A $1 million campaign to endow a position for an internationally recognized climate expert at Paul Smith’s College has been staked with a major matching gift according to an announcement made by the college Monday.
Caroline Lussi, a 1960 graduate of Paul Smith’s and a former college trustee, has offered a matching challenge of up to $500,000 to establish the college’s first Endowed Chair in Lake Ecology and Paleocology. The first recipient will be Curt Stager, a press release said.
Lussi has pledged $500,000 if the college can raise an additional $500,000. More than $250,000 has been contributed so far officials of the college said. Both Paul Smith’s College and the Adirondack Foundation are accepting donations.
Lussi’s family owns and operates several businesses in Lake Placid, including the Crowne Plaza Resort, the Lake Placid Club and Lake Placid Marina. The family also co-owns the Hampton Inn & Suites in Lake Placid with business partner Phil Saunders.
“Dr. Stager is an absolute treasure,” Lussi said in a statement to the press. “Other universities have tried to recruit him, but he loves the Adirondacks and Paul Smith’s College. He’s the type of professor who asks for more from his students. When it came time for me to give back, I wanted to do something to make the college even better. An endowed chair will allow Dr. Stager’s work to continue regardless of whether grant money is available. The more the endowment grows, the more he can do with his students and his research. Paul Smith’s College should be recognized as having a leading role when it comes to water quality issues and the environment. We have an excellent professor right here in our backyard.”
Stager, a professor of natural science, has taught at Paul Smith’s since 1987. “The 3,000 lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park are not only a key part of the history of the North Country – they also preserve much of that history, as well,” Stager said in a press release. “This rich archive, dating back centuries to millennia, is written not in paper and ink but in layers of fossil-rich mud on the lake floors. As a faculty member at Paul Smith’s for more than 25 years, I’ve been fortunate to be able to use sediment coring techniques with my students and with colleagues from all over North America to study what such lakes may have to teach us.”
Stager’s research on ancient climate patterns has helped inform the discussion of what direction modern climate change may take. His 2011 book on the subject, Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth, received international attention. His voice can be heard every Thursday morning on North Country Public Radio’s “Natural Selections.”
For information on how to give, contact Cali Brooks, executive director of Adirondack Foundation, at (518) 523-9904, or Ray Agnew, vice president for college advancement at Paul Smith’s College, at (518) 327-6317.