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05-12-2002

Four Receive Honorary Degrees And Address Graduates

[JPEG images of commencement are available via overnight delivery, e-mail and at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/commencement1. jpg]

More than 500 students from 24 states, 25 countries and 60 of New York's counties were granted bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at Clarkson University's Commencement today (May 12). (One hundred sixty-seven more students received degrees at an earlier ceremony in December.) Close to 4,000 parents, relatives and friends attended the ceremony. The weekend was also marked by the commissioning of United States Army and Air Force officers on Saturday, May 11.commencement1

Receiving honorary degrees and making short speeches were Kathie L. Olsen, President Bush's nominee for the associate director of the Office of Science and Technology in the Executive Office of the President (prior to this she served as the chief scientist at NASA); Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology President Samuel F. Hulbert; Retired Ehrlich Auto Parts Chairman and University Trustee Charles S. Ehrlich; and Director of the Clarkson University International Center for Gravity Materials Science and Applications Liya L. Regel.

Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Christopher Lynch of Potsdam was awarded the John W. Graham Jr. Faculty Research Award. This $1,500 research account is presented to "a faculty member who has shown promise in engineering, management, liberal studies, or scientific research."

Chemistry Professor James Peploski of Potsdam was awarded the Clarkson University Distinguished Teaching Award. The $1,500 prize is given "in recognition of the importance of superior teaching" by nomination of alumni and by selection of a faculty committee.

Senior Gregory T. Asselin of Schenectady, N.Y., was given the Levinus Clarkson Award, and senior David A. Young of Rome, N.Y., was given the Frederica Clarkson Award. Both are $1,000 prizes, awarded to "a student who demonstrates the best combination of scholarship and promise of outstanding professional achievement."

Kathie L. Olsen told the graduates to explore every option presented to them and take advantage of every opportunity. "When I was in high school, I was not becoming a scientist - because I hated it. And yet in college … I took a class from a professor in biology … and I became a biologist."

Olsen gave her own career experience as an example of the bright future awaiting the graduates. "I did not think I was going to be a scientist. And now I'm the chief scientist of NASA. …In the next ten to fifteen years you'll be getting a lot of opportunities. What you really need to do is reach out for them."

Samuel Hulbert said, in part, "I believe the more you put into every one of your relationships, the more you'll get out of it. I believe the more you put into your career, the more you'll be rewarded. I believe the more you put into your community, the more you'll get out of it.

Find a career for which you have a great passion; life goes by very, very quickly. Help develop a magic bullet for cancer, a cure for diabetes, or a new hip prosthesis. But most of all, make this a better world for your fellow human beings.

In addressing the graduates Charles Ehrlich said, in part, "I hope you will share your talents and abilities in your communities, with your organizations and with your University… Give back to your community by getting involved. It does make a difference. I have personally discovered that the more you give of yourself, the more you will receive in return… The dreams you hold in your heart today as you graduate can be achieved and even more than you ever dreamed of today."

In addressing the graduates Regel said, in part, "I consider myself very, very lucky. Everything I have today comes from my meeting many unforgettable, talented, incredible, interesting and exceptional people. … I wish you this same luck throughout your life."

She urged the graduates," Don't be afraid to climb new heights, to find the diamonds inside your mind, to polish them, and show your talents to the world."

[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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