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Congressman John M. Mchugh Receives Clarkson’s Bertrand H. Snell Award

[A photograph of Congressman McHugh receiving the Bertrand H. Snell Award is available at]

John M. McHugh, Republican Congressman from the 23rd District, was the recipient of Clarkson’s highest award for community service, the Bertrand H. Snell Award, at a special dinner held on the University’s campus Saturday evening.

Created in 1981, the award honors the memory of Bertrand H. Snell, a North Country businessman and Congressman, and assures the remembrance of his generous contributions to the University.    Selection for the award is based on outstanding achievement in professional, business or educational endeavors, combined with an integrity and community concern to which others can aspire. snell2005

Clarkson President Tony Collins told the group assembled, “Congressman McHugh could have chosen a career in business that would have undoubtedly landed him on Wall Street because the Congressman get things done and succeeds, where others may falter. But to our great good fortune, John McHugh picked public service as his life’s work.”

The award was presented to McHugh by Clarkson University Chair of the Board of Trustees, Jack Welch. The board was unanimous in their praise of McHugh as a legislator who gets things done for his constituents and the North Country. 

In receiving the Snell award, McHugh proclaimed his great pride.  “I am profoundly humbled to receive the Snell award, joining the previous eight recipients who had done so much for so many in the North Country.  As Congressman Snell himself did so well in the early 20th Century, I have worked hard to represent our interests in Washington and Albany for more than 20 years.  I thank Clarkson University for bestowing this honor upon me,” said McHugh. 

McHugh is embraced by the dairy farming community because of his legislative efforts in getting the option 1-A pricing system enacted, which provides fairer and more stable prices for farmers’ milk. His role as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee also makes him vital to the future of Fort Drum. This legislative group will determine which military bases will be affected in the latest closure and realignment rounds. McHugh also chairs the Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Personnel, which oversees more than $70 billion in federal defense spending related to personnel issues and $15 million in health benefits. 

As a state senator, McHugh secured bipartisan support for the design and construction of Bertrand H. Snell Hall, the largest academic building on the Clarkson campus. He has also encouraged Clarkson’s participation in Department of Defense research programs, especially in advanced material processing, a discipline where Clarkson enjoys a worldwide reputation.

Making the federal government less intrusive and cutting taxes have been hallmarks of McHugh’s 30 years of public service. He represents 11 counties making up the 23rd District in the House of Representatives.

The man the award remembers, Bertrand Snell, was born in 1870, in Colton, New York.  He was a successful entrepreneur, political leader, and philanthropist. Snell founded the Raquette River Paper Company in Potsdam and the Snell Power Company at Higley Falls. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1914 and served for 23 years. Snell served as a Clarkson trustee for 47 years, including 25 as chairman of the board. He supported Clarkson generously throughout his life and his family has continued to support the University with their resources and energies. Helen Snell Cheel, Bertrand Snell’s daughter’s generous support helped make construction possible of both the Cheel Campus Center and Arena and the Bertrand H. Snell academic building. When Mrs. Cheel died in March of this year, she bequeathed $27 million to Clarkson.  Bertrand Snell’s grandson, Hollis Petersen, is a Clarkson Trustee.

The award 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 obverse side with the words “achievement, integrity and community concern” displayed on the reverse. Collins reminded the audience that the award had only been given out eight times previously. “This is the first time the Bertrand H. Snell Award has been given during my presidency, and I can think of no person who deserves such an earned award more.”

PHOTO CAPTION:  Congressman John M. McHugh(C) was awarded the Bertrand H. Snell Award by Clarkson University President Tony Collins (L) and University Board of Trustees Chair, Jack Welch.  The award recognizes individuals of outstanding merit, and honors the memory of Bertrand Snell, an industrialist, Congressman and Clarkson benefactor.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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