ALBANY, N.Y. (December 11, 2007) -- The University at Albany has established The Gerald D. Jennings Class of '76 Scholarship Fund to benefit deserving students from the City of Albany. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on financial need and academic achievement. The scholarship was announced on Saturday evening at a gala honoring Jennings for his extraordinary leadership and public service.
"Education is the most valuable tool we can provide our young people," said Mayor Jennings, "and I'm pleased this scholarship will give them a head start toward a brighter future."
"Scholarship support plays a critical role in assuring that our young talent -- our future leaders -- have the means to obtain a UAlbany education," said Interim President George M. Philip. "It is my pleasure to honor Mayor Jennings' lifelong commitment to broadening opportunities for children with the establishment of this fund in his name."
The gala, themed "Great Man. Great City. Great University," recognized Jennings as recipient of UAlbany's highest and most distinguished honor, the Medallion of the University. The event was hosted by Capital News 9 anchor Brian Taffe and attracted 425 supporters and corporate sponsors. The fully endowed scholarship stands at $60,000.
After a welcome by Philip and a video tribute to Mayor Jennings, Alyssa Lotmore, an Albany native who attends UAlbany, spoke about how scholarships play a vital role in supporting students seeking to further their education.
"I was fortunate to be awarded a number of scholarships over the past few years, so the stress of finances was not something that I had to worry about anymore and I could focus more on my education," said Lotmore. "Scholarships are truly a blessing and provide opportunities for young people like myself to go to college and succeed in life."
At UAlbany's Winter Commencement on Sunday, Jennings received the Medallion in front of more than 1,000 graduates, their families and friends, as well as UAlbany administration faculty and staff.
Jennings, in his fourth term as the City of Albany's mayor, earned his master's degree in educational administration from the University in 1976. Through Jennings' steadfast leadership and commitment to his alma mater, the University has been able to partner on a wide range of initiatives with the City of Albany, including Operation Safe Corridor, UAlbany's downtown Student Housing and Revitalization Project at Alumni Quad, and the UAlbany Clean-Up Day of downtown neighborhoods. Jennings was also co-host of the New York State Summit on Preventing Student Alcohol Abuse.
In 1996, Jennings played a vital role in helping to bring the New York Giants Summer Training Camp to UAlbany. Next season the Giants will return UAlbany for the 13th consecutive summer, the longest tenure of any training camp location.