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05-13-2007

Clarkson University Awards Bertrand H. Snell Award to State Senator James Wright

[A photograph of Senator Wright receiving the Bertrand H. Snell Award is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/snell2007.jpg]

Collins praised Wright for his service to the North Country, its workers and the industries which power the economy, including higher education. "Senator Wright has protected and expanded the legacy of Congressman Snell, who was among the first to develop hydroelectric power in the region and is responsible for the legislation that created the FDR - St. Lawrence River Project near Massena. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that much of that power remains in this area to fuel jobs and grow the economy," remarked Collins.

"In recognition of the significant potential for job-creating enteSnell Award 2007rprises based on the commercialization of high technology research at Clarkson, Senator Wright has supported generous allocations of lower cost, State Power for Jobs electricity," added Collins. "He has also been instrumental in supporting substantial State grant and loan financing support for the installation of high efficiency heating systems in many of our residence halls and the Cora and Bayard Clarkson Science Center building."

Bertrand H. Snell (1870 - 1958), entrepreneur, U.S. Congressman and generous benefactor to Clarkson University, left an enduring legacy to the North Country. He played a significant role in the region's major industries: forest products, agriculture, energy and higher education (He was a Clarkson trustee for 47 years and chairman of the University's Board of Trustees for 25 years.).

An award honoring Congressman Snell's service to the community, Clarkson and the nation was created by the University's Board of Trustees in 1981. The Bertrand H. Snell Award assures the remembrance of Clarkson's patron while it recognizes and honors a new generation of North Country leaders. Recipients of the award are chosen for their professional, business or educational accomplishments, combined with demonstrated integrity and concern for the community. The award has only been given out nine times previously.

"It is especially fitting that Senator Wright is receiving the Bertrand H. Snell Award," remarked Collins. "His accomplishments as a state senator, and earlier as the chief executive officer of Oswego County and later Jefferson County, are very worthy of respect, but so to is the way he did it. He demonstrates traits of distinguished public sector leadership that were also hallmarks of the Snell years in Congress (1915 - 1939). The Senator is an exemplar of responsive, responsible and respected government.

Accepting the award, Senator Wright expressed his appreciation to the University, saying, "I thank Clarkson University and President Tony Collins for this award. It is an honor to receive such a distinction, and I am humbled to be so recognized, considering the accomplishments of previous honorees. Congressman Snell's commitment to Clarkson and to improving the economy in the North Country continues to be an example of unconditional service to us all. As a state senator, I look to emulate his legacy as I serve the people of Central and Northern New York in public office.

Throughout his 15 years of service to the state of New York, Senator Wright has been a leading advocate for improving the state's business climate. He has worked to improve economic development throughout the state by sponsoring legislation to extend the Empire Zone program. He has accomplished this by working for laws which cuts taxes and red tape for New York's small business community.

In 2004, the Business Council of New York State, the state's leading business organization, released its first ever legislative "report card" ranking state legislators on a "Vote for Jobs Index." Senator Wright achieved the highest score among the state's legislators, earning the grade of "A." He received this distinction again in 2005 and 2006.

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, Senator Wright led the fight to reduce energy taxes and was on the conference committee that created Power for Jobs. He is also an advocate for the use of alternative energy by extending net metering laws to include wind and methane digester, which will be a significant help to New York's farm families.

After graduating from the State University of New York at Oswego in 1971, Wright attended the Maxwell School of Public Administration at Syracuse University. He was selected for participation in the Local Government Public Administration Internship, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives, and the United States Army War College, National Security Seminar. He was honored in SUNY Oswego with the Lifetime Award of Merit and in 2006 with the Presidential Medal of Honor. Senator Wright also received the Jefferson Citation from Jefferson Community College in 2002.

PHOTO CAPTION: New York State Senator James W. Wright (C) was awarded Clarkson University's highest community service award, the Bertrand H. Snell Award, by Clarkson University President Tony Collins (R) and University Board of Trustees Chair Everett G. Foster (L). The award recognizes individuals of outstanding merit and honors the memory of Bertrand Snell, an industrialist, congressman and Clarkson benefactor.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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