Local News

February 25, 2014

Matching gift boosts Paul Smith's College campaign

PAUL SMITHS — A $500,000 matching gift challenges others to contribute to a $1 million campaign to endow a position for an internationally recognized climate expert at Paul Smith’s College.

The college aims to establish the first endowed chair in lake ecology and paleocology, with professor of natural science Curt Stager as the first recipient.

Caroline Lussi, a 1960 graduate and a former college trustee, will contribute up to $500,000 in matching funds, which means the college must raise the same amount.

More than $250,000 has been contributed so far, a press release from the college said, with both Paul Smith’s College and the Adirondack Foundation accepting donations.


Lussi’s family owns and operates several businesses in Lake Placid, including the Crowne Plaza Resort, Lake Placid Club and Lake Placid Marina. 

They also co-own the Hampton Inn & Suites in Lake Placid with business partner Phil Saunders.

After spending several years as a competitive downhill ski racer, Lussi returned to Lake Placid as a young woman to pursue an education close to home and chose Paul Smith’s College.

“The faculty there pushed me like crazy to do more,” she said in the release. “I’ve always appreciated the professors because they helped me improve my thought process.

“Dr. Stager is an absolute treasure,” she added. “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, she said, will let Stager’s work continue without the necessity of grant funding. 

“The more the endowment grows, the more he can do with his students and his research,” she said. 

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