Background Image

Bart Blaner '83

In this Section

Achieving His Goal at Clarkson
Fall 2014

Born and raised in Warrensburg, in New York State’s Adirondack Park, Bart Blaner ’83 is no stranger to the challenges and opportunities one faces in a rural environment. He watched his parents work long hours to provide for him and his brother, and then retire on what little savings they had set aside from a lifetime of frugality and hard physical labor. With the moral support of his parents, Bart determined to become a first-generation college student. His hard work and good grades allowed him to pursue his interest in computers. Clarkson’s friendly small-town atmosphere and top-notch education located just outside the Adirondack Park was the perfect fit. The financial support he received from Clarkson and government agencies made it all possible.

After graduating from Clarkson with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bart accepted a position with Harris Corporation and then IBM where he has worked for 30 years, specializing in microprocessor architecture and design. He holds over 30 patents in computer hardware design.  Bart remembers his beginnings and is grateful for his success. He decided to pay forward the support he received during his college years by creating a scholarship to help students from the Adirondacks who also wish to pursue degrees in engineering or science at Clarkson.

Bart, with the support of wife Audrey, contacted the Annie Clarkson Society for help structuring his gift to meet his philanthropic goals. The plan called for a gift pledged over five years to reach the minimum endowment level, and maximizing matching gifts from his employer. “The Annie Society was very helpful,” says Bart. “With their guidance I was able to fund my endowment in less time than I thought was necessary.” The Blaner Scholarship Fund reached endowment level in 2012. The first awards were made to students in fall, 2013. “It’s difficult to express the level of satisfaction I felt when the endowment became a reality. It really hit home when I learned the names of the first student recipients and received their letters,” said Bart. “Their letters were really stories in brief; where they came from, challenges they have faced, and their aspirations as well as a ‘thank you.’  Having grown up inside the Adirondack Park, their stories really touched me.”

Bart recently did hit one snag when he tried to connect a gift that will someday come from his estate to his endowment. “I wanted to plan a gift from my 401(k) to someday be added to the endowment, but my plan administrator would not allow it,” said Bart, “so I contacted the Annie Society for help. We named Clarkson as a beneficiary on my 401(k) and we documented my wishes for the gift at Clarkson. Now I am confident that someday, when my gift is received, it will be used at Clarkson according to my wishes.”

Bart will continue making gifts to his endowment, and he will receive regular reports from Clarkson on its progress. “Clarkson made the process to create this endowment very rewarding,” said Bart. “Most importantly, I’m achieving my goal of helping deserving students from the Adirondack Park achieve their dreams. What could be more rewarding than that?”