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05-16-1999

Thomas H. Dooley '56 Commencement Address

Thomas H. Dooley '56, retired CIGNA Corporation executive vice president and retired president of Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, today received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 106th Commencement in Potsdam, N.Y. His address to students follows:

Well, this is a wonderful honor and I'm most grateful.

And as a lawyer, I started working on a defense. I said, " Well maybe, there's some academic statute of limitations. This has been hanging on my wall now for 43 years, and maybe they can't get it back. Or maybe I can throw myself at the mercy of my fellow trustees here at Clarkson and point out that I am a senior citizen."

I really appreciate the opportunity to offer my congratulations to each graduate here today. You've accomplished a great deal, but now you'll embark on a quest to achieve things that my generation never thought were attainable- or maybe never thought about at all. That's not a negative comment about those who have preceded you. Quite the contrary, I believe that the sterling performers of the next two to three decades will be acutely aware of the past and emulate selectively their predecessors, through a combination of the old and the new. If you do that, you will not merely survive, you will prevail.

I have some hopes this year for each of you:

I hope you take from your experience here in Potsdam not only learning and knowledge in your particular field, but an enviable work ethic and a sense of personal responsibility that is the mark of every Clarkson graduate.

I hope you'll share your talents and abilities with your community, with volunteer organizations, and with your alma mater. They need you and it can be rewarding and fun.

I hope you'll take some time today- take a little time to give special thanks to those who provided encouragement and support as you pursued this goal. This might be parents, or a spouse, friends or all of them. They were there when you needed them and it's important that they know you recognize that. I guarantee one thing: you're going to need them again, and again.

I know some parents are saying to themselves, "This is a red-letter day. My child is graduating from Clarkson." True. "I have written my last check." False.

Only the parents of MBAs have written their last check. And that's not because the MBAs don't need the money. It's because the MBAs, now having been exposed to the rarified atmosphere of high finance, will no longer accept checks-- only cash.

Thank you.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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