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Partch honored with Plastino Distinguished Service Award

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POTSDAM - When Northern New York businesses need scientific solutions to real-world problems, they turn to Clarkson University Senior Chemistry Professor Richard Partch.

Partch recently received the Thomas H. Plastino Distinguished Service Award from the Council for International Trade, Technology, Education and Communication (CITEC) in Potsdam.

CITEC is a non-profit economic development organization that works to improve manufacturing techniques and win grants for Northern New York businesses. Partch has long served as a liaison for CITEC, by either directly offering his expertise to businesses, or putting businesses across St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties in touch with other Clarkson experts.

“He likes to work with companies and help them solve problems,” CITEC Executive Director William Murray said. “Certainly, he also likes to teach, do research … and publish, but he somehow manages to combine these with a deep and serious interest in solving real-world problems. He also understands that companies’ urgent problems usually can’t be scheduled to fit into the academic calendar.”

Partch said he was humbled to receive the award and has always enjoyed putting chemistry to use in practical ways, whether in the classroom or with local businesses. He also enjoyed boosting Clarkson’s presence in the local business community.

“In order to get the next generation of students to be compatible with real-world industry, the best way for them to get used to how that flows is to have a connection to a real-world project,” he said. “If you know the fundamentals of science, but don’t have some experience of how they’re applied, then the fundamentals are wasted.”

Partch has worked as a Clarkson professor since 1965. Plastino was CITEC’s executive director from 1992 to 2010.

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