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Karl Marlantes Awarded Clarkson University Honorary Degree

Author Karl Marlantes was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 123rd Commencement on Saturday, May 7.

Karl MarlantesThe degree was awarded for “answering this country’s call to duty; for his bravery and compassion in war; for his work developing sustainable energies and their infrastructure; for documenting the experiences that illuminate the realities of war and for giving voice to veterans and helping them on their paths to recovery; and for his service to this nation and to humanity."

"War is terrible, and yet I am not a pacifist," said Marlantes in his remarks to the students. "I am, however, hopeful that someday we will see an end to war. I doubt that we’ll see it -- defined as I do, violence between armed groups -- in our lifetimes. But, we're on a good track and I'm optimistic. More Americans were killed in a single day at Normandy than have been killed in 15 years of war in Afghanistan… As I said, I'm not a pacifist; I’m a proud Marine and Marines are not pacifists. Pacifism only works if everyone is a pacifist. If just one person is willing to use murder and violence and no one else, then we give that person power over our lives and values that a pacifist can only counteract by willingly going to his or her death."

Marlantes was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. He served as a Marine rifle platoon commander in Vietnam, receiving the Navy Cross, Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts and other medals.

After his deployment, Marlantes earned a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and education.
He has worked as a business consultant for various international energy companies and lived in India, England, Singapore and France.

He published two books, Matterhorn (2010) and What It Is Like To Go To War (2011). Both were released to wide acclaim and became New York Times bestsellers.

Marlantes writes candidly about his struggle with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and has been a vocal advocate for veterans suffering from PTSD.

In his writing, Marlantes tries to explain why it is vital for society to understand what it asks of its young people when sending them to war. He explores how the nation might better prepare military personnel for war’s extremes, and how to help them find peace afterwards.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, 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 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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