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Susan & Jim '79 Witkowski

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Learn, Earn and Return
Spring 2016

The phrase, “Learn, Earn and Return” has special meaning to Jim and Susan Witkowski.  Jim is a 1979 graduate of Clarkson University and Susan a SUNY Potsdam graduate of the same year.   Traditionally, “Learn, Earn, and Return” describes sequential phases of life, but Jim   and Susan believe that each should occur continually.  Each of these activities requires thoughtful hard work and can be equally rewarding …and fun.

The couple has wonderful memories of their “learning years” at Clarkson and Potsdam.  Jim and Susan met when they were sophomores.  Both were only able to attend their chosen schools with financial aid, either through scholarships, college loans and part-time jobs.  Jim was a member of Theta Xi fraternity and Susan a member of the Agonian sorority. Hard work studying was balanced with a lot of fun…including lasting memories of Ice Carnival, hockey games and beer blasts.

Both Jim and Susan have had very successful “earning years,” only possible, they believe, because of the outstanding educations received   at Clarkson and Potsdam.  Susan is a health care professional,       currently the CEO of a “free medical clinic” that she helped found over     15 years ago.  Jim has had a very successful career in the pulp and    paper industry, recently retiring from International Paper/Union Camp and currently working as a consultant with ARCADIS.  They want to emphasize that “earning” goes far beyond financial reward, and the importance of earning the respect of friends, family, and peers.

Jim and Susan, who live in Camden SC, have been active in “returning” throughout their lives, whether it be by managing and developing others professionally, volunteering in their community and by charitable financial contributions.  However, they wanted to make a significant formal “return” to their alma maters, in recognition of the financial support they received in attending Clarkson and Potsdam.

In 2015, they established the James Witkowski ’79 Endowed Scholarship at Clarkson University.  This four-year scholarship is to be awarded to a deserving student with preference to a graduate of Jim’s high school, Broadalbin-Perth. The first recipient of the Witkowski Scholarship at Clarkson is George Pickering ’19, president of the BPHS Class of 2015.

Also in 2015, Jim and Susan established the Susan Cancilla Witkowski ’79 Endowed Internship Scholarship, to help SUNY Potsdam students with expenses associated with off-campus internships within the Community Health major. The first scholarship was awarded to Robin Thelen, a senior Community Health major, for her internship in spring 2015 at North Country Family Health Services and the Saint Regis Mohawk Office for the Aging.

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    George Pickering '19 Robin Thelen '16


Robin Thelen '16
Robin Thelen '16

Susan and Jim Witkowski
Susan '79 (Potsdam) and Jim '79
(Clarkson) Witkowski

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About "Partnership"

SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson University will soon celebrate 120 years of a partnership in service to the North Country and tens of thousands of students. Over the years, many of the students from each campus joined to form their own partnerships, most often in marriage. This newsletter celebrates those partnerships. In 2015 “Partnerships” received “Best in Category” honors from SUNYCUAD, SUNY’s organization for professionals in the field of Advancement, including alumni and development officers. “Partnerships” won top honors in the category of Innovations in Fundraising.