The family of the late Elmer Gates ’50 has now endowed two professorships to embody and elevate Clarkson University's leadership in entrepreneurship and innovation across the University.
During this month's naming celebration of Clarkson's David D. Reh School of Business, Gates' daughter, Patti Gates-Smith, announced a gift for an additional professorship in honor of her father as further acknowledgment of the mutual vision Gates and Reh ’62 shared in supporting a boundary-spanning culture.
The new "Elmer Gates ’50 Professor of Innovative Business Culture" was established in recognition, appreciation, and honor of Gates by his family. It will join the "Tony Collins Professor of Innovative Engineering Culture," which was established by Gates before his death in 2015, in recognizing the legacy and spirit of Gates.
"We are grateful to Elmer's family for this generous gift, which will complement the first professorship created by Elmer, enabling us to continue creating new cultures of excellence, as Elmer did throughout his life," said Clarkson President Tony Collins in acknowledging the gift. "The spirit of upstate New York and the Adirondacks will live on in these professorships as we remember Elmer and his motto, 'Never accept the status quo. Challenge everything. And Defy Convention.' ”
Reh School of Business Dean Dayle Smith has been named the first Elmer Gates ’50 Professor of Innovative Business Culture. Smith has been dean since 2013 and was previously a professor of management at the University of San Francisco's McLaren School of Business. She held a number of leadership roles during her 20-year tenure at the institution, including director of the Business Honors Program. She has taught throughout Southeast Asia and Europe working with executives, MBAs and undergraduates in a number of diverse programs. Smith has authored more than 25 books and numerous articles.
Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering Dean William Jemison has been named the first Tony Collins Professor of Innovative Engineering Culture. Jemison joined Clarkson in 2010 as chair of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and was named Clarkson’s vice provost for research in 2012, continuing to serve as ECE chair. In 2015, he was named dean of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering. He has authored many technical publications, holds several U.S. patents, has served as a consultant to industry, and has given invited presentations in the U.S. and around the globe. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Prior to joining Clarkson, Jemison had 25 years of combined government, industry, and academic experience at the Naval Air Warfare Center, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Orbit/FR and Lafayette College.
Elmer Gates embodied the innovative energy, which will be fostered in these two professorships. He began his “turnaround business” approach with a rewarding and successful career at General Electric that ended in 1982. From a position as the CEO of the Fuller Company in 1986, which he sold in 1990, to mentoring startups and CEOs, Gates believed in and lived by the dynamic attributes he supported at Clarkson.
Gates authored a book, U-Turn Leadership, chronicling his experiences. A standout alumnus, he was a recipient of Clarkson's Golden Knight Award in 2010 and was inducted into Clarkson’s Alumni Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame in 2011. Gates passed away in December 2015.