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Four To Receive Clarkson University Honorary Degrees In May

Dr. Russell W. Bessette, as executive director of NYSTAR, is bringing New York State to prominence in high technology research and economic development. Bessette has led NYSTAR's creation of university-business research partnerships, recognizing that New York's world-class public and private research universities and academic centers are powerful economic development engines that can create new high-tech jobs and opportunity for New Yorkers. Bessette was appointed executive director of NYSTAR by Governor George E. Pataki and unanimously confirmed by the State Senate on January 31, 2000. He was the director of the Instrument and Devices Clinical Laboratory at the Center of Advanced Technology (CAT) at Buffalo from 1985-1989. He has been a leader in academic research for more than 30 years in the fields of science and technology. He has authored or co-authored more than 55 peer-reviewed academic publications, reports and research papers and has authored eight textbook chapters on reconstructive surgery. Most recently, Bessette served as the executive director of the Buffalo Technology Transfer Center at Sisters' Hospital. Bessette also served as a member of President George Bush's Transition Team for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Denny Brown, who will retire from Clarkson on June 30, came to the University as its 15th President in 1995. Some key accomplishments of Brown's tenure to date are the construction of Bertrand H. Snell Hall; the successful launch and progress of a $70-million capital campaign; consolidation of the University on the hill campus; redevelopment of Clarkson's buildings in downtown Potsdam, creating the Center for Health Sciences; the establishment of the Honors Program; and the establishment of the Master of Physical Therapy program. Prior to assuming his role at Clarkson, Brown was provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Drexel University, a position he had held since 1990. Previously he was senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Nevada-Reno, dean of the College of Letters and Science at Montana State University, and assistant vice president for Academic Affairs and Research at the University of Idaho.

A member of the Clarkson Board of Trustees for nearly ten years, Charles W. "Skip" Deneka was the chairperson of the recent Presidential Search and is the chair of the Trustees' Audit Committee. He retired from Corning Inc. in 2001 as executive vice president and chief technology officer. Prior to this, among other positions, he served as senior vice president of science and technology, senior vice president and director of development responsible for Corning's corporate-wide development activities, director of New Business Development responsible for Corning's specialty optical fiber and passive components new business, and director of Optical Fiber Technology. In 2002 he was awarded the Medal of the Industrial Research Institute "for being a true visionary and risk taker, understanding Corning's key markets and pushing to bring new technologies and rapid generational shifts in Corning's businesses."

Since her arrival at Clarkson in 1995 with husband President Denny Brown, Anne Williams has helped to further the University's educational mission as an external affairs associate and research professor. Before coming to Clarkson, Williams held the position of dean of Graduate Studies and Sponsored Research at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. While there she implemented major revisions in the graduate curricula, developed grant and research support services for faculty, implemented programs to promote higher academic standards and recruit academically stronger students, and attracted more minority and economically disadvantaged graduate students. Throughout the past four decades she has played an exemplary leadership role as a mentor, scholar and administrator in higher education. Among other positions, she has also served as dean of the College of Letters and Science, professor, and director of the Survey Research Center at Montana State University.

The weekend will also be marked by the commissioning of United States Army and Air Force ROTC officers on Saturday, May 10.

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

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