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Clarkson University Trustee Chair Thomas Holliday Stepping Down as Board's 19th Leader

[A photograph for media use is available at .]

Clarkson University President Tony Collins announced today that the Clarkson University Board of Trustees is undergoing an orderly transition of leadership at the request of its current Board Chair Thomas E. Holliday.

Thomas E. HollidayHolliday, who has served as the board chair since February 2010, is concluding 12 years of service to the institution. Vice Chair Karel K. Czanderna ’77 is leading the nomination and election process for the institution’s 20th governing body leader since the institution was founded in 1896.

“Clarkson, its board and its administration are in an exceptional place right now with stability and a solid foundation for the University’s future,” said Holliday. “When looking ahead to the University kicking off its next major iteration of the long-range planning process in July, I reached out to the executive committee to initiate the nomination process now, so that the next leader can be fully grounded in the priorities that will emerge for Clarkson over the coming years.”

Holliday has been a trustee since 2000 and also served as the board’s secretary from 2004 until succeeding the late Everett G. Foster as Chair in 2010.

“The timing of this transition is right for Clarkson and it is right for me personally,” continued Holliday. “I intend to stay fully committed and connected to the University from my base in Los Angeles, California.” 

“It is with mixed emotions that I accept Chair Holliday’s unwavering logic that the time is now for him to step down as chair,” said President Tony Collins. “He has served Clarkson with distinction and zeal for more than 12 years and has been an earnest mentor to my wife, Karen, and me. He is a true legacy to Clarkson’s board, which has a rich history of leadership and commitment from non-alumni, who, like him, have believed in Clarkson’s mission and how our education launches successful careers for students from all walks of life.”

During Holliday’s tenure as chair, the University made great strides in its fundraising and in October 2011 kicked off the public phase of its Evolution to Excellence (E2E) Campaign. More than $196 million in gift commitments has been recorded against the campaign’s $225 million goal. 

Holliday led the process of transforming the University’s relationship with the Beacon Institute for Rivers & Estuaries into a strategic alliance that expands the institution’s physical presence beyond the North Country. During his time as chair, he also oversaw the successful completion of more than $36.1 million in capital improvements and a restructuring of board committees to apply more attention to the University’s research agenda, student mental health issues and alumni engagement. 

As a retired partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Holliday applied his personal expertise to major reviews of the University’s audit and compliance processes and ensured the continued currency of the corporate bylaws to align with higher education oversight legislation. He also took a personal interest in helping to build Clarkson’s new admissions network in California.

Holliday received his bachelor of arts degree with honors from Stanford University, where he was selected to Phi Beta Kappa, and his juris doctorate degree from the University of Southern California School of Law, where he was awarded the Order of the Coif.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and in 1997 received the Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year Award from the Century City Bar Association. He is listed among the Best Lawyers in America, and among Lawdragon’s national survey of the 500 leading trial lawyers.

Beyond his tremendous service to Clarkson, Holliday is strongly committed to giving back to the community. He is the former chairman of the board of trustees of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, and past chair of the Federal Bar Association in Los Angeles.

His most recent community involvement also includes service as a member of the board of directors and executive committee of U.S. Vets, an organization which provides housing and education for 3,000 veterans a day.

He also serves on the Los Angeles Police Department Memorial Foundation. In 2009, Holliday was honored by the Anti-Defamation League with its Jurisprudence Award recognizing commitment to community service.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five 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: Thomas E. Holliday.

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

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