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More Than 700 Graduates Cross The Stage For Clarkson Commencement

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More than 700 students from 29 states, 31 countries and 55 of New York's counties were granted bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at Clarkson University's Commencement today (May 11). (One hundred sixty-nine more students received degrees at an earlier ceremony in December.) Close to 4,500 parents, relatives and friends attended the ceremony. The weekend was also marked by the commissioning of United States Army and Air Force officers on Saturday, May 10.2003 Commencement

Receiving honorary degrees and making short speeches were New York State Office of Science, Technology & Academic Research (NYSTAR) Executive Director Dr. Russell W. Bessette M.D., Clarkson University President Denny Brown, Clarkson Trustee Charles W. "Skip" Deneka, and Clarkson External Affairs Associate and Research Professor Anne S. Williams.

President Denny Brown was also named President Emeritus by action of the University Board of Trustees.

Consumer and Organizational Studies Professor Mary E. Graham of Canton was awarded the John W. Graham Jr. Faculty Research Award. This $1,500 research account is presented to "a faculty member who has shown promise in engineering, management, liberal studies, or scientific research."

Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Professor Eric Thacher of Potsdam was awarded the Clarkson University Distinguished Teaching Award. The $1,500 prize is given "in recognition of the importance of superior teaching" by nomination of alumni and by selection of a faculty committee.

Senior Kirsten E. Griffiths of Chandler, Ariz was given the Levinus Clarkson Award, and senior Thomas R. Hooper of Martville, N.Y., was given the Frederica Clarkson Award. Both are $1,000 prizes, awarded to "a student who demonstrates the best combination of scholarship and promise of outstanding professional achievement."

New York State Office of Science, Technology & Academic Research (NYSTAR) Executive Director Dr. Russell W. Bessette M.D. advised the class of 2003 that as Clarkson graduates they would be recognized around the nation as individuals who can solve real world problems. "It is this very capacity of each of you to make reality better for us that will serve society and our nation so well."

Clarkson University President Denny Brown said, in part, "… I charge you to carry away from campus not only your knowledge, skills and technological abilities, but also the values and spirit that energize Clarkson. And most importantly I charge each of you to renew personally throughout your life the most significant Clarkson tradition of all: set lofty goals, work hard to achieve them, and then aim even higher."

In addressing the graduates Clarkson Trustee Charles W. "Skip" Deneka compared their life ahead to a series of mountains and valleys, saying, "These mountaintop experiences are the times when you should think about what the next challenge is — the time to choose new goals and directions, when you're feeling successful and safe. Move out of the zone of comfort and get ready to [climb] another mountain."

In addressing the graduates Clarkson External Affairs Associate and Research Professor Anne S. Williams said, in part, "... set priorities and give your life balance. Work hard, but play hard too. And make it your goal to have fun both working and playing. And, most importantly, give yourself courage. Courage to take risks that may lead to failure, but might lead to the most interesting and enriching times of your lives."

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

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