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Family Honors Helen and John Chapple with Clarkson University Scholarship for Potsdam Central Grads

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When Helen and John D. Chapple moved to Potsdam from Indiana in the summer of 1965, neither of them knew that 25 years later, when John was named dean of admissions emeritus at Clarkson University, he would be responsible for recruiting more than 75 percent of Clarkson’s alumni at the time. Nor did they know that Helen would someday be named director of college relations, becoming the first woman to attain that high of a reporting level at Clarkson. Family Honors Helen and John Chapple with Clarkson University Scholarship for Potsdam Central Grads

Helen and John’s longtime service and dedication to higher education so impressed their son, John H., that he eventually became chair of the board of trustees at his alma mater, Syracuse University.

Now, in memory of his late father and in honor of his mother, Chapple has established the John D. and Helen Chapple Endowed Scholarship Fund with a gift of $300,000 to Clarkson University. Income from the fund will provide annual scholarships to graduates of Potsdam Central High School who excel academically as well as demonstrate financial need.

"When my dad began serving as director of admissions at Clarkson College of Technology in 1965, none of us realized the profound impact that the college would have on our lives," says Chapple. "He truly believed that he and his staff assured the successful careers and lifestyles of many young men and women."

Chapple notes that his father was pleased and proud to be named dean of admissions emeritus after 25 years of successful service, when a serious illness forced his retirement.

"My mom joined Clarkson in 1974 as a development officer and was named director of college relations in 1980," says Chapple. "She later went on to serve as director of college relations at her alma mater, SUNY Potsdam."

Chapple says that his parents worked closely together on many projects, with the most notable being the full production of a videotape about Clarkson that received a Gold Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Higher Education. "They both had a deep commitment to higher education with particular loyalty and devotion to Clarkson."

"We are very grateful to John and his family for choosing to honor his parents in a way that will benefit so many future graduates of both institutions," says Clarkson University President Tony Collins. "As a parent of four Potsdam Central High School graduates and as a colleague and friend of Helen and John, I am well aware of their many contributions to the University and to our community. It is truly fitting that they be honored in this way."

Chapple selected Potsdam Central graduates as beneficiaries of the scholarships because of his positive experience at the institution.

"My four siblings and I all attended Potsdam Central High School, where we received good preparation for college, made lifelong friends and knew classmates who would have benefited greatly from a Clarkson education, but couldn’t afford to attend," says Chapple. "Giving Potsdam Central students first eligibility for these scholarships will help students from our alma mater, while showing appreciation for Clarkson University, as well as my parents."

In 1994, Helen and John moved to Cape Coral, Fla., where they lived until John’s death in 2003. Helen now resides outside of Seattle in Issaquah, Wash., near her sons, John and Paul, and daughter Clare.

John H. Chapple is president of Hawkeye Investments in Kirkland, Wash., and former chairman, CEO and president of Nextel Partners Inc. A 1975 graduate of Syracuse University, he has served as board of trustees chair since 2008.

Chapple became president, CEO and chairman of the board of Nextel Partners and its subsidiaries in 1998. From 1995-97, he was the president and chief operating officer for Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment in Vancouver, B.C., which owned and operated Vancouver’s NBA and NHL sports franchises in addition to the General Motors Place sports arena and retail interests. Chapple also previously served on the senior management team of Rogers Cablesystems, before moving to American Cablesystems as senior vice president of operations from 1983-88. From 1988-95, he served as executive vice president of operations for McCaw Cellular Communications and, subsequently, AT&T Wireless Services following the merger of those companies.

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.

Photo caption: In memory of his late father and in honor of his mother, John H. Chapple has established the John D. and Helen Chapple Endowed Scholarship Fund with a gift of $300,000 to Clarkson University. Left to right: Helen and John H. Chapple.

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

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