Rhea Eckel Clark Citizenship Award
The Rhea Eckel Clark Citizenship Award was established in 1985 in memory of Rhea Eckel Clark, one of the founders of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board. Mrs. Clark distinguished herself throughout her career by working to improve the quality of life in Central New York while addressing issues of regional significance such as education, health care, community revitalization, environmental protection, and social justice.
Mrs. Clark spent three terms as chairperson of the CNY RPDB from 1967-1969. During this period she helped to direct the agency through its formative stages and initiated work on a range of comprehensive planning issues confronting the Central New York community.
In addition to her work with the CNY RPDB, Mrs. Clark was president of Cazenovia College from April 1957 to March 1971. She was also named director of the American Management Association for a three-year period beginning in 1968. Upon retiring from her presidency of Cazenovia College, Mrs. Clark headed Governor Rockefeller's State Commission of the Aging.
Before coming to Cazenovia College, Mrs. Clark spent eight years with the New York University School of Education as assistant to the dean and consultant for community education and development. Previously, Mrs. Clark was executive secretary for New York State Citizens Council, Inc., and in 1949, she served in Germany as a visiting consultant to the U.S. Army of Occupation Program. During her lifetime, Mrs. Clark received a number of honors including the 14th Colgate Civics Awards presented to area men and women "who have exemplified, by their own generous service, the principle of democracy in action." Mrs. Rhea Eckel was married to Dr. Wesley C. Clark, who served as dean of the Syracuse University School of Journalism for more than 20 years.
The recipient of this award must:
- Provide strong regional leadership;
- Help implement programs that have improved the quality of life in CNY; and
- Support efforts that foster intergovernmental cooperation and civic participation.
James J. Murphy, Jr. CNY RPDB's 2019 Rhea Eckel Clark Citizenship Award Recipient
James J. Murphy, Jr. (right) with the CNY RPDB's Executive Director David V. Bottar
James J. Murphy was named the recipient of the 33rd annual Rhea Eckel Clark Citizenship Award at the Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board’s annual meeting held on November 1, 2019.
Mr. Murphy is a lifelong resident of upstate New York and grew up in Buffalo. He enlisted in the US Air Force and served eight years at Niagara Falls Air Base. In 1966, Mr. Murphy started a 36-year career with Niagara Mohawk as a lineman and was Union Steward of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. In 1972, he relocated to the town of Virgil in Cortland County and became a member of the first fire department in the town.
During his 24 years as a member of the Virgil Town Board, he encouraged residential and commercial development, including Hope Lake Park and the Indoor Water Park at Greek Peak Mountain Resort. He was also a member of Cortland County Business Development Corporation and a long-time member of the Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board, with his last two years as Board Chair. Mr. Murphy curently serves on the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District Board.
||James J. Murphy, Jr., CNY RPDB Chairman|
||Lawrence J. Baker,
CNY RPDB Board member|
||Rhea Jezer, Director and Chair, Symposium on Energy in the 21st Century; President, Energy21 LTD |
||Robert J. Daino, President and CEO, WCNY|
||Kathryn Howe Ruscitto, President and CEO, St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center|
||Barbara S. Rivette, Historian, Town and Village of Manlius and Village of Fayetteville|
||Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., PhD., President, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
||Walter John Tennant, Jr.
(posthumously), Chairman, CNY RPDB
||Louis Pettinelli, CNY RPDB Board member
||Mary Ann Messinger, CNY RPDB Board member
|| Ferdinand L. Picardi, Chairman, Metropolitan Water Board, Onondaga County Water District
|| David R. Elleman, CNY RPDB Board member, Onondaga County Comptroller (retired)
|| Eugene G. Saloga, Director, City of Oswego Community Development (retired)
||John Zawadzki, President, Partners Trust Bank; Central Upstate Regional Alliance |
|| James T. Walsh, U.S. Congressman
|| Robert Doucette, Armory Development & Management
|| Chuckie Holstein, FOCUS Greater Syracuse
|| Ralph Standbrook, Chairman, Cayuga County Legislature
|| Robert H. Kuiper, Mayor, Village of Hamilton
|| John H. Mulroy (posthumously), former Onondaga County Executive
|| Ann Petrus, Chair, Cayuga County Water & Sewer Authority; Supervisor, Town of Brutus
|| Bruce B. Phelps, Oswego County businessman
|| Arthur W. Ospelt, Oswego County Administrator
|| Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative; CEO, Nation Enterprises
|| Tarky Lombardi, Jr., former New York State Senator
|| Vijay Mital, Director, Department of Planning and Economic Development, City of Auburn; Team Snyder General
|| Marilyn Higgins-Rohde, Senior Vice President, Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce
|| Robert J. Congel, President, Pyramid Companies
||Warren H. Frank, Executive Director, CNYRTA
||Mayor Tom Young’s
||Francis P. Benton, former CNY RPDB Chairman
||L. Steve Riford, NYS Senator
||Hollis Iselin, Chair, Oswego County Legislature