Many thanks, Tony, for your outstanding support to me these past 12 years and for leading all of us at the university!
During my on-site job interview visit in December 2009, you gave me the helpful advice that you typically took domestic plane flights from Syracuse and international flights from Montreal. Although I was initially surprised that you (as university president!) would attend a job interview reception, later I learned that you attend virtually every event possible and miss any of them only due to simultaneous events. Whether a hockey game, basketball game, reception of the smallest group, or university presentations, your omnipresence has been appreciated.
It was so kind for you to send me Thank You cards over matters as small as me helping one student with one issue, whereas it would have been more appropriate for me to send you Thank You cards over major matters in which you have helped me. You kindly stopped by my office intermittently to provide an encouraging word. One time, you said that at a meeting in Florida, some alum(s) had made favorable comments about me. Another time, you mentioned the continued generosity of Neil and Karen Bonke. Speaking of which, it was so good to work with you on strengthening that relationship and your wife Karen’s kind words to me after Neil and I spoke at the E2E alumni event about a decade ago. Speaking of which, Neil wrote to me last month that:
“Tony and Karen Collins visited us on their recent West Coast swing… We thought that they would be in the “lame duck” mode but Tony was still very animated about Clarkson future projects. I think he will “ work” his job until his very last day in office!”
I am so glad, Tony, that you stuck with us long enough to lead us through the pandemic. So often I would read about other universities not handling the pandemic nearly as well as you did. As my wife and I are in the covid-19 “high risk” category, I especially appreciate your support in us remaining safe.
One of my final (and fond) memories was a few months ago when you passed me in the hallways while you were talking with someone else. Due to teaching remotely followed by my sabbatical, it had been nearly two years since you had seen me in person. Though you could see only the top portion of my masked face, you instantly recognized me and said, “Hi, John,” as if we had chatted the prior day.
Many thanks, Tony, for helping me so often, for always making me feel welcome, for caring about me, for inspiring me, and for making Clarkson such a fantastic place. Saying you will be missed, Tony, is an understatement. I am so lucky you were here at Clarkson.