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$1.8 million gift to fund Clarkson projects

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POTSDAM — The legacy of a Clarkson University graduate will continue in energy-efficient lighting across the campus and a facility for its newest athletic program.

A $1.8 million gift from the estate of Thomas G. and Sarajean Scott will help build a women’s softball field and install energy-efficient light bulbs operated by motion sensors at the university.

Richard W. Johnson, vice president of philanthropy and alumni relations, said it was the third largest gift received by the university to date.

“It is the largest estate gift ever received from an alumnus,” he said. “Gifts of this magnitude don’t happen often and, when they do, it is a wonderful thing.”

Mr. Scott was a 1960 mechanical engineering graduate of the university who went on to work for what is now Northrop Grumman, Mr. Johnson said.

“He and his wife set up a trust, apparently,” Mr. Johnson said. “She was a nurse during her career. They lived in Maryland. We stayed in touch over the years but we didn’t know a lot about them.”

Though Mr. Scott and his wife were regular donors to the university, the bequest was unexpected.

“It was a complete surprise,” he said. “It was a remarkable gift.”

Clarkson is in the middle of a fundraising campaign started in October 2011 named “Evolution to Excellence.” So far, it has raised $208 million toward its $228 million goal, Mr. Johnson said.

“Of that, we’ve had about 20 percent of the overall campaign come in commitments of what we would call deferred or planned gifts,” he said. “That includes estates and bequests and life-income gifts.”

Of the Scotts’ donation, $1 million will partially fund the installation of new, energy-efficient bulbs in more than 60,000 interior lighting fixtures throughout the campus, said Ian D. Hazen, the university’s director of facilities and services.

“The project has a net cost of about $2.4 million,” he said. “We’ve been working through National Grid and we’re going to get about $500,000 in rebates. It will be a $1.9 million project.”

The money will also implement a student-generated plan to install motion sensors on interior lighting, generating thousands of dollars in savings.

“It is almost $500,000 per year in electric savings,” Mr. Hazen said.

The project, which started this year in Clarkson’s Center for Advance Materials Processing, is expected to be complete at the end of 2013.

A plaque will be dedicated to the Scotts at the Institute for a Sustainable Environment’s offices to recognize their assistance with the effort.

The remainder, around $800,000, will help build Scott Field, a women’s softball facility along the Clarkson entrance road and Route 11 on the campus’s western side, Mr. Hazen said.

“The varsity soccer field would push to the south and that would leave enough room between that field and Robar’s Rentals,” he said. “This softball field will sit between the soccer field and the fence line we share with Robar’s.”

Mr. Hazen said the university was in the preliminary stages of planning the field.

In lieu of outfield seats, a berm may be constructed between the softball and soccer fields to create a pedestrian connection to the rest of the campus, Mr. Hazen said.

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