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The Economy, Clarkson, and Sandstone

Clarkson SandstoneThe Economy, Clarkson, and Sandstone
A Message to the Clarkson Community from President Anthony G. Collins
October 10, 2008

This weekend, when you are outside enjoying the forecasted warmth and sunshine, take notice of the sandstone that surrounds us. Perhaps each member of our campus community would like to touch a piece of Potsdam sandstone that came from the quarries owned and operated by Thomas S. Clarkson. It is the hallmark of our regional architecture. It is unique. On the hill campus, you will find it on the Clarkson Entry Gates, the exterior walls of Woodstock Lodge or the material in the fireplace of the Adirondack Lodge. Downtown you will find it all over the village storefronts as well as our downtown campus and most grandly represented in our first building, Old Main. 

Engineering tests prove Potsdam Sandstone is harder and more durable than granite. The formation of Potsdam sandstone required over 500 million years. The formation of Clarkson University has taken, so far, a mere 112 years. Nonetheless, there are strong similarities between the test of time of this extraordinary stone and the test of time of a Clarkson education. As you feel the sandstone at your fingertips, consider the fierce commitment we have to teamwork and the values from our namesake Thomas S. Clarkson for innovation, entrepreneurship and service to humanity. 

Potsdam Sandstone symbolizes the strength of our education and the strength of our institution. 

On Monday, October 6, Clarkson University faculty, staff and students packed a large lecture hall to participate in a Current Issues Forum on the Economy in order to better understand the facts surrounding the global economic issues facing the nation and its implications for Clarkson and our own daily lives. As an extension of the Forum and as we welcome tomorrow more than 200 prospective students and their families to our campus, we are again sending a clear message that Clarkson and its fund management practices place the University among the most solid schools in higher education. 

Clarkson Chief Financial Officer Nancy Kin advises that Clarkson is well positioned to weather the current financial turmoil and that the financial management policies that guide the Universitys diversified portfolio of investments have appropriately applied prudent decision-making in setting goals for an endowment structured for perpetuity. The University Investment Committee led by the Board of Trustees is comprised of people who make their careers managing the funds of others and who follow the markets everyday - their wise counsel, diligence and swift actions have significantly reduced Clarksons exposure in this downturn and our cash position and cash flows are strong. Clarksons debt is all in fixed rate instruments and is in place for all current construction projects keeping the institutions financial stream free from volatility in the market from other adjustable rate bond programs. 

We remain in a position to meet all obligations, to continue pursuing development of our campus master plan and to make a Clarkson education accessible for all who seek to apply and are qualified to enroll. Like Potsdam sandstone Clarkson is extremely sound and will endure. 

We hold steadfast to our legacy as a standard bearer for innovation and the American work ethic that makes Clarkson a university that defies convention. We proudly share below our leading indicators that give us confidence in Clarksons future and in the future of all who choose to be associated with us. 

  • For the fall 2008 semester we welcomed the largest first-year class in more than two decades and are experiencing record turn outs of prospective students and their families for our Fall Open House and Campus Visit programs. 
  • The September Career Fair for students brought more than 150 employers to campus - the highest ever for this event - all seeking to hire Clarkson students for internships, co-ops and full-time employment upon graduation. 
  • Our most recent young alumni began their careers with average starting salaries substantially above $50,000. 
  • The month of September 2008 logged our largest ever single month in new research awards and contracts for our faculty and program staff invigorating our research enterprise. 
  • Our Alumni Reunion in Summer 2008 had the largest turn out record. 
  • The Clarkson Fund closed FY 2008 with its highest annual giving total ever. 
  • The resurgence of alumni registering for Homecoming later this month demonstrates the commitment and engagement of our entire Clarkson family in the life of the institution. 
  • The influence of our alumni in addressing the world’s most pressing issues also rose this summer in our annual review of their prominence in global commerce - now 1 in 6 alumni already leads a company as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior position in a company. 


Feel free to share our story. 

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located in Potsdam, N.Y adjacent to the Adirondack Park, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the worlds pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to challenge the status quo, and to connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.