A Clarkson Mosaic - page 10

Two months after a highly successful Potsdam businessman, Thomas Streatfeild
Clarkson, was crushed to death while trying to save one of his workers in his sandstone quarry
on August 17, 1894, his family began planning a memorial to him: a school.
Choosing as their rationale a phrase which his sisters and nieces felt aptly described
their brother-Thomas' favorite Biblical quotation,
A workman that needeth not to be ashamed
the family opened the Thomas S. Clarkson Memorial School of Technology in September 1896,
in The Main Building ("Old Main") which they had commissioned to be built on Main Street.
To the five young men in the preparatory class, eight men in the freshman class, and
four women, six courses of instruction were offered: electrical engineering, domestic science
and art, machine work and smithing, woodwork and pattern making, and normal manual
training. Clarkson stopped being co-educational in 1907 when no women applied, but by then it
was offering additional bachelor's degrees in mechanical, civil, and chemical engineering.
Recognizing the need for a gymnasium, the students began a fund-raising campaign for
the $11,000 needed to build one in town, spurred on by a $5,000 gift from the Clarkson family.
By 1912, this second School building had been erected. That building became the library in
1956 after the Alumni Gymnasium was opened on the hill, and, after the Educational Resources
Building was opened in 1978, it became the Liberal Studies Center.
When the New York State Board of Regents offered scholarships to qualified students
attending college within the state in 1913, Clarkson's Board of Trustees voted to change the
school's name to The Thomas S. Clarkson Memorial College of Technology; the head of the
college became President instead of Director, and John Pascal Brooks, a Dartmouth graduate,
and one of the men on Walter Camp's first All-American football team, became the first
Clarkson director to bear the title of president.
Hockey began in 1921 on a rink behind Old Main, and soon moved to a bigger rink built
by the students in Ives Park. Not until the hockey arena was completed on land across the river
in 1938 did the team have a building in which to play. Later named for the founding force
behind Clarkson hockey, Murray Walker, owner of Weston's Bookstore, the arena provided the
locale for Clarkson's frequently nationally rated teams to perform well until 1991, when Cheel
Arena was built.
Thomas Clarkson's nieces, Miss Annie Clarkson and Miss Emily Moore, tried to have
the school moved to the hill by leaving it $1.5 million in 1929. However, because that money
shrank to half a million within a year due to the stock market crash, the plans for the move to
the hill had to be shelved for over 30 years until multiple dormitories and the Science Center
were erected on the hill.
Responding to a plea from New York Governor Thomas Dewey after World War II,
Clarkson admitted hundreds of returning veterans. Having no space to house or teach them by
1946, Clarkson rented the New York State School for the Deaf in Malone, N.Y., 40 miles east
of Potsdam. For the next five years, freshmen and many sophomores spent their first two years
in Malone before moving to the Potsdam campus for the remainder of their Clarkson education.
That branch closed in 1951.
With that flood of veterans came the Trustees' realization that the College would have to
expand its facilities, and expand them it did over the next 20 years, adding not only facilities
but graduate programs in engineering, science, and management, including PhD programs in
most, to accommodate the burgeoning student body through the mid-1980s.
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