Farewell to President Collins & Karen Collins

During their four decades at Clarkson, President Tony Collins and Karen Collins have touched the lives of countless students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members. Read some of their favorite memories and messages of gratitude here in this digital memory book. (Some submissions have been edited for length.)


Thank you for your dedication

Dr. Collins, thank you for your enthusiasm and dedication to the Clarkson family. I admire your vision and commitment.  I want to thank you and Karen for your kindness to me and my husband, Bill.  He loved Clarkson and he immensely enjoyed visiting with the two of you. Best to you and your new adven
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A funny accent

Fram Akiki ‘ – Dear Tony (and Karen),  First of all, thank you very much for all your leadership and support to Clarkson!  We certainly wish you all the best in whatever the future holds for you – We doubt you are going to completely sit still!  My favorite memory was during a visit on campus around
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GCT TOUR

Congratulations on your retirement. Glad I was to provide both of you the tour of Grand Central Terminal, especially the climb to the clock tower and the lookout thru the number VI window. You were a great President, constantly putting Clarkson out front for the whole country to focus on the institu
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Best Wishes – Tony & Karen Collins

Wow, it has been many years since we met Tony and Karen. I met Tony when I was a Trustee on the Board and he was still in the Civil Engineering department. He came to the board meeting and discussed a strategic plan for the University. I was immediately impressed with his forward thinking for the Un
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Congratulations and Very Best Wishes

Dear President Tony Collins and Karen Collins, Congratulations for your great accomplishments and contributions to Clarkson University, the North Country, and beyond.  I wish you continued success, good health, and a wonderful retirement. Very Best Wishes Always, Dana Barry 
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A Vegan Restaurant in NYC

Back in 2018, after only working at Clarkson for two years, I had the opportunity to work on an initiative with Tony that took us to NYC for a few meetings. On one particular day, we found ourselves around lunchtime with no specific plans. I suggested a nearby vegan restaurant that is one of my favo
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Family Affair

Neither of my parents were educated beyond high school.  My mother didn’t work outside the home. My father was a one man electrical contractor. He died unexpectedly at 44. I was 13.  My mother took it on herself to ensure all her children went to college.  After Dad died, she took a clerical job but
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Thank you

Dear President Collins, Thank you for giving me an opportunity to chase my dream at Clarkson University in Spring 2016. This six and a half year turns out to be a life changing experience. I just graduated with my Ph.D. degree in May and I am very fortunate that I graduated while you are still my pr
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An Honor and a Pleasure

Kind, understanding, generous, hard-working, dedicated, honest, bold, considerate, innovative, enthusiastic, wise and diplomatic are just a few of the words I would use to describe you, Tony.  You have fundamentally changed Clarkson University for the better.  I have been involved with the universit
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Favorite Professor

Professor Collins – I had you my senior year for Water/Wastewater Management – not an easy class.  In all my time at Clarkson, you were the best professor I had, a good (hard) and clear instructor who always seemed to genuinely care that we learned what you were teaching.  In 4 years I never worked,
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An Unforgettable College Experience

Dear Tony and Karen, I want to thank you for a college experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I played Volleyball all 4 years that I was at Clarkson and more times than I can count on my fingers and toes I saw you both in attendance at our home games. At the time, I remember feelin
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Tony and Karen – All Things To All People

This message is for Tony and Karen! We first met when my wife (JoAnne) and I visited Clarkson in the late 1990s until about 2005  recruiting engineers for Exxon and then Exxon Mobil Corporation.   The four of us seemed to gravitate to each other in a very natural way.  We were so happy to assist in
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Appreciation

I have very much appreciated your support for the fraternities and sororities on the Clarkson campus.   Your leadership and visibility within the student body were refreshing and wonderful.   It is obvious that Karen and you love the University environment and love encouraging students to achieve th
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Great Memories with President Collins

Dear Tony, You have been such a great leader and mentor at Clarkson for so many years. The way that you have cared for all students and friends has been tremendous and inspiring. Brenda and I will always cherish the times that we were able to see you and Karen. I hope that we can get together again
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An extraordinary memory among so many

Dear Tony and Karen, The most extraordinary memory was standing next to the two of you in Minneapolis at the moment the Women’s Hockey Team beat Colgate in OT to win their third NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship.  Robert (Soup) Campbell ’61
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Congratulations on a remarkable career

In 2019, I attended my fiftieth reunion and, as part of the festivities, there was to be a dessert reception on the lawn of Foster House. Rain intervened and the reception was moved into the house. I (along with a number of my classmates) was greatly enjoying the hospitality and our conversation wit
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Family gratitude

Five members of my family have had close connections with Clarkson. Four are alumni, one of whom had lifetime employment after graduation as a faculty member. A fifth was the janitor at Old Main for 22 years. On behalf of all of us, I thank you for your contributions at every level. You are truly a
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You will be missed admirably

You became President when I was in Grad School I think.  You were always very encouraging, I met you several times.  Thanks for the tenure!  I have a lot of respect for people who can hold a position of leadership for a long time.  We don’t get that in the industry too often. Farley Postgate ’05
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First Impressions

You were the first faculty member my Mom and I met when I came to Clarkson to see if I wanted to attend. You were part of the reason I attended. Then you became my advisor and favorite professor. Thank you for everything you did for me as a student and for all you did for Clarkson. Best wishes to yo
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Special People

I graduated from Clarkson long before Tony became President, but I had the pleasure of meeting and knowing him and Karen over the years.  They are both kind and thoughtful people, special in every way.  He invariably came to Sarasota to see me and others whenever on a trip to Florida.  On occasion,
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Thank You and Best Wishes!

Tony & Karen — Words escape me as to how to explain the impact you have had on the Clarkson Community.  The enthusiasm you had when you took on this role and have maintained is leaving insanely large shoes to fill.   You were both willing to do whatever it took to get Clarkson on a larger map, in m
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You always made us feel so welcomed

As an alumnus and a parent of 2 boys that went to Clarkson, when we would meet Karen and yourself at various Clarkson events… you always made us feel so very welcomed.  I remember your enthusiastic response when we introduced ourselves as parents of a Clarkson student and how you just burst with e
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Life and Leadership Lessons from Prof. Collins

Professor Collins was a young professor in the late 80s and early 90s when I had him for Water and Wastewater. I was interested in structures and initially gave the class a pretty short shrift. Not surprisingly I scored in the 50s on my first exam. Pretty embarrassing and Prof. Collins let me know i
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Best wishes

Tony, You and Karen have made so many huge contributions to my alma mater, and I wanted you to know how much I always appreciated your going above and beyond what might have been expected of a university president.  You always went “all in”. I enjoyed getting to know you better when I returned to Cl
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All the Best

Tony, you truly did an amazing job with Clarkson… always a good school academically but it had historically punched below its weight.  You had an incredible vision.  When I graduated, Clarkson was relatively unknown outside upstate NY.  You helped change a lot of that.  You brought long-overdue reco
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Your compassion

Dear President Tony Collins, While you came to Clarkson well after I graduated in the class of ’62, I have followed your vigorous pursuit of excellence and growth for our institution, the faculty, staff, students, the town of Potsdam, and most of all, the best possible student experience available a
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A Legacy That Will Live On ~

Dear President Collins,  You were my President at Clarkson when I joined in 2005. I had never traveled on a plane before when I came from India that year to join the PhD program in Env. Engineering at Clarkson. I was a little nervous. Surprisingly, I met you on my first day at campus, on a walk, not
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Future

Looking forward to your visits to the Bahamas, I am sure you won’t have to push the boat. You have done so much good for Clarkson that leaving must be hard, but you will always have your tremendous accomplishments to think back on. All the best, Skip and Barbara Skip Lewis ’66
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A fond farewell

Thank you for leading such a well respected university that provided me the opportunity to have a very fulfilling career in engineering and management. Aside from the fantastic times spent on campus, I am very fond of the events hosted by President Collins at the Saratoga Race Track for many summers
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Thank You for bringing Clarkson to a higher level.

First as a greatly respected environmental prof, then as Department Chairman, and then on to our most successful President,  I wish you ALL THE BEST in your retirement.    Thank You for all you’ve done for your students, the University, and your affiliated business partners. Paul Dudden ’67
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Thank you for all the little things

I have two big memories that stand out with Tony and Karen. First is that they were willing to donate to fundraising efforts I have conducted in recent years for cancer research, I am not sure I know anyone else who has gotten the president of their university to donate to such a campaign. The secon
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Tony – a most friendly representative from Clarkson

Tony was a continuous strong supporter of Clarkson Lambda/DUs. Many years ago, I remember first meeting Tony at a Lambda/DU reunion in Florida – there was this ‘stranger’ sitting poolside mid-day and having a beer with a few oldie DUs – and the ‘stranger’ turned out to be Tony! Imagine – a Clarkson
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Not to be forgotten

Tony, you and the First Lady, Karen, have brought the Clarkson family leadership, reputation and progress, and you touched our hearts with your kindness. We wish you “Fair Winds and Following Seas” in your next adventure! Cheers, Hank & Judy Hank Okraski ’58
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Enjoy the ride!

I am grateful to say that when ever we met you remembered my family’s connection to lacrosse.  My hunch is that quality was shared with many Alumni, which for me made for a genuine connection.  Thank you and good luck!  Go tech! Don Nims ’81
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Appreciative of Your Warmth and Consideration

Dear President Collins, We only saw each other a handful of times over your tenure at Tech, but, after we were introduced the first time, you always went out of your way to stop and say hello and make me feel welcome.  The culmination was at the 50-year reunion for my Class when they had that trivia
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Thanks for the Memories

It was always a pleasure to return to Clarkson and to have the opportunity to be a guest with Tony and Karen at Foster House. The way we were welcomed and to feel, being a big part of the family, was something I never expected. What a feeling meeting alumni, faculty, friends, and other guests certai
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Thank you

Dear Tony and Karen Collins, Thank you so much for not only your support for me as a student while I was at Clarkson, but also thank you so much for your friendship with and unending kindness toward my grandparents, Ron and Doris Frazer.  They always spoke of you so fondly and loved seeing you at ho
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Thanks for all you have done

Tony & Karen- There are so many highlights of your tenure at Clarkson so I won’t attempt to summarize them. As a former Alumni Association leader, I enjoyed being the President at the exciting beginning of your Presidency and appreciated your support for our initiatives. As a parent, I still have th
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Great Leadership, Well Deserved Accolades!

Congratulations on beginning your next chapter.  Rich and I wish you and your wife long, happy, and healthy post-Clarkson endeavors.  Although your career spanned most of the years after our graduation, we were fortunate to meet you both at several Clarkson cocktail events at your lovely home and a
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Meeting Tony & Karen

When I was a freshman, my family and I sat down at a move-in lunch on Cheel Lawn. Shortly after, we were joined by a couple and struck up a conversation. A few minutes into the conversation, my parents asked the couple what their child would be studying at Clarkson. At that point, Karen replied, “we
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Foster House

Hi Tony,  Thank you for making Clarkson University such an amazing place. I truly enjoyed all four years I spent there.  One memory that comes to mind was the senior class gift Foster House party. Everyone who donated to the senior class gift was invited to the Foster House for drinks and appetizers
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Thanks for the gardens

Tony and Karen, First, thanks to the Golden Knight reception at your house that I was invited to, I was able to see Karen’s fine work on the garden there. When visiting the Basso patio of the Student Center, that my wife, Brenda and I donated, I noticed minimal chairs, zero landscaping and way too m
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Thanks from the Huntington Beach, CA Alums

Thank you for making Clarkson such a great University.  We do see the results out here in CA, even though we are so far from the campus.  I always appreciated how you and Karen were so open and friendly at various SoCal events I attended. Congratulations and Best Wishes to you! Paul Haase ’79
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Baseball supporter

I had the pleasure of meeting you on a couple occasions for an alumni baseball game and a dinner for Jack Phillips. You did an outstanding job for Clarkson during your tenure and was a great supporter of all the athletic teams. Best wishes for a long and happy retirement. Gary Junge ’70
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Thank You

Dear Tony, Many thanks for your tireless efforts in managing the entire Clarkson universe ranging from premier scholastics to sports to keeping Greek life alive.  Your support will be forever appreciated. All the best to you and Karen in your next adventures. Sincerely,  Stephan G Cannellos ’75, Vic
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All the very best

Tony: Roberta and I wish you and Karen nothing but great health and happiness as you leave Potsdam. Everyone associated with Clarkson cannot thank you enough for all you have done to make our alma mater the great school  that it is today. All the very best.. Doug and Roberta Dahler ’74
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Thank you from a swim team alumni

I really appreciated that both of you always took the time to stop by the swim team’s annual banquet dinner at Sergi’s every year. Additionally, I love how approachable the both of you were during my time there. Liam Sharkey ’14
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Thank you

Dear President Collins and Karen, Thank you so much for all you did for Clarkson and Clarkson families. You poured your heart into golden nights and it was an honor to have known you. This is a deserved retirement for both of you and I hope you guys enjoy the best of your time where ever you guys go
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Best Wishes Tony & Karen

When Suzanne and I attended my 50th reunion at Clarkson three years ago, we were truly amazed at all that has changed “on the Hill”. We have a beautiful campus with happy students and staff and a community that works well and appreciates Clarkson. It is easy to be proud of what Clarkson has become.
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California here you come

Tony and Karen, Thank you for all you have done for Clarkson. My wife and I ended up in California as a result of 3 other Clarkson Engineers I went to school with. I was so surprised that you made it to California several times. I enjoyed going to the events. Our local paper will recognize local gra
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Best to you both!!

Tony and Karen, Wishing you all the best upon your retirement! Hope you have great plans…if you’re near Chicago in your travels, call ahead and dinner’s on me.  Thank you for all your great work at Tech!! Keep in touch, send new address if you want Christmas card!! Love and hugs, DD
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Student connection

Thank you for all that you have done for CU and the North-country community. Your connection with the student body, and outsized influence on the greater NNY community will be deeply missed. Stewart Tague ’08
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Pickup Basketball battles your 1st year at Clarkson

Hi Tony, I still have fond memories of my Dad (Charlie O’Brien)  taking me for pickup basketball games when I was in high school.  It was your first year on campus as a professor.  You and I were the scrappiest players on the court and still don’t know who threw more elbows 🙂   It was always a ple
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Peace and Tranquility in the North Country

The Presidential Team has done an excellent job, during many tumultuous years in a Country in turmoil, keeping the University above it all. During your reign CLARKSON has done nothing but gained reputation while keeping its charm and smallness which was appreciated in ’63 and I am sure is appreciate
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Award memories with Tony & Lisa

Tony, From when I was a student, then getting to know you even better on the Engineering Advisory Board, through my terms on the Board, I could not value our connections more. Many thanks each step of the way!! Lisa Napolione ’87
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You both make us proud !

Congratulations on a fantastic run (pun) intended) ! You have both been ‘all in’  and the results and lasting legacy clearly shows it. Clarkson, Potsdam, and every student and alumni has felt your enthusiasm, wisdom, and leadership.   From Tony’s jogs through campus to Karen’s dazzling smile, we che
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Congratulations and Best Wishes

Tony, Bunny and I would like to wish you and Karen well as you enter into the next phase of your life. We want you to know that through your dedicated leadership, Clarkson is an outstanding institution with a world class faculty and infrastructure.  Thank you for all that you have done for Clarkson.
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Thank you, a million times over!

Tony,  Thank you for making the Clarkson family what it is, your and Karen’s commitment to the students, fostering a fantastic community for all involved, and for creating a culture that changed the lives of so many. Choosing Clarkson was the best decision I’ve ever made, and my memories from my tim
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Walking in Circles

Hi Tony and Karen, Congrats on your retirement and I am sure you are looking forward to new adventures ahead! When I was getting ready to retire 5 years ago, a good friend from the Red Cross shared some sage advice. He said,” when you are retired you had better know BEFORE you go to bed what you are
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Thank You

Thank you for your avid support of the Air Force ROTC at Clarkson. As a Cadet it was always inspiring to see how much you supported the Cadet Corps and each student. Det 536 was lucky to have you leading Clarkson.  -Lt Col Dan “FILTER” Naske, class of 2007, 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron Comma
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Model UN to Film Club

I will never forget going to a dinner after our club (the now disbanded Model UN) had a showing of COCO. I had a great time (even though I showed up late). I do think that that lead us to create our film club! The picture is of Film Club at the Club Fair during our first year back in person after CO
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Wishing you the best

Tony and Karen, I hope you have a long and wonderful retirement. You were so thoughtful and kind to my Uncle Donald Armstrong at alumni gatherings. Also at all those basketball games with our daughters. All the best, Karen Edwards
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A New Beginning

Your leadership has brought Clarkson to a new level of excellence, much like the post WWII years expansion of the institution. You have been welcoming to all associated with Clarkson and the local community. You leave a very large set of shoes for the incoming President to fill! Best wishes to you a
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Thank You

Tony & Karen Collins, I just want to thank you for going above and beyond to lead and represent Clarkson for the last 40 or so years, and especially for the last 3 years through the pandemic. It has always been clear to me that  you care about the student body as a whole and about every student indi
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Thanks for your support of Men’s Rugby

Tony, As a young 20 something, it was always so cool to see you show up to our games to watch and support us. We were just a group of guys looking to have some fun but seeing you there made me realize that it was more than just a club team; We were representing you, our university and the community.
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Our dog

Hello! One of my fondest memories at Clarkson is of Carolyn Hudson & I running down the hall at Congdon to beat you to class. This was in the Fall of ’89 semester, prior to when emotion support animals were a thing. We just liked bringing him with us. We always arrived early so we could hide our dog
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Let’s Go Canes

Several years ago during a southern alumni tour, I was contacted by Steve N, the alumni director, and offered to coordinate a tailgate and group hockey game for the Carolina Hurricanes vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets. With spouses, friend and children, there were about 45 folks at the tailgate, which
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Thank you

Thank you President and Mrs. Collins. You’re commitment and dedication to the campus, and it’s students has not gone unnoticed. Thank you.  Kacey Scheib ’20
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Best Wishes!

Tony and Karen, Thank you both for all you’ve done to create a Clarkson that truly has a disparate impact on the world. You’ve taken us in just 20 years ago that was a small, respected technical university known for engineers, and grown it into an incredible beacon of innovation, equity, outreach, c
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Dance Ensemble Support

We loved having you and Karen supporting us at every performance! It meant so much to us that you would always come to our performances no matter how little. Thank you Tony! Jodi Hayes ’19 
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All Great Things

Hi Tony and Karen, it’s been a while, I suppose! Congratulations on a successful presidency, Tony-from my stint as Golden Knotes president, I know it’s not always a walk in the park! I always appreciated yours and Karen’s engagement on campus-whether it’s sending pizza over to the pep band during a
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Thank You!

Thank you Tony and Karen for all that you’ve done for Clarkson University! Your countless contributions to both the Clarkson and Potsdam communities are much appreciated. Robert Brockway ’21
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Thank you and very best wishes

Tony – Your vision, ceaseless energy, efforts, and enthusiasm have made such a profound and positive difference for Clarkson students, the campus, and entire community.  Thank you for all you have done David Schmidt ’93
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The Best!

Thank you so much for making an awesome campus where I could start as a Clarkson School student and continue to grow. It was very much the best place to spend 4 years! Laura Decker ’07 
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Pleased to have met you!

I met you at the 2018 reunion (my 50th). I was impressed by what a nice person you were and impressed by how well you moved Clarkson into the present! You are now one of the reasons I am proud to be a Clarkson Alumnus. Good luck and happiness in your future endeavors! Robert Paulsen ’59
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Thank you, Karen & Tony!

Karen & Tony, Thank you for being the supporting, loving parents that guided Clarkson and it’s students. Your warm smiles and dedicated leadership made Clarkson and Potsdam feel like a home. Best wishes, safe travels and thank you! With love, Jackie (Romano) Burton, Class of 2013
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Thank you Tony and Karen

Thank you Tony and Karen for the years of dedicated leadership and friendship to not only the Clarkson family but to the entire region. Your passion is unparalleled and the sincerity and enthusiasm in which you served our university and area will be remembered for generations to come and as an alumn
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Legendary

Never before (and likely never again) in the history of higher education and campus life, as a university President been the most loved man on campus. The legend of TC will live on forever as the greatest figure to have graced the grounds of Clarkson University. Cheers! Frodo
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