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Clarkson University Presents Golden Knight Award To Four Alumni

[A photo for newspaper use is available at]

Elmer D. Gates of Bethlehem, Penn.; Bennett L. Rechler of Great Neck, N.Y.; Karen M. St. Hilaire of Massena, N.Y.; and Maria A. Davison of Lone Tree, Colo., have been honored with Clarkson University’s highest alumni honor, the Golden Knight Award.

Presented each year during the Alumni Reunion weekend, Clarkson’s most prestigious alumni award is given to alumni who have distinguished themselves either by service to Clarkson through Alumni Association activities or have demonstrated outstanding career achievement, bringing distinction to themselves and to Clarkson. goldenknight2005

Gates then became president and chief operating officer of Fuller Company, a manufacturer of large equipment for the cement industry in Bethlehem, Penn. Under his direction, the Fuller Company flourished to become a world leader in the industry. In 1999, Gates was named chairman of the Board of Directors of SI Handling Systems but within a year stepped down to direct his attention and efforts to charities and business development agencies in the Lehigh Valley.

Gates currently resides in Bethlehem, Penn., with his wife, Betty. They have two daughters, Patti and Jodi.

Bennett L. Rechler, executive vice president of We’re Associates Inc., received his bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering in 1970. He received a master of business administration degree from Columbia University in 1974.

Rechler served two years with the U.S. Public Health Service in Arizona and then joined the family business, We’re Associates Inc., a large real estate development company which was founded by his father, Morton Rechler, and brother-in-law, Jack Wexler, in the early 1960s. Rechler is responsible for the management of 3.5 million square feet of commercial real estate with annual revenue in excess of $60 million.

Rechler is also director of the Rechler Family Foundation Inc., a charitable foundation established by his parents in 1986, which generously supports organizations in the arts, education and human services as well as Jewish organizations and federated giving programs. In 1999, the Rechler Family Foundation bestowed a sizeable gift to the Clarkson Fund for Clarkson’s Hill consolidation project and the construction of Bertrand H. Snell Hall. The School of Business Dean’s Suite now carries the Rechler name.

Rechler and his wife, Bonnie, reside in Great Neck, N.Y., with their two sons, Halley and Zachary.

Karen M. St. Hilaire, executive director and CEO of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, received her bachelor of science degree in social sciences from Clarkson in 1975 and later returned to earn her master of science in management systems in 1998.

After graduating from Clarkson University with her undergraduate degree, St. Hilaire became a writer and reporter for several news agencies, including NPR, WMSA Radio in Massena, United Press International, and Syracuse Newspapers. In 1987 she was appointed director of University Communications and Public Relations at Clarkson. She left Clarkson to become executive director and CEO of the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce in 1999.

In addition to her work at the county chamber, St. Hilaire is also president and CEO of Vanguard Communications & Consulting that provides consulting and communications counsel to businesses and industrial clients. St. Hilaire resides in Massena, New York.

Maria A. Davison, manager of Avaya Service’s indirect channel and business partner relationships for implementation and professional services in the United States, earned her bachelor of science degree in electrical and computer engineering in 1980.

Davison began her career at IBM and then joined AT&T as a network engineer. During her 20 years of service at AT&T, Davison has held leadership positions in sales and service, including regional sales manager for Europe and staff director of Avaya’s Central and Latin American region, which included South America.

Davison currently lives in Lone Tree Colorado. She manages Avaya Service’s indirect channel and business partner relationships for implementation and professional services in the United States. Earlier in 2005, she earned her MBA at the University of Colorado. Davison and her husband have three children.

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

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