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Governor George Pataki Receives Clarkson University’s Bertrand H. Snell Award

New York State Governor George E. Pataki received Clarkson University’s highest community service award, the Governor PatakiBertrand H. Snell Award, at a ceremony held today on the Clarkson campus in Potsdam, N.Y.

The Bertrand H. Snell Award was created in 1981 to recognize individuals of outstanding merit, and to honor Bertrand Snell’s significant contributions to the University, the North Country, and the nation. Snell, the congressman who introduced the original St. Lawrence Seaway legislation in 1917, was a Clarkson trustee for 47 years.

Clarkson Trustees State Senator Raymond A. Meier and John B. Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson Newspaper Corporation, joined Clarkson President Denny Brown to present the Snell Award on behalf of the University trustees to Governor Pataki “in recognition of his high levels of achievement, personal integrity and community concern.”

In remarks made during the presentation, Meier cited Pataki’s “great courage to lead with integrity and dignity through good times and especially through difficult times” and also lauded the governor for his efforts to stimulate economic growth in northern New York.

“Governor Pataki has actively sought, and continues to seek, economic development opportunities for our region,” Meier said. “He has selected Clarkson as an economic development engine to stimulate the creation of new jobs in biotechnology.”

Referring indirectly to the tragedies of September 11 and the anthrax attacks, Meier likened Pataki to Bertrand Snell “who used grit and bull-dog determination to lead our country through unprecedented difficulties in the 1930s as leader in the House.” He thanked the governor for his “strength through these trying times” and praised him as “the kind of leader who makes us proud.”

George Pataki has served as the 53rd Governor of New York State since 1994. He was reelected in 1998 and 2002, and is currently serving his third term as governor.  He has earned wide praise for his successful efforts to reduce taxes, reverse crime trends, stimulate job growth across the state and expand access to quality health care.

Through his advocacy of the historic 1996 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond and the Environmental Protection Fund, the governor has protected more than 300,000 acres of critical open space in New York. He has been honored for his environmental achievements by the Adirondack Council, the League of Conservation Voters, the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment, and the National Audubon Society of New York.

He was first elected to the State Senate in 1992, serving the 37th district in the mid-Hudson region. During his tenure, Pataki was chairman of the State Ethics Committee and named “Environmental Champion of the Year” by the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

Prior to that, he was an elected member of the New York State Assembly, representing the 91st district of the mid-Hudson region from 1985-1992. As an assemblyman, Pataki was named “State Legislator of the Year” by the Environmental Planning Lobby, a coalition of more than 100 New York environmental groups. He also co-sponsored the Hudson River Estuary Management Act, Solid Waste Management Act of 1988 and Hudson River Greenway Council, and numerous other important environmental initiatives.

Pataki began his political career serving as Mayor of Peekskill for six years. He has a law degree from Columbia University.

Bertrand H. Snell was one of the North Country's most highly regarded political leaders and entrepreneurs. He founded the Raquette River Paper Company in Potsdam and the Snell Power Company at Higley Falls. In 1914 Snell won his first race for elected office, a seat in the House of Representatives. Later, despite the endorsement of his opponent by President Herbert Hoover, Snell won the House Minority Leader's position, which he held for eight years until his retirement in 1938.

One of his most enduring contributions to the North Country during his 24-year career in Washington was his sponsorship of the original St. Lawrence Seaway legislation. Bertrand Snell died just months before the Seaway opened in 1958.

"I know of few men for whom I had a deeper respect than Bertrand Snell," said then Speaker of the House of Representatives Sam Rayburn when Snell died. "He was a towering individual, a rugged, great American."

In his 47 years as a Clarkson trustee, including 25 as chairman of the board, Snell and his family generously supported projects like Snell Hall, the Sara M. Snell Auditorium, and the Snell Athletic Field.

Today is the eighth time the Bertrand H. Snell Award has been bestowed since it was established 22 years ago. Past recipients were New York State Senator Ronald B. Stafford, awarded in 1994; New York Congressman David O'B. Martin, awarded in 1992; Sister Kathryn Healy, founder of the Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley, awarded in 1990; H. Douglas Barclay, former New York State Senator, awarded in 1987; the late Edward S. Litchfield, president and chairman of the board of the Litchfield Corporation in Tupper Lake, awarded posthumously in 1984; Dr. Francis Trudeau, driving force in the creation of the Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake, awarded in 1982; and the late Leon "Duke" Elliott, a Malone businessman and civic leader, awarded in 1981.

The award itself is a five-inch, cast-bronze medallion, revolving in a bronze ring and set on a polished block of Potsdam sandstone. A likeness of Bertrand Snell is cast on the one side, with the words "achievement, integrity and community concern" on the other.

[A photograph for newspaper use is available at]

Photo caption: New York State Governor George E. Pataki received Clarkson University’s highest community service award, the Bertrand H. Snell Award, at a ceremony held today on the Clarkson campus in Potsdam, N.Y. Among those present at the presentation were (left to right) Johnson Newspaper Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John B. Johnson, State Senator Raymond A. Meier, Clarkson Provost Anthony G. Collins, Member of Assembly Dede Scozzafava, Governor Pataki, Clarkson President Denny Brown and Clarkson student Angela Stay.

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

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