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Five Receive Clarkson University's Highest Alumni Honor

[A photo for newspaper use is available at]

John C. Bonacci of New Providence, N. J.; Terry L. Brown of Fayetteville, N.Y.; Elizabeth A. Fessenden of New York, N.Y.; Edwin F. Hawxhurst of Kirkland, Wash.; and David A. Taylor of Tarzana, Calif., have been honored with Clarkson University’s highest alumni honor, the Golden Knight Award.gk2002

Presented each year during Reunion Weekend, Clarkson’s most prestigious alumni award is given to alumni who have distinguished themselves either by service to Clarkson through Alumni Association activities or have demonstrated outstanding career achievement, bringing distinction to themselves and to Clarkson.

Following his graduation from Clarkson with two degrees, a bachelor of science in chemical engineering in 1957 and a master of science in chemical engineering in 1959, John Bonacci went on to receive a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and to pursue an outstanding career as a chemical engineer, scientist, industrial executive and Clarkson volunteer.

Over a 42-year industrial career, Bonacci has been awarded 98 patents and held numerous research and development positions with the U.S. Air Force Research Center, DuPont Chemical Corporation, Mobil Oil, and the Engelhard Corporation, where he held high-level executive positions, including vice president and general manager of worldwide research.

While at Mobil Oil, Bonacci completed groundbreaking work applying a mathematical theory to modeling gasoline manufacturing. His scientific accomplishments at Engelhard include leading teams that developed processes to purify passenger cabin air in jet aircraft, remove pollutants from the exhaust of co-generation plants, and significantly improve the process to enhance fertilizer production.

After 25 years with Fortune 200 Companies, Bonacci continued his professional achievements by co-founding the Catalytic Manufacturing Company and his own technical and business consulting firm, Fibonacci Incorporated. Bonacci has also pursued a part-time academic career, serving as an adjunct professor at both Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technology.

Bonacci’s significant contributions in engineering and science were recognized when he was named one of the youngest fellows of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and was elected to membership in the Sigma Xi Honorary Society and the New York Academy of Sciences.

Bonacci credits much of his success to support received from his family and his experiences while at Clarkson. He has remained involved in alumni affairs assisting with alumni chapter events and serving on the board of directors of both the Western New York and Northern New Jersey alumni chapters. He has been a strong supporter of the class of 1957 activities, and has served as his class reunion chair, reunion gift chair, and is currently a volunteer for The Campaign for Clarkson, a strategic five-year fundraising initiative.

Since his graduation from Clarkson with a bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1972, Terry L. Brown has distinguished himself as a corporate officer, community leader, and committed Clarkson volunteer.

Brown served in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years following his graduation from the University. He then began a distinguished 27-year career with O’Brien & Gere, Ltd. as a construction engineer and rose to chairman, president, and chief executive officer in 2000. During his tenure with the corporation, Brown has managed over 25 major projects, developed O’Brien & Gere’s manufacturing capabilities, and acquired three patents.

Brown has been a leader in developing the strong partnership that exists between O’Brien & Gere and Clarkson. He has recruited many Clarkson graduates as employees, opened O’Brien & Gere facilities to host alumni and admission events for Clarkson, and has been instrumental in developing corporate gifts from O’Brien & Gere to support Clarkson’s engineering programs.

His depth of service to his alma mater includes many years serving as a regional chapter event host, board member and president of the Central New York alumni chapter. He has served his class as a member of the reunion committee and as reunion gift chair. He also serves as a member of Clarkson’s Engineering Advisory Council.

Among Brown’s civic contributions are service on various boards in Central New York, including Junior Achievement, the Museum of Science and Technology, the National Kidney Foundation, and the United Way. He is a member of the New York State Business Council and The Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse.

Elizabeth A. Fessenden has been a committed and enthusiastic supporter of Clarkson since graduating from the University in 1977 with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. 

She began a 22-year career with Alcoa as an engineer in the company’s Massena operations. She left Alcoa for a brief period starting in 1982 when she returned to Clarkson as an assistant dean of student life, while completing a master’s in business administration and a master of science degree in engineering. Since her return to Alcoa in 1985, Fessenden has been recognized for her technical capabilities and leadership qualities, and was recently named president of Alcoa Flexible Packaging based in Richmond, Va. Prior to this appointment she had served in numerous assignments, including engineering supervisor, plant manager, director of executive staffing and leadership development, and president of Alcoa’s Allied Businesses.

Fessenden’s efforts as an advocate for Clarkson have led to continued strong relationships with Alcoa and their participation as a founding member of the President’s Corporate Circle at Clarkson.

Her ongoing commitment to Clarkson has also been demonstrated through her generous donation of time, effort and resources on behalf of a number of alumni activities and programs. Fessenden served a five-year term as member-at-large on the Alumni National Executive Council and is the Campaign for Clarkson class chair.  She has also been involved with class reunion committees, serves as an alumni admission volunteer and served the Clarkson University Board of Trustees for two terms over 10 years. She begins a third term on the Board of Trustees this fall.

Edwin F. Hawxhurst began a distinguished career in the accounting industry after graduating from Clarkson with a bachelor of science degree in accounting in 1952.

He joined Arthur Young and Company, now Ernst & Young, LLP, where he advanced rapidly and was admitted to partnership in 1963. He then spent six years as managing partner at Arthur Young’s Cincinnati office, before starting a 13-year stint with the company’s Pacific Rim operations. During this period, Hawxhurst served as managing partner in both Tokyo and Jakarta and was responsible for a number of important Japanese and Indonesian clients.

Due to his experience and specialized knowledge of the Pacific Rim culture and business practices, Hawxhurst served for 12 years as a member of Ernst & Young’s Management Council, a group of 15 partners from around the world who established guidance and policy for the Ernest & Young practice worldwide. After his retirement from the company in 1986, he served as a partner with TASA, a successful executive search-consulting firm and as corporate director of IBI Incorporated, a leading consulting firm in Tokyo.

Despite a demanding career, Hawxhurst has always been active in various civic and professional organizations and in Clarkson alumni affairs. While in Cincinnati, he was chairman of the Model Cities Program and a member of the Metropolitan Housing Authority. He has been a board member and chairman of the Executive Service Corp. of Washington, adviser to the president of Trinity Lutheran College, a director of Noah’s Arc Christian Pre-School and Kindergarten, and board member and chairman of the Central Park Tennis Club in Kirkland. He has returned to Clarkson as an executive-in-residence for Clarkson’s School of Business, is an alumni admission volunteer, and a lifetime member of the Clarkson Roundtable.

David A. Taylor graduated from Clarkson in 1977 with a bachelor of science degree in industrial management and a solid career ahead of him as a high-scoring player and successful business executive in the sport of professional hockey.

During his 21-year playing career as a Collegiate All-American and a National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star, David A. Taylor became known for his grit and work ethic on the ice. In the NHL, he was a member of the renowned “Triple Crown” line with center Marcel Dionne and left-winger Charlie Simmer, and was a five-time NHL All-Star. He was captain of the Los Angeles Kings for four seasons and his professional hockey record includes a franchise record 1,111 games played with 431 goals and 638 assists, for a total of 1,069 points. In 1995, the Kings retired Taylor’s jersey number.

According to Taylor, his crowning glory was reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993. That same year, he joined the Kings front office staff and serves today as the team’s senior vice president and general manager responsible for the Kings’ hockey operations.  Under his leadership, the Kings have secured play-off berths in four of the last five seasons, and the team is recognized as one of the model NHL franchises. In recognition of his accomplishments, Hockey News selected Taylor as the NHL Executive of the Year for 2000-2001 season.

Off the ice, his strong values and inspirational leadership have brought him recognition as an athletic role model, community leader and fundraiser, and committed Clarkson alumnus. Each year he hosts the Dave Taylor Golf Classic benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which annually raises more than $125,000. Other charitable activities have included the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the L.A. Kings Big Brother Program.

Taylor has served as an extremely effective ambassador for Clarkson and has been a generous Clarkson supporter. A regular at hockey and class reunions and an avid Golden Knight fan, he is a sponsoring member of the Clarkson Hockey Booster Organization, the Knight Club, and remains involved with the Golden Knight program.

Photo caption: Five Clarkson University alumni were honored this past weekend with the University’s highest alumni honor, the Golden Knight Award: (left to right) Clarkson University President Denny Brown; award recipients John C. Bonacci, Elizabeth A. Fessenden, Edwin F. Hawxhurst, David A. Taylor and Terry L. Brown; Alumni Association Executive Director Donald Dangremond; and Alumni Association President Michael Santarcangelo.

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

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