About the University Council
The members of the Council are prominent citizens, often from the Capital Region and the New York City Metropolitan area. Their backgrounds are diverse with careers in business and education, government and non-profit organizations and various professions. The Council Chairs have been notable civic leaders including, for example, a former Mayor of Albany (Thomas Whalen), a former Judge (John Holt-Harris), and a founder of one of Albany’s older law firms (J. Vanderbilt Straub).
At Albany, the Council holds regular meetings four to six times during the academic year, and occasionally holds a special meeting if necessary to conduct its business. In addition to the council members attending the meetings, the campus President and Vice Presidents are invited to attend, as are representatives from the alumni, faculty and graduate student body. The alumni representative is selected by the Alumni Association Board of Directors for a multi-year term. The faculty representative is the Chair-elect of the campus University Senate, and serves a one-year term. The graduate student representative is selected by the graduate students' assembly.
In addition to the formal meetings of the Council, the President and Council Chair speak and meet frequently throughout the year on issues, incidents, reports, and other matters which may be related to the responsibilities of the Council. Council members are invited to the University's numerous cultural, educational, athletics, and social campus events and are active participants in official ceremonies and programs such as graduation, special convocations, etc.
Presidential Search Committee
One of the most important responsibilities of the Council is its role in the selection of the campus President. In 1990, 1995, 2003 and again in 2006, the Council invoked its powers to recommend candidates for the Presidency. It formed a search committee of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community representatives. The search process involved other campus, alumni, and community leaders in the interviewing of candidates and eventually led to the recommendation of a campus President.
While the duties of the Council are prescribed by law, the President has encouraged members to be actively engaged in campus activities and has fostered their personal affiliation with the institution. The members are contributors to the University's fund-raising efforts and leaders of our advancement and development initiatives in addition to their roles as Council members. The President meets informally throughout the year with individual Council members to maintain a free flow of information and views on topics affecting the campus. Members have served as advocates for the University through their contacts with the Governor, legislators, and community leaders. The Council at Albany has been an important and effective body working on behalf of the University and its future.