J. Ronald Frazer ’45, Centennial Professor in the School of Business and “Father” of Clarkson Women's Hockey, passed away September 6, 2011. Four days later, a memorial service celebrating his life was held at Clarkson.
A 1945 Clarkson mechanical engineering graduate, Frazer skated at forward on the Clarkson men’s ice hockey teams during 1942-43 and 1943-44 seasons under coach Jack Roos, recording 23 goals and 10 assists through 15 games. After graduating from Clarkson, the Ottawa, Ontario, native went on to Iowa State for his Ph.D. in industrial engineering and economics.
Frazer exerted a profound and unequaled impact in shaping the character and mission of management education at Clarkson. He served as a professor, chairman and dean from 1953 until his first retirement in 1988. Connecting business courses to the “real world,” Frazer pioneered more effective teaching and learning strategies through his innovative development of simulation games. As well, he was the original architect of Clarkson’s M.S. in manufacturing program, which further advanced the competitive market stature of what is today the School of Business.
A creative scholar, he authored two books on business simulation games, along with a text on applied linear programming. In addition, during his more than 35 years of service before taking emeritus faculty status, he infused the climate of business education at Clarkson with a legacy of vitality, unfailing good humor, and an uncanny ability to generate camaraderie among students and colleagues.
A 2004 Clarkson Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee, Frazer made a profound impact on Clarkson’s hockey tradition as the “Father” of Women’s Hockey. Frazer, along with his wife, Doris, played a highly significant role in establishing the foundation for the Golden Knights’ current Division I women’s hockey team.
With women’s sports emerging at the collegiate level in the mid-1970s, Frazer started Clarkson’s original intercollegiate women’s hockey program with nothing but true “walk-ons.” Drawing from the 184 women undergraduates on campus, Frazer gathered 17 student-athletes for Clarkson’s first women’s team in the winter of 1974. The Knights won their first game with an impressive 7-0 victory over Potsdam. Clarkson, which also posted wins over Colgate and Boston University during that inaugural season, finished with a 5-2 record in the 1974-75 campaign.
During his nine-year tenure guiding “Frazer’s Blazers,” the Green and Gold compiled a 68-64-3 record, but more importantly provided Clarkson student-athletes with plenty of sportsmanship, camaraderie and lasting memories. The Knights’ best season was in 1977-78 when the team finished with nine consecutive wins to post an 11-5 mark.
On July 17, 1993, Frazer was presented with Clarkson’s Arnold H. Barben Award. The award is given to a Clarkson hockey alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement, has contributed to the betterment of his community and has worked unselfishly for his alma mater. In 1990, he was named a Golden Knight, the Clarkson Alumni Association’s highest honor.
Frazer married his high school sweetheart, Doris C. Frazer, on August 28, 1948, and they celebrated their 63rd anniversary a week before his death. He is survived by Doris, their five children and 13 grandchildren.