ALBANY, N.Y. (November 8, 2011) – When Army veteran Sarah Blanchard stepped onto UAlbany's campus this fall as a transfer student from Hudson Valley Community College, the culture shift was apparent. Being a full-time college student was quite a contrast from serving as an intelligence analyst with the 411th Engineer Brigade in Iraq.
"I felt old in comparison to other students, but also as a veteran on campus, I just felt different," noted 32-year-old Blanchard, a junior majoring in Fine Arts and English. But there was one thing on campus that immediately helped ease her transition back to civilian life -- the group 'UAlbany Veterans.'
"It doesn't matter which campaign you were in, there's an instant camaraderie being around other veterans. You have that connection and it makes is a lot easier," said Blanchard, a Mechanicville, N.Y., native who served in the U.S. Army.
On November 11, the United States honors the service and dedication of our military personnel, past and present. As home to more than 200 student veterans and roughly 75 faculty and staff veterans, the University at Albany honors and supports the efforts of its service men and women in a variety of ways through UAlbany's Veterans Services.
"At UAlbany, every day is Veterans Day. Our programs are geared toward honoring and helping our veterans each and every day," said Joel Davis, Student Financial Center director and USAF, retired, "It's about being able to point them in the right direction and address their questions and concerns about financial aid or other issues."
UAlbany veterans' contributions are honored on campus with the UAlbany Alumni Association's Veterans Project. The project, which began in 1999, compiles a list of UAlbany individuals who have served their country during war or peace time to ensure that the sacrifices and achievements of these veterans were not forgotten.
Plans are also underway to help improve and expand veteran's benefits, including a dedicated veterans lounge, email for veteran students and families, a GI Certification Officer and a Veterans Education Team.
UAlbany is also hosting performances pertaining to our veterans. From November 10 to 19, UAlbany's Department of Theatre will present the Broadway hit Fifth of July. The show, directed by adjunct faculty member Marnie Andrews, will run for eleven performances in the Lab Theatre at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the uptown campus.
In addition, to focus on the reality of the world for returning veterans, the Department of Theatre is hosting an exhibit of works by Eugene Richards from his most recent book, War is Personal. The book documents the human consequences of the Iraq war. The exhibit will be located in the Futterer Lounge on the second floor of the Performing Arts Center.
Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 17,500 students. An internationally recognized research university with 50 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu/. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.
During the Civil War, more than 100 UAlbany students and alumni served as soldiers, including four on the Confederate side. In 1862 a group of faculty, students, and alumni from what was then known as the New York State Normal School became the core of a company called the 44th New York Volunteers, which participated in seventeen battles in the War, including Gettysburg.