Dr. Toby Cosgrove honored at Clarkson Commencement Saturday

Published: May. 14, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - Dr. Toby Cosgrove is a Watertown native, Vietnam vet, renowned heart surgeon, and now an honorary Clarkson Graduate.

“First of all I’m thrilled with the honor. As I said earlier, I’m not sure I deserve it, but I’m thrilled to have it anyhow,” said Cosgrove.

In front of friends, family, and nearly 800 other graduates, Cosgrove walked across the stage Saturday afternoon. For Cosgrove however, there was an unexpected guest in attendance.

“Dr. Cosgrove did open heart surgery on me 25 years ago, on April 29th 1997,” said special guest Diana Caswell.

Caswell says it has always been a goal of hers to be able to meet the man who held her heart in his hands.

“I’m overwhelmed with everything that’s happening today. It’s nothing that I expected to happen, and it was just amazing to meet him,” said Caswell.

“You know it’s a very personal thing to hold someone’s heart in your hand. To see that you get a great result out of that is the result that you look for. So the emotions are thrilled and satisfaction,” said Cosgrov.

The impact of Cosgrove’s legacy could be felt throughout the Clarkson campus and faculty.

“It shows respect for the kind of things that he’s done. The impact that he’s had in healthcare, and in medicine. Also, I think it lines up with some of the goals of the university in being a world class university,” said Lenn Johns, Founding Dean of the Lewis School of Health Sciences.

It’s high praise that Cosgrove says can be attributed to his time growing up in the North Country.

“You are not limited in any way in coming from here. In fact, I think it has taught you endurance and that’s probably, perseverance is one of the most important things that you have, and you should go out into the world and not feel secondary to anybody,” said Cosgrove.

A message for both the 2022 grads and the rest of the North Country.

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