The man with the longest Presidential tenure since Albany achieved university status will receive the University's highest award for distinguished service - the Medallion of the University - at the graduate Commencement in the Recreation and Convocation Center on May 19.
Vincent O'Leary, whose 13-year tenure began when he left the faculty of the School of Criminal Justice to become Acting President in 1977, will join 12 others who have "demonstrated a profound commitment to the fundamental values of American society, and have valued excellence at every level of education." O'Leary was appointed President in 1978 and left in 1990 to rejoin the faculty.
"Vincent O'Leary has had a major impact on the history of the University at Albany," said President Hitchcock. "In 13 years as President, he skillfully guided this institution from a period of financial constraint to one of great academic growth, and he did so with consummate respect for all segments of the campus community - students, teachers, staff and administrators."
Among the achievements of the University during O'Leary's tenure were the re-institution of the General Education Program and the University Honors Program, a student body that grew in both academic qualification and minority representation, a four-fold increase in external research funding, the opening of the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy and the School of Public Health, and the development of eight doctoral and eight master's programs.
The University's first Capital Campaign (1988) and construction projects such as the Campus Center Extension, the Recreation and Convocation Center, and the new digital library began during his tenure. In addition, O'Leary was one of the leading designers and proponents of SUNY's Graduate Education and Research Initiative, which committed the state to graduate research funding in the late '80s and early '90s.
On May 17 O'Leary will also be a recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award for outstanding contributions from Rockefeller College, held at the College's Arthur E. Levitt Executive Seminar Room, Draper Hall 113.