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Anthony G. Collins Inaugurated Clarkson's 16th President

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Anthony G. Collins was inaugurated 16th president of Clarkson University at an installation ceremony held today on the Clarkson campus in Potsdam, N.Y.

In his inaugural address before more than 800 people, Collins paid tribute to Clarkson’s rich traditions while setting a challenging agenda and focused priorities to guideClarkson’s future.   inaug1

Collins used the metaphor of Potsdam sandstone throughout his speech as he praised the University’s transformation over 100 years from “a tiny trade school into a major technological university of international stature,” and emphasized that Clarkson is well placed to now realize its full potential.

“We are the Northeast’s only technological university in a rural environment and among the smallest nationally recognized universities,” said Collins. “Of the 248 nationally ranked universities, just 17 are members of the Association of Independent Technological Universities. And we are one of those elite 17. Our graduates are overly represented in the leadership ranks of American business, where one in 12 is a CEO, president, vice president or owner of a company.  Our region, nation and our world are increasingly dependent on the technological graduates that we produce and the intellectual property that our researchers develop. Therefore, our evolving strengths intersect precisely with the growing needs of our technologically driven society.”

Collins outlined an agenda designed to build the University to “the next level of excellence” through targeted support in key areas that will further enhance academic reputation, expand alumni roles, and develop financial resources and new partnerships with area businesses and other institutions of higher learning.

The ceremony included remarks by representatives from the local and North Country community, alumni, students, faculty and government, including New York State Senator Raymond Meier, St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen St. Hilaire, and Carol Rossi-Fries, Potsdam Middle School Social Studies Teacher and 2003 New York State Teacher of the Year.

Peter Radosta (class of ’88), president of the Clarkson Alumni Association, and Bryan R. Greene (’04), president of the Student Association, as well as Clarkson faculty and support staff representatives, also lent support and expressed good wishes to Collins.

The ceremony began with a musical prelude performed by the Potsdam High School Wind Ensemble and the Potsdam Brass Quintet from the Crane School of Music. The Royal Canadian Legion’s City of Brockville Pipe Band led the processional. The Golden Notes, a Clarkson student a cappella group, sang the school alma mater.  Clarkson Board of Trustees Chair John S. Welch Jr. (’54), delivered the official welcome.

Collins was appointed Clarkson’s 16th president by the University’s Board of Trustees on February 8 and took office on July 1, upon the retirement of Denny Brown.

A driving force behind much of the institution’s positive growth over the past two decades, Collins moved into the presidency with tremendous support from faculty, staff, alumni and trustees.

Growing up outside Melbourne, Australia, Collins earned an undergraduate civil engineering degree from Monash University, then a master’s degree from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Returning to Australia, he developed a small environmental engineering consulting firm and then worked for Utah Development Company, a coal and iron mining company. His involvement with ground and surface water issues generated by huge open-pit mines inspired him to return to Lehigh four years later to begin Ph.D. studies as the foundation for a university research and teaching career.

After earning his Ph.D. in 1982, Collins launched his career at Clarkson as an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Subsequently rising to the rank of professor, he also assumed increasing levels of administrative responsibility, including department chair, dean, vice president for Academic Affairs, and provost. He has received the John W. Graham Faculty Research Award, the Distinguished Teaching Award, and two Outstanding Advising Awards.

A leader in shaping the academic component of the University’s strategic plan, Collins was also primary architect of the Vision of a Clarkson Education that has guided evolution of the curriculum since 1995. His encouragement of an interdisciplinary approach in teaching, research and coursework helped lead to development of project-based team learning that has earned national recognition.

Collins has established productive liaisons with government representatives at all levels that have assisted in spurring a dramatic increase in sponsored research support. As well, he played an important role in the fund-raising success of The Campaign for Clarkson, concluded in June 2003.

Collins, his wife, Karen, and their four children are active in the community life of Potsdam, where he has enjoyed coaching youth sports and volunteered his service in numerous community groups.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is an independent technological university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in technology-based fields. Its academically rigorous, collaborative culture involves 2,700 undergraduates and 350 graduate students in hands-on team projects, multidisciplinary research, and real-world challenges. Many faculty members achieve international recognition for their scholarship and research, and teaching is a priority at every level. For more information, visit

Photo caption (inaug1.jpg) left to right (standing): Board of Trustees Vice Chair Bayard D. Clarkson, President Anthony G. Collins, Board of Trustees Chair John S. Welch, Jr. and Professor Susan E. Conry. 

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

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