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Clarkson’s Baltus presented with Agent of Change Award

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POTSDAM - At a recent branch social networking event, AAUW-St. Lawrence County honored Clarkson University’s Ruth Baltus with the prestigious Agent of Change Award.

Baltus, a 30-year resident of Potsdam, was nominated for the award by AAUW member and colleague Laura Ettinger, Associate Professor of History, Clarkson University.

An Agent of Change is a St. Lawrence County woman whose work as an employer, employee or volunteer is noteworthy in one or all of these three areas: her work has advanced the cause of women’s rights; her work exemplifies the importance of equity for women; her work has brought about significant change in the community.

In her presentation remarks, Ettinger said, “At Clarkson University, Ruth has led by example. She has a PhD in chemical engineering from Carnegie-Mellon and has been a faculty member at Clarkson since 1983.

“She is one of only seven women in the entire university to hold the rank of full professor. She was department chair from 2006-2012, and for much of that time, she was the only female department chair at the university. She has won many awards for her scholarship and her teaching, including the Distinguished Engineering Educator Award from the Society of Women Engineers.”

Baltus has “also done a tremendous amount of work to advance women’s standing and opportunities at the university. She served on the Gender Issues Committee since its founding. She was a long-time faculty advisor for the Clarkson University student section of the Society of Women Engineers,” Ettinger added.

“She helped to inspire Clarkson’s first Campus Climate Survey. Even more than that, she has mentored women faculty at Clarkson for years. Her mentoring has extended even to people whose fields are so different from her own—even to historians like me.”

In addition to Ettinger’s remarks, Ruth Baltis’ PhD advisor at Carnegie Mellon, Dr. John Anderson, also sent congratulations. Dr. Anderson, who is now the president of the Illinois Institute of Technology, said:

“Ruth, as an educator and mentor of young persons, you know the great feeling that one receives from seeing a former student do so well and become a leader in her own right. That is how I feel right now. You have had an impact on your colleagues and students throughout your career – you have made them better than sometimes they thought they could be. I am so proud of you. Congratulations on being honored as AAUW Woman of Change. The honor is richly deserved.”

Ettinger concluded, “More than anything, I admire Dr. Baltus for knowing who she is and for her desire to create both a career and a life based on her values, and I admire her for tirelessly attempting to improve the climate for women faculty, staff, and students at Clarkson University.”

After receiving her award, Baltus thanked AAUW and said she was honored to join the women who had previously received the Agent of Change award over the last four decades. Many she has known during her time in the North Country, and each has, over the course of their lives, been agents of change in small ways, every day, as well as in large ways. She challenged each of those in attendance to be similar change agents.

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