Clarkson Values

Consistent with this vision, the values that underlie Clarkson University today have shaped the institution since its founding in 1896 as a memorial to Potsdam businessman Thomas S. Clarkson.

The owner of a quarry that produced sandstone of exceptional strength and quality, Thomas Clarkson believed deeply in the power of education as a means for young women and men to improve their own lives and the lives of others. 

As the school has evolved into a technologically focused research university of international stature, Clarkson’s historic bedrock values continue to guide the personal and professional growth of every student. These values form the intellectual and spiritual foundation of Clarkson University’s ongoing
evolution to excellence.


Effective teamwork encourages creativity and self-initiative in our respective roles and partnerships. It is essential in getting the task done and in developing the skills needed to meet future challenges.


A positive and friendly atmosphere is created when we care about each other, when we
are open to constructive criticism, and when we show appreciation for a job well done.


Honesty and accountability in one’s actions and words form the foundation of our relationships with others.


Having a vision of what we want the future to be helps us prepare for it. Embracing the inevitable changes in our world as opportunities allows us to anticipate, promote and facilitate change.


The mutual appreciation of differences and a plurality of opinions, beliefs and cultural traditions inform and enrich our lives.


Offering our time and skills for the good of our fellow citizens leads to the prosperity of the community and to the character development of the individual.


Educational experiences in and out of the classroom enliven our minds, broaden our horizons, and facilitate dialogue and consensus. Learning is a lifelong activity.


“A workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” (The favorite Biblical phrase of University namesake Thomas S. Clarkson.) Initiative and hard work are key ingredients in getting the task done.


The Clarkson Values Statement was adopted by the University and Board of Trustees in 1996. It remains a critical touchpoint for how the Clarkson community approaches personal responsibility and respect for one another.