University at Albany - State University of New York


President Hitchcock’s Remarks

Friday, 10/25/2002 – 11:00 AM - In Front of the Arts and Sciences Building

"Good Morning! And welcome to each and every one of you! This is an absolutely wonderful occasion; onePresident Karen R. Hitchcock that we have looked forward to since 1999. This morning we celebrate the first major rehabilitation of a building on the University at Albany’ Academic Podium. More than that, today marks the opening of what is really the first new academic building on the Academic Podium in 35 years! The last President who got to do this was Evan Collins!

This Arts and Sciences Building is one of the direct results of the University’s Master Plan, published in 1999 after major input from faculty who spoke so credibly to the need for more academic space on the Academic Podium. The Master Plan identified what was then the Administration Building as the most . . . expedient . . . structure on the Podium to rehab into very high quality research and teaching space.

Well . . . let me put it this way . . . when it becomes necessary to gut the Administration Building, move the Administration to another part of the campus, and turn the whole works into an academic building, as University President I can only say that the Arts and Sciences faculty must be doing just about everything right.

Standing here at the great entrance to the perimeter of the academic podium, we are reminded that the arts and sciences stand at the core of a great university, as they indeed serve as the great well-spring of knowledge and inspiration for all human activity. The Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume began to capture their centrality in his argument about "human industry" and "the attainment of happiness." For these ends, he argued, "… were arts invented, sciences cultivated, laws ordained, and societies modeled…"

So it is with the arts and sciences as they are practiced here at the University at Albany, especially through the programs that are now housed in this wonderful, state-of-the-art facility, the Arts and Sciences Building. The faculty and students working here are engaged in discovery and learning involving some of the most important questions and issues of the day in anthropology, sociology, and geography and planning. Their findings challenge and push the boundaries of knowledge in their disciplines, deepen our understanding of human life and culture, and inspire possibilities and vision for the future. We trust that the work emanating from this place will help to transform our institutions, our physical fabric, and our public policies and values, in ways that will make a better world for future generations everywhere.

Of course, this kind of professional commitment and creativity is found throughout the disciplines and programs that comprise the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Albany, dedication and inventiveness that deserves to be encouraged and nurtured. Today’s celebration is only the most recent example of our longer term plans to provide appropriate research and learning environments for the arts and sciences at the University, indeed for all of our academic programs. Just a few days ago, we celebrated the opening of the spectacular Boor Sculpture Studio. We see rising on the east and west ends of the uptown campus new facilities in which to pursue the life and materials sciences. Beginning with today’s event, we look forward in the years ahead to many more such celebrations of the transformation of buildings on all three of the University’s campuses, into facilities that will support our collective effort, as the U.S. poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson has said: "to realize all that we know; in the high refinement of modern life, in arts, in sciences, in books, in men, to exact good faith, reality, and a purpose; and first, last, midst, and without end, to honor every truth by use."

There are many who need to be thanked for their efforts in creating this magnificent building.

First . . . certainly . . . are the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences whose ever-expanding scholarship made this building so . . . necessary. The growth of your work has been so dramatic that clearly . . . something . . . had to be done to provide you and your colleagues with more high-quality space. This building provides 57,000 square feet of obviously prime location academic space to the departments I mentioned a moment ago and, of course, has opened up an enormous amount of academic space occupied previously by these departments in other buildings occupied by the College.

I also must acknowledge Mr. Don DelManzo, the University’s Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management who, alas, is today in Japan on an enormously well-earned vacation. I ask, however, that you join me in recognizing and applauding two other members of the Office of Facilities Management without whom this Building simply would not have been completed. They are Mr. Randy Olocki, the University’s Senior Architect, and Ms. Trisha Meyers, who was in charge of ordering and purchasing all of the furnishings within this building. Randy and Trisha, will you please stand and accept our deepest thanks.

And we are also honored with the presence of two of the partners of Clement and Halsband, the architectural firm that designed the interior of this wonderful building; Ms. Frances Halsband and Mr. Michael Nee em΄ ih nin and Mr. Jason Forney. Frances, Michael and Jason, will you please stand and accept our applause and our thanks?

Today we are not just celebrating a new Arts and Sciences Building, but we are also introducing a new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dean Joan Wick-Pelletier. I will be saying much more about Dean Wick-Pelletier at the luncheon that follows this ceremony, in the Ballroom of the Campus Center. For now, let me say simply that Dean Wick-Pelletier was recruited to the University at Albany from York University in Toronto, Ontario, where she served as Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, and Chair of the Faculty Senate. Simply put, we were absolutely delighted to be able to recruit her to this absolutely critical position. Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my very great pleasure to introduce to you the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University at Albany, Dr. Joan Wick-Pelletier.

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