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Clarkson University Awards Degrees to More Than 700 Students at 124th Commencement

Clarkson University awarded more than 700 bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students from 34 states, 26 countries and 60 New York state counties at its 124th commencement today, Saturday, May 13. (An additional 262 students received degrees this past winter and summer.)

Commencement AThe weekend was also marked by the commissioning of United States Army and United States Air Force officers on Friday.

Jie Sun, an assistant professor of mathematics in Clarkson University's School of Arts & Sciences, was awarded the John W. Graham Jr. Faculty Research Award. The $1,500 research accounts are presented to "faculty members who have shown promise in engineering, business, liberal arts or scientific research."

Luciana Echazú, an associate professor of economics and financial studies in the School of Business, was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award. The $1,500 prize is given "in recognition of the importance of superior teaching." Candidates are nominated for the award by Clarkson alumni and the final selection is made by a faculty committee.

Commencement DSenior Kaitlin Dunn of Penfield, N.Y., was awarded the Levinus Clarkson Award, and senior Amy Hait of West Oneonta, N.Y., received the Frederica Clarkson Award. Both are $1,000 prizes given to "a student who demonstrates the best combination of scholarship and promise of outstanding professional achievement."

In addition to the graduating students, receiving honorary doctor of science degrees and addressing students, families and guests were Jan D. Achenbach, the Walter P. Murphy and Distinguished McCormick School Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, and Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University; Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE; and David Reh '62, owner and managing partner of Ravenwood Golf Club.

Commencement C"You should explore the world on your own… You will always be judged by what you do, not where you're from, so don't be afraid to take risks," Immelt said. "I'm honored now to be a Clarkson grad with my fresh degree, but I'm not really here on my own. I'm here, really, to honor my friends. And maybe to remind you… that sometimes ordinary people, like you and me, can do extraordinary things."

"Owning a company is not for everyone, it can be lonely and scary, but I hope to tease a couple of you into trying it," said Reh in his speech to the graduates. "If you do, it will provide you with a vehicle to bring to life your ideas, build an organization around them, and have the satisfaction of providing livelihoods to a lot of people."

"A degree from Clarkson University is a great asset, but keep in mind that your education is not finished when you leave here," said Achenbach in his remarks to the students. "There will always be something new to be learned in order to respond to whatever challenges you may encounter. Einstein said it -- when you are no longer learning, you are dying. But let work not be the only thing in your life. Also, have fun, find a companion, and enjoy what you are doing. I wish you good luck, but remember that luck has a way of happening to those who aim high."

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, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, 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 Kelly Chezum, VP for External Relations, at 315-268-4483 or]

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