Commencement Speaker and
Honorary Degree Recipient

Paul D. Tonko

Paul D. Tonko

Congressman Paul D. Tonko is a sixth-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York’s 20th Congressional District in the Capital Region, including the cities of Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs, and his hometown of Amsterdam.

Throughout his career, he has been a champion for the working class, advancing policies that create jobs, provide economic opportunity, and ensure senior citizens can retire with dignity.

Tonko is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and was elected by his peers to serve as chair of the Subcommittee on the Environment and Climate Change, where he oversees a wide range of issues, including clean drinking water, regulation of toxic substances, and national climate action. In addition, he was appointed to join the Committee on Natural Resources and to continue his service on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, where he has been a longtime advocate for scientific integrity and public research.

In addition to his committee duties, Tonko co-chairs the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. He is also a longtime honorary vice chair of the Alliance to Save Energy, a bipartisan, nonprofit coalition that promotes energy efficiency across all sectors of the global economy.

Prior to serving in Congress, Tonko was the president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Before that, he served in the New York State Assembly for 25 years, 15 of which he was chair of the Committee on Energy. At the age of 26, he was the youngest person in the history of Montgomery County to be elected to the county’s Board of Supervisors, which he chaired until 1981.

Tonko graduated from Clarkson University with a degree in mechanical and industrial engineering and is a former engineer for the New York State Public Service Commission. He is a lifelong resident of Amsterdam, New York.