Supporting The Honors College

Funding for honors courses and the operation of The Honors College comes from the University at Albany, through the State University of New York, as appropriated by the New York State Legislature.  However, we cannot use this funding for many of our community-building activities (such as our 4.0 dinners, receptions for new honors parents, and our August orientation program) and other expenses that help to enhance the honors residence experiences (such as our reading garden).  For these, we rely on gifts from current honors families, alumni, and friends of The Honors College.

All gifts to The Honors College are made to the University at Albany Foundation.  Gifts can be received in several ways.  For additional information, please see the webpage for the UAlbany Fund. In addition, gifts can be sent directly to: Director of The Honors College, University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Lecture Center 31, Albany, NY 12222.

If it would be helpful, contact us for one of our gift envelopes (; 518-442-9067).


The Director's Fund

Gifts of any size can be made to The Director's Fund.  These gifts are combined to support our community-building activities each year.  For example, Professor Haugaard teaches the honors students how to make balloon animals during a study break just before finals, and we purchase the balloons with funds in the Director's Fund.   As another example, every now and again, Professor Haugaard wanders through the honors residence halls in the evening, chatting with students in the study lounges about their work and handing out Hershey Bars or Tootsie Roll Pops.  Balloons and Tootsie Roll Pops are not essential ingredients of the honors experience - but they do help to reinforce the friendliness and supportiveness that are key characteristics of the honors community.

Annual Gifts for Programs

One-time or annual gifts can be made to support specific community-building activities of The Honors College.  For more information on funding specific activities, please contact the Director (  Specific mention can be made of a family providing funding (e.g., the 4.0 dinners this semester are sponsored by the ______ family) or not, depending on the wishes of the donor. 

Examples of funding opportunities are:

4.0 Dinners: The Director invites all students receiving a 4.0 grade point average the previous semester to his apartment for dinner, in groups of 5 or 6.  Costs are for the food that the Director prepares for the dinners.  There are 10-14 dinners each semester.  Costs for the fall semester are $500 and for the spring semester are $650 (first-year students are eligible in the spring but not the fall).

4.0 Recognition: Students attending the 4.0 dinners receive a small gift acknowledging their accomplishment.  For example, in 2012/13 students at the fall 4.0 dinners received a flash drive with the honors logo and those at the spring dinners received an honors-college mug.  Students are pleased to have their academic success acknowledged (at one of last year's spring dinners, a senior who had maintained a 4.0 throughout his four years noted that he had been able to collect a whole set of honors mugs and that he had them displayed proudly in his apartment).  Costs are $350 in the fall and $250 in the spring (mugs cost less than flash drives).

Dessert Receptions: The Director invites all first-year honors students, by suites, to his apartment for dessert in September, to welcome them to The Honors College and begin to learn more about them.  Costs are $250.

Reception for New First-year Honors Students:  About 30 students are admitted to The Honors College each January, at the end of their first semester at UAlbany.  We have a reception for them so that they can begin to get to know the other honors students in their graduating class.  Costs are $175.

August Orientation: Incoming honors students move into the honors residence halls two days before most other students arrive on campus, and we have three days of orientation activities for them.  Most activities are led by POETs (Persons of Extraordinary Talent: juniors in The Honors College).  Some costs of the August Orientation are covered by state funds and University Auxiliary Services and the Department of Residential Life provide some funding.  Additional funding of about $600 is needed each year.

Enhancing the Honors Environment

Over the years, we have enhanced the residence halls where most honors freshmen and sophomores live as funds became available.  One-time gifts to The Honors College can be used to further enhance our honors environment.  For more information on enhancing the honors environment, including the possibility of walking through Melville and Steinmetz Halls to stimulate ideas, contact the Director (  Gifts from several donors could be combined to complete a particular project.

Many possibilities exist for enhancing our living space.  Examples are:

Honors Library: One of the study lounges in Steinmetz Hall could be made into an honors library.  Installing a carpet and adding bookshelves, desks, and comfortable chairs would create an environment supporting the scholarly work of the honors students.  The cost would be about $4,000.

Commuting-student Space: In 2013, we purchased some lockers for the basement of Melville Hall, for use by commuting honors students (honors students living at home with their families).  With additional funds we could enhance the basement area of Melville Hall to create an environment in which commuting students could study, connect with each other, and connect with honors students living in Melville and Steinmetz Halls.  The cost would be about $2,000.

Art: The best way to reduce the institutional look of the honors residence halls is with art on the walls.  Two or more pieces of art by a particular artists, or with a particular theme, could be displayed on walls in our study lounges and in the entryways to Melville and Steinmetz Halls.  Information about the artists, displayed next to their work, can help to educate the honors students.  A good, framed reproduction of one piece of art is about $300.

Steinmetz Squares: There are four "squares" in Steinmetz Hall - two on the second floor and two on the third floor.  Four suites open out onto each of these squares, and the first-year students use the squares for many evening and weekend activities.  Many first-year students feel a close affiliation with their square and the others living on their square.  Minimal furniture is available currently in each square.  Funds could be used to purchase high-quality sofas and tables that would last in a square for many years.  Approximate cost for one square is $3,500.

Contributing to the Losee Scholarship Fund

The Losee Scholarship provides funds to students in The Honors College for academic activities outside the classroom.  For example, students have received Losee Scholarships to gather data for their senior honors thesis, to present their research at an academic conference, and to study abroad.  All students in The Honors College can apply for a Losee Scholarship and can receive up to $1,000 during their time at UAlbany.  More information about the Losee Scholarship is available. 


Substantial gifts can create an endowment.  Endowments provide ongoing funding for specific scholarships, programs, and activities.  Information about establishing an endowment can be found on the UAlbany Fund webpage.  Those considering establishing an endowment within The Honors College are encouraged to contact the Director, Jeff Haugaard (