700 students receive bachelor's, master's, doctoral degrees at Clarkson University's 119th commencement
Sunday, May 12, 2013 - 11:04 am

More than 700 Clarkson University students from 28 states, 19 countries and 56 New York state counties were granted bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at Clarkson University's 119th commencement Saturday, May 11.

United States Army and United States Air Force officers were commissioned Friday.

Wanda M. Austin, president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Corporation, and Mark P. Sarkisian, director of seismic and structural engineering in the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP received honorary degrees and gave speeches to the graduating students.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer also attended the ceremony.

Senior Marty LaFleur of Potsdam received the Frederica Clarkson Award, a $1,000 prize given to "a student who demonstrates the best combination of scholarship and promise of outstanding professional achievement."

Sitaraman Krishnan, an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in Clarkson 's Coulter School of Engineering, was awarded the John W. Graham Jr. Faculty Research Award. The $1,500 research account is presented to "faculty members who have shown promise in engineering, business, liberal arts or scientific research."

Laura E. Ettinger, an associate professor of history in Clarkson's School of Arts & Sciences, was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award. The $1,500 prize is given "in recognition of the importance of superior teaching." Candidates are nominated for the award by Clarkson alumni and the final selection is made by a faculty committee.

Saying she was "honored to meet the inspired -- and inspiring -- graduates," Wanda Austin applauded Clarkson's "administration, faculty and staff for their commitment to ensuring an outstanding education."

"Your focus on leading innovation and benefitting humanity provides the graduates with the balance of tools needed to become our future leaders," Austin said.

"Special congratulations and thanks for developing one of the best Army and Air Force ROTC programs in the nation," Austin said.

Speaking directly to the graduates, she assured them that they would become "the leaders and problem solvers of the future."

Austin said that, as the recipient of an honorary degree and a mom, she put together a list of the top ten lessons she's learned. Drawing cheers and applause from the graduates, she said the list is short enough to Tweet:

10. Get a Job

9. Commit to your education - commit to continuous learning

8. Listen twice as much as you talk

7. Maintain a work/life balance; work is not the meaning of life

6. Vote!

5. Make peace, not war-- seek win-win solutions

4. Do what you love-- find your passion and your voice

3. Think globally

2. Give back more than you receive

1. Get a job! Have a plan to become self-sustaining

Calling Clarkson graduates to contribute to the arts and sciences, to mathematics, physics and research, Mark Sarkisian urged them to join forces and find sustainable solutions as if they were "...a collective of common elements, that is far more powerful and beautiful -- when working together than when each member works independently."

As an example of this collaboration, he cited "...migratory birds flying in formation cycling leaders throughout their journey, people building and interacting in cities, and you and your professors striving toward the advancement of understanding together."

"This leads to efficiency in design and also creates a symbiotic relationship between structure, architecture and buildings systems," said Sarkisian.

Sarkisian called this "emergence" "the path to achievement and accomplishments that will ultimately shape your contribution."