Tony and Karen,
Those 3 words by themselves have had so much impact on Clarkson.
First, Tony, unlike your predecessors you introduced yourself as Tony and not President Collins. This created an approachability unseen in my years at Clarkson. I watched several graduations and the personal connection you made with so many undergraduates because of that simple gesture was impressive. It seemed like you knew each person graduating. You were a person, who also happened to be President, and were one of us. This approach elevated your status as President. People actually knew and understood the impact you were making. You were someone who had significant influence and power but who wielded that power for good because you cared about the individuals.
You didn’t do it alone. You brought along a perfect partner with Karen. Karen, the connections you had with all of us elevated the office of the President to an even higher level of engagement. You were as much a part of it all as Tony. Like peanut butter and jelly, it just doesn’t work without both.
You two will never truly understand the impact you have had to not only the institution but the thousands of lives you have changed as a result of your leadership. So thank you is not enough. You will be fondly remembered for many years to come.
I wish you both the best in the next chapter. However, I hope that chapter also includes a lot of visits to Clarkson, especially for reunions, since you are also both Clarkson alumnus. Now you can just come and have fun instead of all that work that comes with President. 🙂
Kevin Cunningham ‘90