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Roger '68 and Judy Dilmore

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Their Family and the Class of '68
April 2017

Roger Dilmore ‘68 was shocked into finishing college. Literally. When he visited Clarkson University as a junior in high school, the faculty and students at Clarkson were so welcoming and supportive that Roger knew Clarkson was the right choice for him. However, like many freshman, Roger, who had always excelled in school with ease, struggled academically in college.

After a tough first year of school, Roger returned home to Waterloo, New York, unsure whether he would graduate. He got a job working as an electrician’s apprentice while he decided what he was going to do about college, until one afternoon on the job, he got knocked 20 feet onto a concrete floor by 480 volts. He knew then that he needed to succeed at Clarkson. And, he did.

When Roger returned to Clarkson, he says he “found his groove,” and of course, eventually earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He also took time to participate in the Clarkson community. Roger was a founding member of the Pep Band, which he describes as “a real brotherhood, a fraternity without a house.” Roger played trombone or baritone or bass drum or whatever else might be needed each night and is “thrilled that the band’s legacy has continued.”

Continuing legacies is important to Roger. He graduated from Clarkson in 1968, then married Judy three months later. After graduation, Roger worked for New York State Electric and Gas for 30 years. Roger and Judy both went on to study at Broome County Community College where Roger earned an associate’s degree in business and paralegal studies, and Judy earned a business degree. But, no matter where Roger and Judy worked, what they saw, or what they did, they never forgot their roots.

Those roots include Roger’s parents and grandparents whom he credits with teaching him the importance of giving back. Growing up, Roger witnessed his Grandpa Hartwell trade his services as an attorney representing indigent citizens for all manner of goods including a bushel of apples and even a pig.

Those lessons coupled with Roger’s affinity for his Clarkson family, inspired Roger and Judy to give back to Clarkson by funding an endowment at the University. The gift is in memory of Roger’s parents and grandparents. And, as an added bonus, Roger and Judy were able to make the gift in honor of Roger’s 45th class reunion.

When Roger and Judy were deciding how they wanted the gift to be used, Roger thought about his experience growing up in the baby boom era. During that time, Roger’s school was so over capacity that the library was used as a study hall for most of his education. As he got older, he realized what a significant disadvantage it was to not have access to a quality library, and when he and Judy decided to make a gift to Clarkson, they knew they wanted to benefit Clarkson’s library.

The endowment, which provides unrestricted support, has according to library director, Michelle Young, helped the library “fill the gaps in our budget and collections.” Several books and journals have been purchased thanks to Roger and Judy. Additionally, the flexibility in funds is immensely helpful to the library staff who are able to purchase what the library needs most each year.

Roger echoes that sentiment explaining that Clarkson is “not big on frills; it cares about substance.” Unrestricted gifts to the University help ensure that staff across campus are able to fund their greatest needs. In fact, Roger says he and Judy stretched their giving beyond annual Roundtable contributions to include endowing a fund partly because they knew Clarkson would use the funds wisely.

Roger is proud of not only how the University has managed his and Judy’s gift but also how the University has grown. Roger explains, “What Clarkson is able to do with such a small endowment compared to similar schools is impressive.” It is this pride in Clarkson, a school well-known for its education in technology when Roger was a student, and now well-known for programs in business and health sciences as well, that keeps Roger coming back to campus to celebrate his class reunion.

Now, Roger isn’t the only alumnus in the Dilmore family. Roger’s and Judy’s two sons, Jonathan ‘97 and Gregory ‘00 and Jonathan’s wife, Kathy, ‘00 are also proud Clarkson alumni. The Dilmore family’s endowment is truly a family legacy that continues to benefit each and every Clarkson student every year. Unrestricted gifts continue to be needed, but as Roger says, “you just have to take the first step.”