UAlbany Welcomes Class of 2011
By Greta Petry (August 28, 2007)
Bill and Ellen Kelly of South Kingston, R.I., had to move fast. As they stood outside State Quad on freshman Moving-In Day, Aug. 24, their son Billy's number was suddenly called. They grabbed the heavily laden cart piled high with pillows, books, and lamps, and headed into the dorm building.
"Billy is an Eagle Scout," said his dad, smiling as he pushed the cart. "He has to be prepared for everything. He has everything he needs and then some."
Billy, who is interested in business, is the first in his family to leave for college.
Faculty, University staff, and staff from the nearby Turf Hotels helped carry suitcases, computers, and TVs, while students in purple UAlbany T-shirts with the school's Great Dane mascot painted on their faces danced and cheered welcomes to the incoming students. Officer in Charge Susan Herbst greeted parents and students and told the crowd, "It takes a community to move in students." She introduced Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings (Class of '76), and Turf Hotels Vice President Brian Straughter, who presented a donation of $10,000 to UAlbany to help support the University's Honors College and Educational Opportunity Program.
It was a day of mixed emotions for proud parents sending off their sons and daughters for the first time. Priscilla Egwim of Laurelton, N.Y., stood against a big suitcase as her husband Ezekiel unloaded the car with her son Eric. Priscilla said, "The house is going to be empty. I have only him. I will miss him so much. But you have to get your education." Eric, who said he is premed, enrolled at UAlbany with nine other students from St. Francis Preparatory School.
Parents seemed to take the good-byes harder than their offspring. Catrina Belleau had left Binghamton, N.Y., with her daughter Ariffa England at 6:40 a.m. "I'm scared and nervous," said Ariffa's mom, who still has a 16-year-old son at home. But her daughter, interested in biology and medicine, appeared to be the picture of confidence.
Patricia Leverone of Wantagh, N.Y., said she and her husband Michael were dropping off "our one and only, Joseph." A "UAlbany Dad" sticker decorated a back window of their van.
Joseph had seen seven or eight different colleges, and even had a deposit down on a college in Pennsylvania. Then he visited UAlbany, and liked it so much he decided to come to study criminal justice.
"I've been saying to him all week I'll miss you," his mom said.
The scene was full of parents and hugs and students looking for the right residence hall, and siblings shedding a tear.
Three freshmen stood in front of State Quad without their families. Yenan Gu, raised near Shanghai; Bowen Liu, raised near Beijing; and Shiwen Zhang, from Shenyang, also near Beijing, had flown alone from China to Albany to begin their university education.
"I have never left home before," said Yenan, who is interested in economics. She added, "It's really cool here."
Bowen, who wants to study accounting, said his parents found the tuition reasonable and felt he would be safe here, living in the capital of New York State.
Shiwen Zhang, who plans to study business administration, said she chose UAlbany because "it fits me well. I like the scenery." She concluded, "I want to see the world in my 20s. I like to travel."