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New Connector Will Span Disciplines At Clarkson University

As summer begins, Clarkson University moves nearer to fulfilling its dream of having all four of its schools united on its hill campus. The new Bertrand H. Snell Hall, slated for completion in August, will be the home of both the School of Business and the School of Liberal Arts.

In addition to housing the two schools, the new building will bring the entire Clarkson community closer together—thanks in part to a third-floor passageway linking the new structure with the Cora and Bayard Clarkson Science Center.

Originally part of the new Snell Hall’s 1998 plans, the connecting bridge never made it to the final blueprints. However, due to the leadership of Clarkson Trustee Hollis Petersen and his wife Ann, the walkway will become a reality.

The glass span will bridge the gap between the two academic buildings, while providing a beautiful view of the wooded hill campus and the nearby Woodstock Lodge alumni house. Students will be able to take this short cut when shuttling between the two buildings with the most classrooms on campus.

The new bridge is more than a practical asset for students and faculty. “It serves as a wonderful symbol of the interdisciplinary bridging that characterizes all of Clarkson's programs,” says Anthony G. Collins, vice president for Academic Affairs.

“For example, Bertrand H. Snell Hall, will be the home of three innovative and exciting interdisciplinary centers: the Center for Excellence in Communication, the Shipley Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurship, and the Center for Global Competitiveness. Each of these centers will enrich the education of students in all majors. The passageway will strengthen the physical as well as the intellectual bonds between business, liberal arts and engineering and science.”

Clarkson also had three new interdisciplinary degree programs recently approved by New York State: bachelor of science programs in software engineering (which draws from computer engineering and computer science), bio-molecular science (which integrates chemistry and biology), and a master's in information technology, which has course requirements from all four schools.

“Clarkson has an historical tradition of building on strengths in the interdisciplinary realm,” says Collins. “We pioneered the nation's first degree program to combine engineering and business back in 1954, with what became the program now called Interdisciplinary Engineering and Management.  And, of course, in the mid-1980s, we put together our internationally known Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP), which integrates science and engineering at the frontiers of knowledge.”

Hollis Petersen is the grandson of Bertrand H. Snell, for whom both the new building and the downtown Snell Hall were named. The Cheel Campus Center is named for Petersen’s aunt, Helen Snell Cheel. “The Snell and Petersen families have a longstanding and deep connection to Clarkson University,” says Michael Cooper, vice president for Institutional Advancement.”

Petersen has continued the family’s Clarkson connection, serving on the School of Business Advisory Council for many years. He was elected a University trustee in October 1999, a role his grandfather and his father, William E. Petersen, filled for many years.

"I'm excited about the new home that Clarkson will have for the schools of Business and Liberal Arts,” says Petersen. “And I'm very pleased to have played a role in helping to integrate Bertrand H. Snell Hall even more closely into campus life.”

Collins says that the new access between both buildings will benefit the entire Clarkson community.  “It is most appropriate that our schools of Business and Liberal Arts should be tied so directly to the laboratories and classrooms of the Science Center.”

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

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