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Tom Sherby '56

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Trust Gift Will Fund Faculty Chair
Fall 1999

"I want to be proud of whatever I do and do it to the best of my ability. Then I can lead by my example." One of the most important lessons Tom Sherby ’56 learned at Clarkson was drawn from the University's motto, "A Workman That Needeth Not To Be Ashamed." Tom led by example during a career that took him around the world and spanned more than 40 years. More recently he led by example in another way by creating a charitable remainder trust that will ultimately create an endowed faculty chair at Clarkson.

A native of Kenmore, New York, near Buffalo, Tom first learned of Clarkson through his love of hockey. A visit to Potsdam clinched his decision to attend school here. "The culture and values of a small town where everyone knew you offered the perfect choice," says Tom. "Having classmates in a family atmosphere was very important to me." Tom played hockey for four years at Clarkson and was part of the undefeated season in 1956, when the team went 23-0. In addition to the lessons learned on the ice, his academic studies prepared him well for the realities of life. "Clarkson gave me a broad education in the fundamentals of science. We were given the basic intellectual tools that encouraged us to grasp and use new ideas. These tools allowed us to become leaders in any profession we chose."

As retirement neared, Tom considered different leadership opportunities. He decided to take advantage of what he describes as a "powerful and flexible estate planning tool," a charitable remainder trust, to accomplish several new goals. Tom wanted to give something back to his alma mater to help future students and at the same time honor his mother and father with a faculty chair at the University.

"Once I had structured my gift, I needed to ensure that it would ultimately be used to accomplish my other goal," says Tom, "so I worked with Clarkson to plan the position and its place within the University. After all, you really haven't completed your gift until you tell the charity."