Don Napier '84
A Tale of Two Gifts
It was a little, it was a lot.
“It was at the end of my junior year,” said Don Napier ’84, “and I received a monetary award. I still remember the name; it was the Greg Arnold ’73 Memorial Award. Looking back, I remember thinking of the Arnold family and what it must have meant to them in remembering Greg by helping another Clarkson student; it made a big impact on me. Receiving a named award personalized the fact that individuals made gifts to help students, and that made a lasting impression.”
It was far away, it was close.
Don is originally from Camillus, a suburb of Syracuse, NY. As his college search narrowed, he compared Clarkson and Notre Dame. He liked Clarkson’s size and the opportunity to study both business and engineering. “Clarkson was far away, yet it was still close enough to home,” remembers Don, “and besides, I could indulge in my favorite sport, hockey.” At Clarkson, Don participated in intramural sports, became an RA and RD, served as the president of Phalanx, headed the phonathon, and volunteered as a “Clarkson Ambassador” to prospective students.
Don graduated in 1984 with a degree in Marketing Management and took a position with Arthur Andersen in New York City. He returned to Clarkson and earned his Master’s degree in Industrial Management in 1987 before eventually moving to Boston for a position with Ernst & Whinney (Ernst & Young). At Ernst & Whinney he combined his expertise in management and technology to work on health care projects. Setting his career path in the health care industry, he ultimately returned to Syracuse in 1989 to join fellow Clarkson graduate Bob Pomfrey ’77 at POMCO, one of the nation's largest third-party benefits administrators for self-funded health insurance plans. Don now serves as Senior Executive Vice-president in charge of the business development, mergers and acquisitions, and sales and account management activities. “Clarkson gave me the education, in and out of the classroom, to be successful,” says Don, “and it was more than that; I developed a relationship with my alma mater, it’s part of my family.” Don returns often to visit campus and enjoy Clarkson hockey games, and he most recently became a member of the Alumni Council.
There’s plenty of time, do it now.
“The Arnold Award helped me when I needed it. I can’t pay it back, but I can pay it forward,” says Don, “our estate gift will go to Clarkson later, but it’s important to us to plan it now.” In addition to their loyal annual gifts to The Clarkson Fund at the Roundtable level, and support of other campus projects, Don and wife Linda recently created a bequest to Clarkson through their wills. After taking care of their children, a percentage of the estate will come to Clarkson for unrestricted use. In addition, their bequest will count in the fundraising for Don’s 30th reunion in 2014 and also in the Evolution to Excellence fundraising campaign. “The structure and details of our bequest may change over time, but our desire to help future generations access an education will never change,” says Don.
They’re not related, they’re my family.
“Life is full of dichotomies.” says Don, “By connecting them we can draw meaning to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. The Arnolds are part of the Clarkson family and so am I. They made gifts to Clarkson that helped me. Now it’s my turn to plan my gift to help future generations of my Clarkson family.”
The Gregory P. Arnold Memorial Award was created by family and friends in memory of Greg Arnold, class of 1973, who died in an auto accident in his senior year. The annual award continues today, recognizing a rising senior majoring in Global Supply Chain Management who demonstrates excellence in the classroom and participation in extracurricular activities. Greg was a second-generation Clarkson student. His father, Robert Arnold, graduated in 1949, and his brother, James Arnold, is a 1975 graduate.
The Napier family (l-r), Linda, Don, Morgan and Alyssa. Linda is Director of Fayetteville-Manlius Community Outreach, a food pantry that also offers emergency financial assistance.
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