Following World War II,
New York State Governor Thomas E. Dewey requested that each New York State college expand its facilities and faculty to enroll twice as many students to accommodate troops returning from World War II who were eager to use their GI Bills.
Finding no appropriate buildings in Potsdam, the Clarkson administration found a suitable campus in Malone, some 35 miles away.
Home to the freshman classes and some sophomores for five years, Clarkson’s Malone branch opened in 1946. The campus consisted of five buildings for administration, academics, student housing, and recreation, as well as outdoor recreational facilities.
The incoming numbers were so high — more than 600 students at a time — that campus housing could not accommodate everyone. Instead, many Clarkson classmates were graciously taken in by the local townspeople who provided food, housing and welcome company.
In 1951, enrollment dropped as veterans completed their degrees, and the Malone branch was discontinued.
While at Clarkson to commemorate their 55th reunion in July 2009, members of the Class of 1954 took time to visit the site where they spent their first year as Clarkson students — the Malone branch of what was then the Clarkson College of Technology.
Part of the last freshman class to inhabit the Malone campus, 14 members from the Class of ’54, along with friends and family, spent an afternoon walking the grounds, telling stories, and reliving their memories.
“When we were here in Malone, we had it made,” recalled Warren Woomer, “We got to know each other very well. Even back in Potsdam, we were really close because of that first year together in Malone.”
LeRoy “Whitey” Hansen recalled: “It was great to come back and see the old place and see that not much had changed between us. We still have the same nicknames we had from day one. We’re still friends.”
Lou Dindo who organized the Malone reunion added, “Our experience was much different than that of the students in Potsdam, even if we were only here for a year. We might be scattered all over now, but we still came back here and had a great time with each other. That’s what this was all about.”