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Clarkson Trustee And Retired Corning V.P. Charles "Skip" Deneka Awarded Honorary Degree
[A photo for media use is available at http://clarkson.edu/news/photos/deneka1.jpg.]
Clarkson University Trustee Charles W. "Skip" Deneka of Dundee, N.Y., received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University's 110th Commencement on Sunday, May 11. Deneka is a retired Corning Incorporated executive vice president and chief technology officer.
The degree was awarded "for his visionary leadership and accomplishment as a ceramic engineer in science, technology and business, and for his wise and enthusiastic guidance and service as a trustee and supporter of Clarkson University."
In addressing the graduates, Deneka compared their life ahead to a series of mountains and valleys, saying, "These mountaintop experiences are the times when you should think about what the next challenge is — the time to choose new goals and directions, when you're feeling successful and safe. Move out of the zone of comfort and get ready to [climb] another mountain."
Deneka joined Corning Incorporated in 1972 where he held manufacturing, engineering, and development positions in several divisions until 1979. Then he joined the Telecommunications Products Division of Corning as project manager responsible for the start up of the Wilmington, N.C., fiber optics plant. In 1981, he became a portfolio manager in the Research and Development Division and was appointed director of Optical Fiber Technology in 1982.
In 1987, he became director of New Business Development, responsible for Corning's specialty optical fiber and passive components new business. In 1990 he was appointed senior vice president and director of Development responsible for Corning's corporate-wide development activities. He was appointed senior vice president of Science and Technology in January 1995 and became executive vice president and chief technology officer in January 2000. Dr. Deneka retired from Corning in January 2001.
In 2002 Deneka was awarded the Medal of the Industrial Research Institute "for being a true visionary and risk taker, understanding Corning's key markets, and pushing to bring new technologies and rapid generational shifts in Corning's businesses."
Deneka has held and holds directorships in several commercial and civic organizations. These include the boards of directors of Corning, SA, Rochester Photonics Corporation, IntelliSense Corporation, First Congregational UCC of Corning, the Salvation Army, and Watson Homestead Conference and Retreat Center.
Deneka's son Tom and his son's wife Mary are both 1997 graduates of Clarkson in biology and chemical engineering, respectively. The Deneka family has provided ongoing support to Clarkson, including significant funding for the University's fitness center and for scholarships.