President Tony Collins is ending nearly 20 years as the President of Clarkson University. Over the years he and his wife Karen have been big supporters of the Army ROTC program and we want to highlight just a few of our interactions with him.
President Collins has an annual tradition known as switch day. Students have the opportunity to enter a raffle for the opportunity to switch places with him for a day. The student would fulfil the role of president, and President Collins would spend the day attending the students classes. In 2014 the raffle winner was a freshman Army ROTC Cadet. President Collin attended Army ROTC lab and PT the following morning and had the opportunity to live the Cadet life for a day.
The September 11th recognition each fall has special meaning at Clarkson. 4 Alumni lost their lives that day in the towers, and numerous alumni served in various ways in the subsequent years. Each year President Collins reminds us of the loss and the continued sacrifice of those who served in the aftermath of that day. He has also occasionally participated in the memorial run the ROTC programs hold that morning and shown his support.
Wounded Warrior Runs
In 2015 Clarkson hosted the Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventure run at Clarkson’s seven springs ski hill for the first time. President Collins accompanied the first wave of the race, made up of Army ROTC Cadets. He and the Cadets negotiated the obstacle course, which included a giant slip and slide down the ski hill. He joined the Cadets again the following year to lead the way through the grueling course.
Over his time at Clarkson as President he presided over a spring commissioning ceremony each spring and occasionally in the winter. Over 200 Clarkson Cadets became Second Lieutenants in that time. During the commissioning ceremony President Collins’ remarks were always meaningful and he always managed to remind us that we are a little noisy in the mornings.
Many of the Golden Knight Battalion alumni over the last 20 years were deployed for the Global War on Terror. The Golden Knight Battalion started a tradition of sending packages, especially over the holidays to deployed alumni and friends of the Battalion. President Collins would always find time to lend a hand. He joined us a number of times over the years to help load boxes and bring attention to the fund raising effort that made these boxes possible.
The success of an Army ROTC program often depends of the support of their host school. That support is often derived by the support of the campus leadership, starting with the President. At Clarkson, the Golden Knight Battalion has been a successful, high performing program in large part due to the support of President and Mrs. Collins. We are forever grateful.