Clarkson University’s Alumni Association has awarded the Gordon C. “Stub” Baker ‘27 Service Citation to Peter Karekos ‘80, MBA ‘81 and Cesaera (Ce’) Pirrone. This award recognizes the special services of alumni and non-alumni who show exemplary service and commitment to Clarkson and the objectives of the Clarkson Alumni Association.
Peter M. Karekos ‘80, ‘81
Peter Karekos received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1980 and his Master of Business Administration in 1981. During his time at what was then the Clarkson College of Technology, he dedicated much of his free time as a Resident Advisor and Resident Director of Brooks House. He was always concerned with the safety of his classmates and valued the relationships he built with faculty and staff during his time on campus. Peter was also a fraternity brother of Tau Epsilon Phi (TEP). Following Peter’s lead, his two younger brothers, John ’81 and Tracey Karekos ’83, both decided to attend Clarkson.
In the late 1990s, Peter became President of Paramount Engineering Group in Boca Raton, Florida. To find hard-working and qualified employees for his quickly growing company, Peter called the Career Center to recruit Clarkson graduates. He hired several and helped them start their professional careers in civil engineering/surveying. He still maintains friendships with many of them, even though they have moved on to other opportunities, and encourages them to keep their connection to Clarkson.
In addition to sharing his time at Clarkson with his brothers, Peter’s two daughters, Jennifer ’14, MBA’15 and Katelyn ’16 attended Clarkson University. Shortly after Jennifer started at Clarkson, Peter volunteered to attend high school college fairs in southern Florida for the Clarkson Admissions Office, helping grow the Clarkson brand across the country. In addition, Peter and his wife, Emily, served on the Parents Committee, not only as members but also as chairs of the Parents Committee for a total of six years. Peter involved himself in the University as many ways as possible, always trying to find ways to give back. During his visits to campus, one would often find him speaking with students, visiting classes, or catching up with professors, maintenance, or Campus Safety to stay connected. After learning of the need for jackets for the Residence Life staff, Peter donated custom, matching jackets for the entire staff for several years.
After his daughters graduated, Peter helped Jennifer develop a Clarkson alumni chapter in southeastern Florida. Since the chapter’s inception, Peter has supported its activities by sponsoring the annual Hockey Telecast. Over the last four years, the size of the event has doubled from 20 to 40+ alumni/spouses. Peter and his brother, Tracey, also sponsored the 2018 Alumni Yacht Cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway in Delray Beach, Florida, with almost 60 alumni/guests in attendance. His daughters say he truly embodies and represents Clarkson University. He is often known for wearing his Clarkson hat everywhere with the hopes of engaging in a conversation about his alma mater and Clarkson family.
Cesaera (Ce’) Pirrone
Ce’ Pirrone has been affiliated with Clarkson University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program and the Capital Region-based graduate and professional programs for more than 10 years. Ce’ is a nationally board-certified teacher (NBCT) in a high-need school in Schenectady, where she recognizes the need to cultivate young teachers who are invested in their work as professional teachers and invested in the community.
Ce' has served Clarkson’s MAT students in many roles. She has hosted more than five graduate candidates for full-year residencies. This means she has worked with a candidate every day for an entire school year, aiding them in building the capacity and confidence they need to teach in a high-need district. As a mentor she receives no compensation; this is a volunteer position. Ce’ is one of our Teaching Lab instructors in the intensive summer program, and also co-facilitates a class which guides students through the rigorous certification portfolio process.
Ce' has also connected the MAT program with the city and school district in many ways. For example, she facilitated a poverty simulation for the learning community. This three-hour simulation demonstrates the needs and challenges faced by individuals in the community -- and addresses steps everyone can take to contribute to solutions.
Ce’ works intensively with a refugee network on a volunteer basis to help provide all that is needed to start a new life in our community. In collaboration with the local Cornell Cooperative Extension, she cultivates and distributes vegetable plants to help her students’ families and refugees become self-sustaining by beginning to garden and raise their own food. She also volunteers to distribute food to urban families year-round for assistance making ends meet.
She facilitates an annual book drive to put life-changing reading material into the hands of Schenectady’s children, and she does the same each year with vegetable seeds, showing urban kids the value of growing food. Both of these drives involve the Clarkson Education Department’s learning community.
Finally, after recognizing a need among graduate students, Ce' took it upon herself to have her chocolate Lab, Nina, trained as a registered service dog. Nina is now part of the 'faculty' and visits the MAT students weekly during the academic year and daily during the intensive summer program.
Associate Professor Catherine Snyder, chair of education and associate director of the Institute for STEM, nominated Ce’ for the award and says these are only a few ways that Ce’ has supported Clarkson and its students over the years.
About the Award
In February 1998, the Clarkson Alumni Association established the Gordon C. Baker ’27 Service Citation. The award is intended to recognize the importance of leadership and service by alumni to Clarkson’s regional alumni chapters.
The Chapter Service Citation has been named to memorialize Gordon C. “Stub” Baker, for his devotion to Clarkson and his contributions to the Alumni Association. An electrical engineering major and member of the Class of 1927, Stub passed away on April 11, 1988, leaving a legacy as one of Clarkson’s most dedicated and devoted alumni, a Clarkson ambassador extraordinaire. For 61 years, the Alumni Association Board of Governors relied on Stub’s leadership, involvement, and most importantly, his enthusiasm for everything connected with Clarkson. Clarkson events were not truly “alumni events” unless Stub, and his wife Dottie, were present. Stub had the rare ability to make his fellow alumni feel they had attended college together, regardless of their differences in age.
Stub was a long-standing member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors and served as president in 1948-49. He was always active in regional chapter activities, class reunions, and as a Clarkson Fund volunteer. He was an alumni advisor to many Clarkson presidents, recruited dozens of Clarkson students and student-athletes. He was a “fixture” on campus, often traveling from his home in Elma, New York to Potsdam to participate in various Clarkson activities. In recognition of his love for Clarkson, Stub was named as the first recipient of the prestigious Golden Knight Award in 1962. Stub was truly one of Clarkson’s foremost ambassadors. It is fitting that this award be named in his honor.