"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

~ Winston Churchill


January 2011



Issue 1



Dear ${.vars["personalizedtags__first"]},

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Alumni Volunteer Council (AVC) newsletter! I've had the pleasure of leading this group of over 2,000 volunteers for almost two years now and am so proud of all the great work that our volunteers have done for the University at Albany and the community at large.

The AVC is a relatively new organization, formally established in 2009, but has long-standing roots in the University community. For decades, the Alumni Association kept in contact with many graduates through its Council of Classes, a group of alumni volunteers who devoted their time and energy to keeping in touch with fellow classmates, planning reunion activities and attending regular meetings. Since the alumni base has grown and changed in recent years, the Council of Classes recognized the need to reach out not only to classes, but to other affinity/constituent groups such as athletics, Greek and regional groups and clubs. And so the Council of Classes was expanded to include all volunteers and volunteer groups. A new organization, the Alumni Volunteer Council, was then formed.

The goal of the AVC is to be a resource for alumni – whether individuals or groups – who want to volunteer. The organization meets in the spring and fall, when volunteers are recognized, volunteer opportunities are presented and updates on University progress and developments are provided. I welcome you to join the AVC in any capacity you wish, whether to attend our meetings, encourage members of your group to join or simply to search our database of volunteer opportunities and to lend a hand. For more information please visit our Web site at www.albany.edu/alumni/volunteeropportunities.php. You'll be glad you did!

Jill Rigney-Delaney '96
Chair, Alumni Volunteer Council


Homecoming Volunteers 2009

Alumni and student volunteers assist with registration
during the Homecoming 5K Run



When: Saturday, Feb. 5
Where: UAlbany, Uptown Campus, University Gym
We Need: Greeters, Puppy Pound
(Kid Zone) Attendants, Registration, T-shirt Distributors
For details: Visit the BPG Web page now


When: Monday, Feb. 7
Where: Liberty Café, Concourse Level
Empire State Plaza
We Need: UAlbany Advocates
Pre-register now to volunteer

(Classes of ’01, ’86, ’71, ’61, ’51)
When: Fall 2011
Where: UAlbany Uptown/Downtown Campus
and Off-site
We Need: Reunion Committee Members

  Jacquelyn Mann Gavryck    

Jacquelyn Mann Gavryck
B.A.'51, M.A.’54, M.L.S.'67

Since her graduation in 1951, Jacquelyn Gavryck – “Jackie” to nearly all who know her – has given of her time and talent to UAlbany and the Alumni Association. For 22 years, she served as a librarian, mentoring thousands of students in their learning and research projects. Jackie has been councilor for the Class of 1951 for over 36 years. She chaired the Council of Classes in 1970 and again in 1997. She also was a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1972-75 and 1997-99. For her many years of service and commitment to the University, Jackie was awarded the Excellence in Alumni Service Award in 2001. She continues to be an active volunteer and is in the process of planning her 60th reunion this year.

What motivated you to become a volunteer?

Sixty-four years ago, when my class entered college the world was a very different place just recovering from the chaos of World War II. Some of my classmates had served in the military and were very serious and very focused about their education. They became our natural leaders. The college itself was a different school in a different place than today. NYSCT (New York State College for Teachers) on the present downtown campus, was a teacher's college, so all students had some of the same experiences in common. In addition to major and minor classes, education courses were required for graduation, as was student teaching. There were about 350 people in each graduating class. We knew one another, if only to greet in the hall, and we were expected to participate in extracurricular activities where we met other classmates and formed friendships. We joined clubs and sororities and fraternities. We were grateful to be there, in a tuition-free college!

We had pride in our school. In national competitions, we often beat nationally known colleges in subject matter knowledge. We were the only New York State teacher's college preparing secondary school teachers and the only one to grant a BA or BS without the "in Education" tag. Most of us were the first in our families to attend college. Many of us had parents who hadn't even graduated high school. And our basketball team beat Siena, and we weren't even in a conference. We were enthusiastic!

That pride, gratitude and enthusiasm spilled over into our alumni activities. We felt we owed our college loyalty and support, not only financially, but giving back of our time and talents.

How has the volunteer experience impacted you? What do you like most about it? What was your best experience?

Volunteer service can begin in many ways, for example, from social ties. My sorority had an annual luncheon. A friend asked me to help send out the invitations, and I was hooked. To this day some of us still hold these events.

Common intellectual interests can also draw one to become a volunteer. Several friends from my Theatre courses were rounding up a group to help raise money to buy a portrait of Miss Agnes Futterer, our retiring drama professor. The Theatre Alumni Association became very successful. By the time we disbanded, we had donated the portrait to the college, and had given generous seed money to the new Theatre Department to entice noted stage greats to teach a semester at Albany.

How long have you volunteered and in what capacity?

I have been in the councilor position for more than 35 years, planning activities and reunions with some of the finest and most congenial people in the world – a great blessing! My class councilor needed help. Since she lived in Texas and I in Albany, I offered to attend a council meeting for her and that was the beginning of my class councilor years.

Loyalty is a powerful hook. Once you feel you are serving your class, your school, your institution and are working closely with some wonderful people who have become cherished friends, you wouldn't think of giving up being a volunteer as it brings its own rewards.

Why do you think it's important to give back to the Alumni Association and the University?

Regardless of the 60 years since my graduation and the changes those years have brought, I believe today's graduates can enjoy the same sense of satisfaction that brought me to the Alumni Association and to the University as a volunteer: renewing friendships, keeping connected with faculty in major programs and helping promote the University at Albany.


Loida R. Vera Cruz
Assistant Director of Alumni Programs

Why are volunteers important?

Volunteers are integral to every organization. Through volunteering, our alumni strengthen their ties to the Alumni Association and to the University, expand their social and professional networks, contribute to a shared purpose and provide a valuable service. Our events, like class reunions, have been successful due to the diligent efforts of our alumni volunteers, particularly the class councilors, who for many years have organized and planned reunions. We have been deeply enriched by relationships developed with our alumni volunteers and the significant work they have done for our University and our office.

How many events do you host each year that
require volunteers?

I coordinate Homecoming, class reunions and the Big Purple Growl and Ferocious Feast, all of which require volunteers. This fall, volunteers signed up online for various Homecoming-related events, and we had a number of volunteers assist us during the tailgate and the 5K Run. There were seven reunions held and again, we had the help of some of our seasoned volunteers.

Can you share an experience with us of a volunteer who has stood out in your mind?

There are so many volunteers who have provided considerable service to the Alumni Association, but I know of two who I have worked with for some years now. They are a husband and wife team and both are class councilors. Joe and Joyce Zanchelli of the Class of 1949 and 1952, respectively, have been a tremendous source of inspiration for me because of their boundless energy, great enthusiasm and strong connection to their classes. Both had very successful reunions in the last two years because of the time and resources they devoted to the reunions. I was moved by the friendships, camaraderie and joy that their reunions generated so I was motivated to organize my own high school reunion.

What makes a good volunteer?

To me, a good volunteer is one who is committed, passionate about the cause, enthusiastic, flexible and recognizes that he or she has the potential to make a significant difference to the organization – someone who also possess the skills, expertise and the experience, who can be an effective mentor or a guest speaker – whatever the need may be. And most of all, it is someone with a positive attitude, willing to learn and to have fun!

Top 5 Reasons to Volunteer

It allows you to give back to UAlbany and to make UA stronger.

It keeps you connected with fellow alumni and the community and helps you to meet new people.

It helps you acquire new skills and experience.

It fits a busy schedule.

It just feels good and is plain fun.

Cystal Gunsch and Don Putterman

UAlbany junior Crystal Gunsch and volunteer board member
Don Putterman '52, '53 help out at the DANEger Zone Party.


Thank you for your continued support of the University at Albany and the Alumni Association.
We are so grateful for our volunteers and look forward to a successful 2011!


Stay Connected. Make UAlbany Stronger

University at Albany Alumni Association · 1400 Washington Ave. · Albany, NY 12222 · Phone (518) 442-3080