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Frank Rotunno '56

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"Can Do" Philanthropy
February 2011

Genuine. That’s the word that comes to mind when one speaks with Frank Rotunno ’56. Even in a telephone conversation, the warmth and earnestness in his voice, enhanced by the gentle patina that forms after a lifetime’s worth of experiences, convinces you not only that he lives by what he says, but that you can do it, too.  The conversation is quietly inspirational and infectious; you come away re-energized and re-committed, and you realize that you’ve come under Frank’s spell. You’ve experienced the “can do” attitude.

Ethical. Frank is a believer in a strong work ethic, “the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get,” together with the need to take time to relax with friends and family. His career benefitted from the balance. After graduating from Clarkson with a degree in marketing, he pursued a very successful marketing career with Marathon Corporation, Potlatch Forest, and Constellation-Hygeia, where he served as national sales manager and marketing vice president. In 1970 Frank established United Sales Concepts, a sales organization for manufacturers of food service disposables. Today the company enjoys over $100 million in annual sales.

Teamwork. Just as he enjoys teamwork in professional life, Frank has enjoyed being part of the team effort as a volunteer at Clarkson. His credits include service as vice president and president of the Clarkson Alumni Association, a volunteer for the admissions office, the career services office and the institutional advancement office, and three terms on the Clarkson Board of Trustees. “Clarkson has enriched my life and given me friendships that I have treasured for over 50 years,” says Frank, “I believe in Clarkson and I’m passionate about its future, so it’s natural that I would want to give back to help ensure its success.” Supporting the Clarkson Fund each year is important to the team effort, and Frank has supported many other projects over the years, including the Fitness Center, Cheel Campus Center and Foster House, the president’s residence. “More recently my focus has been on the hockey program. I never saw hockey before attending Clarkson, but I was hooked at my first game,” says Frank. “I’ve followed Clarkson hockey ever since. The team’s success ties the school, its students, the North Country community and the alumni together. And, naturally, I like the concept of student athletes working together as a team.”

Family. “As I planned my estate, I made arrangements to care for my immediate family first, and then I realized that Clarkson is part of my extended family, so it seemed natural to include something for Clarkson as well,” says Frank, “recognizing Clarkson’s place in my life was important to me, so I worked with Clarkson and my lawyer to include a bequest that will someday support the hockey team. I feel good knowing that my gift will support Clarkson far into the future.”

Respect. At the end of a conversation with Frank, you know that you have been treated with caring respect, and you come to better understand a hallmark of a great leader; it’s someone who lives their life as a role model and helps you along on your own journey. “Success comes when you make the most of your total self,” says Frank. “Our lifelong philanthropy is part of our ‘can do’ attitude, and my lifelong philanthropy at Clarkson has helped me to be a success.”

What’s the Structure of Frank Rotunno’s Gift?

  • Frank worked with Clarkson and his lawyer to structure and document his bequest, which is restricted to the hockey program
  • The gift fits into his larger estate plan, taking care of loved ones as well as making a gift to Clarkson
  • The gift will come from Frank’s retirement plan
  • Frank decided that a gift of a specific amount from his plan worked best for him
  • The gift is revocable, so Frank can easily make changes at no cost into the future
  • A gift from his retirement plan saves on income taxes that heirs would have paid to inherit the income
  • This gift will count in Frank’s 55th reunion fund raising in 2011