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Three to Receive Clarkson University Honorary Degrees May 8

Martin J. Fisher, Carl B. Mack and J. Craig Venter will be awarded honorary degrees at Clarkson University’s 117th commencement on Saturday, May 8.

Each honorary degree recipient will briefly address the students, their families and guests about a topic central to their success in life.

Martin J. Fisher is co-founder and CEO of KickStart International, an award-winning, U.S.-based, nonprofit social enterprise with a revolutionary solution to alleviating poverty. They design and mass-market, simple, money-making tools and technologies that open up business opportunities to poor entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and the developing world. Their mission is to get millions of people out of poverty quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably; and, in doing so, change the way the world fights poverty. Fisher leads a team of designers and engineers to create a number of money-making tools, the most successful of which is the human-powered MoneyMaker irrigation pump.

Carl B. Mack is the executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), one of the nation’s largest student-governed organizations. The mission of NSBE is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. In each of Mack’s first four years at NSBE, the organization has set records for membership. His leadership has also led to increased visibility for the organization, with Mack being recognized by Ebony magazine as one of the Top 150 Black Leaders in America in both 2008 and 2009.

J. Craig Venter is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century for his numerous invaluable contributions to genomic research. He is founder, chairman, and president of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit, research organization with approximately 400 scientist and staff dedicated to human, microbial, plant and environmental genomic research, the exploration of social and ethical issues in genomics, and to seeking alternative energy solutions through genomics. Venter is also founder and CEO of Synthetic Genomics Inc., a privately held company dedicated to commercializing genomic-driven solutions to address global energy and environmental challenges.

Commencement weekend will also be marked by the commissioning of United States Army and Air Force ROTC officers on Friday, May 7.

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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