Northern Community Leaders and St. Lawrence County Public Health Department Honored by Clarkson University with Bertrand H. Snell Awards for Community Service

Clarkson University’s highest honor in community service, the Bertrand H. Snell Award, was presented to the St. Lawrence County Department of Public Health, its former directors and interim directors, and four community leaders during the a reception in their honor hosted by Clarkson President Tony Collins and university administrators. October 15, 2021.

Established by the Clarkson University Board of Trustees in 1981, the award recognizes the service of Congressman Bertrand H. Snell (1870-1958) to the community, to Clarkson and to the nation. The Bertrand H. Snell Award ensures the remembrance of the patron of Clarkson while recognizing a new generation of leaders who share his commitment to the greater University community. Recipients of the award are chosen for their professional, business or educational accomplishments, combined with demonstrated integrity and concern for the community.

This year’s recipients were Garry F. Douglas, longtime President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce; Kate Fish, retired executive director of the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA); Betty Little, former New York State Senator; Ellen Rocco, longtime station manager for North Country Public Radio (NCPR); and the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department, including former director Dana McGuire and interim director Jolene Munger.

“The 2021 winners exemplify the principles upon which the Bertrand H. Snell Award for Community Service was founded, ”said Tony Collins, President of Clarkson University. “Everyone has devoted themselves selflessly improve the lives of residents of the North while achieving professional success in their fields. The impact of their steadfast and caring leadership will be felt for generations. “

Under Douglas’ leadership since 1992, the House has grown into the largest business and economic development organization in upstate New York. and one of the five largest chambers in the state. He is a recognized leader in Quebec-New York relations, infrastructure development, the attraction of foreign direct investment and the defense of the region in Washington, Albany and elsewhere. Douglas was vice president of the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation for nine years. Prior to his return to the North Country in 1992, Douglas served for 14 years as executive assistant to US Representative Gerald Solomon from New York.

Fish’s unwavering optimism and energy, coupled with a contagious vision for the future, has enabled ANCA to be seen as a leading organization that sought to strengthen and identify new opportunities in the region. . Prior to his recent retirement, Fish was recognized as a leader who has led the NAFC to become an innovative and responsive organization that produces tangible results for every area the organization has focused on. She joined the organization in 2010 and quickly identified renewable energy as a critical avenue for developing more resilient local economies. In addition to building a professional and efficient organization, she has helped attract millions of dollars of investment to the region. NAFC’s clean energy program and the Center for Businesses in Transition – developed under Fish’s leadership – have become models for other rural areas.

Rocco has had an indelible impact on local, state and national public radio. She started as Director of Development at NCPR (then known as WSLU) in 1980 and was promoted to Station Director in 1985. During her nearly 35-year tenure in this position, the station grew from serving only St. Lawrence County to one-third of New York State through a network of over 30 transmitters. Twice finalist, Rocco’s “The north of the country at work” project won the Current’s Local that Works competition. The station is regularly recognized as a leader in public journalism and digital innovation. She has been active in the community and with many professional affiliations. Rocco has served on the board of directors of National Public Radio and the board of directors of the New York Council for the Humanities. She has served on advisory committees for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, its local school board, and various local arts and economic boards and committees.

Senator Little represented the residents of the 45th Senate District for nine terms. Before winning the first election to the State Senate in November 2002, she served in the New York State Assembly for seven years. A former teacher and real estate agent, Little first entered the public service as a member and then chairman of the Queensbury Town Recreation Commission. In 1986, she was elected General Supervisor of the Warren County Board of Supervisors for the Town of Queensbury. At the state level, Little has been the leading minority member on the Senate Education Committee. She has also served on key committees for cultural affairs, tourism, parks and recreation; Environmental Protection; Finance; Health; Housing, construction and community development; New York City Education; and Rules. During her tenure, she sponsored several successful amendments to the New York State Constitution to help the residents, economy, and environment in the Adirondacks.

The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department, McGuire and Munger have been recognized, in part, for leading the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the leadership of then-director McGuire and Munger, the current Acting Deputy Director, the Department of Public Health has helped guide residents across the country through unprecedented times while delivering on the department’s commitment. to its 17 other programs, including rabies and influenza clinics, early intervention referrals and other communicable disease investigations. The Department has been involved in almost every phase of the pandemic response, including coordinating efforts across hospitals, emergency services, schools and colleges.

Congressman Snell, the man named for the award, was born in 1870 in Colton, New York. A successful entrepreneur, political leader and philanthropist, Snell founded the Raquette River Paper Company in Potsdam, NY, and the Snell Power Company in Higley Falls, NY. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1914 and served for 23 years Snell served on the Clarkson board for 47 years, 25 of which as chairman of the board. He generously supported Clarkson throughout his life and his family continues to graciously support the university with their resources and energies. To find out more about the award or past winners, click here: https://www.clarkson.edu/snellaward


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