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Karel Czanderna Elected Clarkson University Trustee

Karel K. Czanderna '77 of Dubuque, Iowa, president, chief executive officer and director of Flexsteel Industries, Inc., has been elected to the Clarkson University Board of Trustees. She will serve on the governance committee. 

Karel K. CzandernaCzanderna, a 1977 graduate of Clarkson, resided in Potsdam with her parents, Alvin W. and Lucile D. Czanderna, from 1964 to 1977 and is a graduate of Potsdam High School. Her father was a Clarkson physics professor from 1964-1978.

Czanderna is the seventh president and CEO of the wood and upholstered furniture company Flexsteel Industries, Inc. Prior to Flexsteel, she was group president of building materials for Owens Corning.
Before joining Owens Corning, Czanderna held various executive management positions, including vice president of the cooking products and outdoor kitchens businesses, and vice president and general manager of KitchenAid at Whirlpool Corporation, where she designed and executed the largest simultaneous all-kitchen product launch in the history of the major appliance industry.

Czanderna also served at Eastman Kodak for 18 years, holding a series of increasingly senior positions, including corporate vice president and GM output systems; corporate vice president and GM portrait photography business; vice president, office imaging and GM supplies business & director of engineering; vice president digital and applied imaging, director digital product quality; and worldwide product service manager, office imaging.

She earned her bachelor of science degree in physics from Clarkson in 1977. She received her Master of Science (1981) and Ph.D. (1984) in materials science and engineering from Cornell University.   

Czanderna previously served as a Clarkson trustee from 2002-2012 and was Vice Chair of the Board and interim chair before her last term concluded. She has served on Clarkson University’s Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering Advisory Council.  

Czanderna was a director of Career Development Services, served on Cornell and Clarkson University’s Engineering Advisory Councils, and is a sustaining member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women. She has received Clarkson University’s Golden Knight award, Cornell University’s materials science and engineering Distinguished Alumni Award, was named a Rochester Heroine of the 100 Heroines Project, was the first recipient of the Jane Lanphear Legacy Award of the Women’s Forum of Kodak Employees, and is a three-time Rochester Chamber of Commerce Athena Award nominee.

As a native New Yorker, she is an Adirondack 46er, having climbed all of the high peaks in the Adirondack Park. Czanderna resides with her husband, Dan Shirkey (Clarkson Class of 1980), in Dubuque, Iowa.

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.

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

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