Monday, February 27, 2012

A Clarkson campus next door to a fierce rival???

Cool! But why?

That was my initial response and surprise 9 months ago when I learned that Clarkson was looking to acquire the Beacon Institute on the Hudson River in Troy, NY.  To be honest, when President Tony Collins and Chairman Tom Holliday broke the news of their exploratory conversations with the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, I wasn’t exactly sure it would happen. Afterall, acquire is a “corporate” word. Universities don’t acquire.

But that’s the difference with Clarkson the past 8 years: the Universities’ leadership thinks BIG. They look for opportunities to further academic excellence, elevate research and innovation, and develop world-ready talent. They seize opportunities to transform Clarkson from a good “engineering school” to a highly regarded university that offers a collaborative approach. 

And those were the objectives Clarkson had in mind when making the Beacon Institute a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clarkson. The Beacon Institute is a not-for-profit environmental research organization engaging scientists, engineers, educators and policy experts in collaborative work focusing on real-time monitoring of river ecosystems. Through this acquisition, Clarkson will now have access to state-of-the-art river monitoring, a presence in the Hudson Valley, and more real world application for student studies. And to support these goals, Clarkson will be building a brand new live data center in the downtown Potsdam campus.

If you missed this exciting press release, read it here

I had the privilege of sitting with John Cronin, Founding Director of the Beacon Institute at the Clarkson Board meetings in San Francisco this week, and I can truly say, this is an incredibly exciting time for Clarkson with so much opportunity ahead. Both John and Tim Sugrue, Dean of Clarkson’s School of Business and now also CEO of Beacon Institute, have incredible ideas and plans (unfortunately still confidential, but I will give the inside scoop as soon as I'm allowed :)) to make Clarkson and New York State a global center for scientific and technological innovation regarding rivers and estuaries. 

I will share one plan hot off the press!
Tim and John have launched a summer program on the new river campus for July 2012 ( where students can earn 9 credits in just 4 weeks studying in ecology, engineering, and policy with a 5 day hands-on experience on the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater! (

To learn how you can be a part of this success, visit:


  1. Thanks for the updates...this may be my new favorite blog. I like hearing more about what is happening, but also the relevance of it. Too often we take what Clarkson does for granted and think that it is the norm...but they are doing so much more than their peer institutions. It's a very exciting time to be a part of the Clarkson community!

  2. Glad to hear, Bill! It really is amazing how the university is transforming into more than a traditional college. That's the reason I wanted to share this deeper understanding and perspective. Clarkson alum should be very proud!