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Chief James Ransom to Deliver Clarkson University Convocation Lecture

[A photograph for media use is available at ]

Clarkson University Trustee and Alumnus James W. Ransom, chief of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council, will deliver the Van Sickle Endowed Lecture at Clarkson University’s Convocation on Monday, August 24, at 7 p.m. in Cheel Arena. The event is open to the public free of charge.Trustee and Alumnus James W. Ransom

The title of Ransom’s talk is "One Person Can Make a Difference" and is dedicated to the late Edward T. Misiaszek, a long-time Clarkson faculty member and administrator, as well as Ransom’s mentor.

Ransom will discuss the importance of mentorship and the role that each person can play in helping others to reach their potential. He will also incorporate the themes of identity and self-discovery as they relate to the novel Flight, by Sherman Alexie, which first-year students read during the summer.

Flight combines pop culture, Native American history, fantasy, and time travel to explore questions of identity in 21st century America.

Ransom earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Clarkson in 1988. He also holds an A.A.S. degree in civil technology from Canton Agricultural and Technical College.

He is serving his third term as chief and has worked for the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and community of the Akwesasne for the past 28 years in various capacities.

He has extensive experience in environmental issues and in 1978 helped to start the tribe’s environmental program, serving as its director through 1990.

Prior to his election as tribal chief, Ransom was the first director of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force, helping to develop environmental programs for the Cayuga, Tonawanda Seneca and Tuscarora nations.

Ransom has a strong interest in tribal education issues and serves as chairman of the tribe’s education committee, which is developing a ten-year strategic plan that includes the development of a tribal college. He also recently served a five-year term on the Salmon River Central school board and was previously involved with the parent committee for the Akwesasne Freedom School.

He serves on the New York State Environmental Board, which oversees the operation of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Onake Corporation, a non-profit board promoting the culture of the Mohawk people.

The Kenneth J. and Irla Van Sickle Endowed Lectureship was established in 1992 through generous bequests from the estates of Kenneth and Irla Van Sickle of Shortsville, N.Y. The Van Sickles shared interests in photography, gardening, nature and stamp collecting. During their long and active lives, the Van Sickles were dedicated to hard work, placing great value on education, particularly higher education.

For more information about the Van Sickle Lecture and Convocation, please contact: Paula Wilmot, Director of Co-Curricular Education and Programming, at or at (315) 268-6680

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

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

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