Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board
James J. Murphy, Jr., ChairDavid V. Bottar, Executive Director  

Rhea Eckel Clark Citizenship Award

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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.

Robert J. Daino CNY RPDB's 2016 Rhea Eckel Clark Citizenship Award Recipient

Robert Daino (center) receives the CNY RPDB's Rhea Eckel Clark Citizenship Award from Board Chairwoman Kathleen A. Rapp and Executive Director David V. Bottar at the Board's 2016 Annual Meeting
Robert Daino (center) receives the CNY RPDB's Rhea Eckel Clark Citizenship Award from Board Chairwoman Kathleen A. Rapp and Executive Director David V. Bottar at the Board's 2016 Annual Meeting

Robert J. Daino was named the recipient of the 30th annual Rhea Eckel Clark Citizenship Award at the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board's annual meeting held on October 28, 2016.

In 2005, Robert J. Daino took on a new challenge of becoming the President and CEO of Central New York's public broadcasting company, WCNY Public Media.  Since assuming this responsibility, Mr. Daino has spearheaded a journey of reinvention of WCNY as a 21st century company with programming that is inspiring, educating, and entertaining for young and old in Central New York. Today, WCNY has expanded the organization's viewership and engagement with broadcast signals reaching 19 counties and 1.8 million viewers in Central New York and parts of Canada, along with a worldwide member audience through web streaming.

As part of this commitment to excellence, Mr. Daino spearheaded efforts at WCNY to establish a partnership with OCM-BOCES and Onondaga Community College to launch an innovative co-curriculum program for high school students in Central New York. In addition, during his tenure, WCNY opened an Education Center as part of the company's new facility that hosts a unique model for experiential learning called the Enterprise America program.

Mr. Daino also created the vision and shaped the effort that launched Centralcast, a groundbreaking model for public broadcasting and the first collaboration of its kind within the PBS system. Perhaps most noteworthy has been Mr. Daino's leadership and drive to move the company's headquarters to Syracuse's Near Westside, helping to anchor the rebirth of a neighborhood with a remarkable restoration of a vacant building into a state-of-the-art facility featuring the only LEED Platinum certified broadcast center in the world.

Mr. Daino has served as chairman of the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York, is President of the Syracuse Symphoria Board of Directors, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Near Westside Initiative. Mr. Daino is also the recipient of numerous awards including the Near Westside Initiative Groundbreakers Award and the Temple Adath Yeshurun Citizen of the Year Award.

Past Recipients

2015 Kathryn Howe Ruscitto
2014 Barbara S. Rivette
2013 Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., PhD.
2012 Walter John Tennant, Jr. (posthumously), Chairman, CNY RPDB
2010 Louis Pettinelli, CNY RPDB Board member
2009 Mary Ann Messinger, CNY RPDB Board member
2008 Ferdinand L. Picardi, Chairman, Metropolitan Water Board, Onondaga County Water District
2007 David R. Elleman, CNY RPDB Board member, Onondaga County Comptroller (retired)
2006 Eugene G. Saloga, Director, City of Oswego Community Development (retired)
2005 John Zawadzki, President, Partners Trust Bank; Central Upstate Regional Alliance
2004 James T. Walsh, U.S. Congressman
2003 Robert Doucette, Armory Development & Management
2002 Chuckie Holstein, FOCUS Greater Syracuse
2001 Ralph Standbrook, Chairman, Cayuga County Legislature
2000 Robert H. Kuiper, Mayor, Village of Hamilton
1999 John H. Mulroy (posthumously), former Onondaga County Executive
1998 Ann Petrus, Chair, Cayuga County Water & Sewer Authority; Supervisor, Town of Brutus
1997 Bruce B. Phelps, Oswego County businessman
1996 Arthur W. Ospelt, Oswego County Administrator
1994 Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative; CEO, Nation Enterprises
1993 Tarky Lombardi, Jr., former New York State Senator
1992 Vijay Mital, Director, Department of Planning and Economic Development, City of Auburn; Team Snyder General
1991 Marilyn Higgins-Rohde, Senior Vice President, Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce
1990 Robert J. Congel, President, Pyramid Companies
1989 Warren H. Frank, Executive Director, CNYRTA
1988 Mayor Tom Young’s Advertising Advisory Council
1987 Francis P. Benton, Former CNY RPDB Chairman
1986 L. Steve Riford, NYS Senator
1985 Hollis Iselin, Chair, Oswego County Legislature
Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board, 100 Clinton Square, Suite 200,  126 North Salina St., Syracuse, NY  13202
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