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Late Clarkson Alumnus And Hockey Player Gives Back To School Through Creation Of Endowment Fund

POTSDAM, N.Y. -- For the late Al Ziebarth, hockey was his life.  From his college days to his work in youth leagues, the game was never far from his mind and his heart.  You could say that it was in his blood.

That love lives on through the creation of an endowed fund at his alma mater.

The Alvin A. Ziebarth ’56 Endowed Hockey Fund at Clarkson University was recently established through a commitment from Ziebarth shortly before his death earlier this month to provide operating support for Clarkson’s Division I hockey team, the Golden Knights. The fund will be administered jointly by the athletic director and the Golden Knights’ head coach.  Funds from the endowment will be used for enhancement of the hockey program through the purchase of equipment and upgrade of facilities.

Ziebarth’s wish was to continue support for an activity that brought him great joy and that he used to bring such joy to others

“Al Ziebarth represented the best of the competitive spirit,” said Clarkson University President Denny Brown.  “He used his love of hockey to teach discipline, teamwork, mental and physical conditioning to his players and to share the thrill of the game with spectators.  We are pleased that he chose to support the hockey team of his alma mater here in the North Country.”

A native of Pembroke, Ontario, Ziebarth attended Clarkson from 1952-56.  Enrolled in the business administration program, he graduated with a degree in industrial management.  During his time at Clarkson, he served as officer of the Society for the Advancement of Management and was active in the Varsity “C” Club.  He was also a recipient of the Gold Key Award.

His love for hockey dated back to his youth, where he played in high school. In his junior year at Clarkson, he became an assistant captain.  The following year, Ziebarth would captain the greatest team in Clarkson hockey history, leading the Golden Knights to an unbeaten, untied and unprecedented mark of 23-0 and capturing the Tri-State Conference championship.

Ziebarth is survived by his wife, the former Shirley McRae of Howic, Quebec. They had three children: Carol Ann, Thomas and Liz Ann, a 1986 Clarkson graduate and area sales manager for Sun Microsystems in Burlington, Mass.

After graduation, Ziebarth enjoyed a career at IBM that lasted 31 years.  During that time, he served in numerous managerial positions, including representing IBM as a corporate recruiter at Clarkson.  He often returned to campus to interview students and to enjoy Clarkson hockey games.

Ziebarth’s passion for hockey remained long after he hung up the skates, and he translated that passion to the youth level.  In 1964, he started an amateur hockey program in Erie, Pa. His team, the Erie Lions, was often referred to as “Ziebarth and Co,” with Ziebarth being dubbed “The Lions’ Tiger.”  In August 1966, the city of Erie presented him with a certificate of merit and proclaimed a day in his honor for “his outstanding contribution to the youngsters and adults of Erie by bringing them the joy of hockey playing and coaching.”

Ziebarth’s commitment to amateur hockey continued after he moved to New Hampshire. In the mid-‘90s, he guided young players as a volunteer assistant coach for the Plymouth State Panthers.

Ziebarth was a loyal alumnus and active donor.  Always a hockey fan, he was proud to have “Taken-A-Seat” in new Cheel Arena as part of the fund-raising effort to create that facility in the early 1990s. 

Ziebarth’s wish was that any memorial gifts be made to endowment he created. Gifts can be mailed to the Office of Development, Clarkson University, PO Box 5522, Potsdam, NY 13699-5522. For further information, donors can call 315-268-7778.

Clarkson University is an independent institution located in northern New York, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The University has 2,902 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in programs in its schools of Business, Engineering, Liberal Arts, and Science, and its Interdisciplinary Engineering and Management program.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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