He won the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur collegiate baseball player in the nation in his 2001 junior season, going 15-1 with a 1.69 ERA. He recorded a school and Pac-10 record 202 strikeouts while allowing only 18 walks in 138 2/3 innings, leading the Trojans to the College World Series.

Last year, Prior went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA as the Cubs reached the National League Championship Series. He struck out 245 batters in 211 1/3 innings and made his first appearance at the All-Star Game.

'This is another illustration of Mark's personal character,' said USC head coach Mike Gillespie. 'He made a determination to graduate for as long as we have known him. His family's commitment to a college education has been clear from the start. We are extremely proud of him.'

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