Doug ’71 and Jane Collette
The gratification that sparks from helping a young person meet their educational goals is a gift that keeps giving. For Doug ’71 and Jane Collette, this couldn’t be truer.
Clarkson holds a special place in Doug and Jane’s hearts. The couple met as undergraduates — Doug at Clarkson and Jane at SUNY Potsdam.
The Collettes recall how challenging it was 50 years ago for families to pay for college, let alone now. Recognizing the barriers they faced, Doug and Jane were inspired to help alleviate some of this stress for current students through a scholarship endowment.
Clarkson: A Philanthropic Priority
Doug grew up in Malone and Jane in Schroon Lake, both rural New York communities. “I came from very meager means,” explains Doug. “If it weren’t for the scholarships my predecessors had funded, I probably wouldn’t have been able to attend. Clarkson gave me the education and tools I needed to succeed in life and business.”
Doug’s career spanned 38 years and included working on underwater weapons systems for the United States Navy, pioneering new narrowband radio technology at Sideband Technology and engineering advanced optical networks around the globe at Fidelity Investments. He credits the hands-on practical experience gained at Clarkson, which led to his early career success. This success allowed the couple to give back much sooner than other schools’ typical graduates.
“While we support other causes, our lives together and success realized has hinged on the education Doug received from Clarkson,” Jane adds. “That is why we’ve chosen Clarkson as our primary philanthropic priority. We are more than motivated to do anything to help fill in a gap for students and families trying to figure out how to attend Clarkson, especially those from the North Country.”
Gifts at Work
The Collettes began giving back to Clarkson almost immediately with annual gifts. “Back then, it may not have been much, but we did what we could, and I think that’s important for people to realize,” says Doug.
Today, the Collettes are Legend donors, meaning they are members of Legion, Loyal, Leadership and Legacy groups that comprise the Good Knights Guild, Clarkson’s donor recognition program. Their support through the years includes:
- Annual gifts, which first began as Clarkson Fund support, now grow the Collettes’ endowment.
- Student scholarships through the Jane and Douglas Collette ’71 Share Clarkson Scholarship Fund, established in 2002. This scholarship supported one student with $2,500 for four years.
- In 2006, they created a permanent endowment for student scholarship support, which typically equals three student awards each year for all four years of their Clarkson education. The scholarship prioritizes students from North Country communities.
- A series of planned gifts, which has evolved over the years with the support of Clarkson Development staff dedicated to helping them achieve their philanthropic goals.
To date, Collettes’ overall scholarship support includes 76 awards, impacting the education of 23 unique students.
The Collettes receive letters of thanks and communication from their student recipients each year. They enjoy hearing from them and learning about what they are doing in addition to pursuing their education. Some volunteer with their local fire departments at home or in other capacities while at school. Others enjoy exploring and climbing the 46 Adirondack High Peaks in Clarkson’s backyard or are active in on-campus clubs to round out their academic interests.
The Collettes keep a file of all of their communications. “Hearing from the students each year makes us feel like we are doing something productive to support their studies and futures,” says Jane. “It’s very gratifying and meaningful.”
Doug and Jane are amazed by Clarkson’s growth over the last 50 years since Doug graduated. They note the most significant differences are the expansion of the Hill Campus and its continuing evolution; the addition of more academic programs, including health sciences, education, biomedical and the breadth of the engineering and business disciplines; and a much more diverse and well-rounded student population. What remains the same? A robust Clarkson education that offers hands-on practical experience and equips graduates to hit the ground running in their careers.
They are confident that this growth — and tradition — will continue and are proud to be a part of Clarkson’s continued success.