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University at Albany Receives $1.5M Gift to Support Entrepreneurship Track

Philanthropists J. Spencer and Patricia Standish Endow Professorship for the School of Business

School of Business students join Patricia and J. Spencer Standish and Dean Donald Siegel in front of business building room named in their honor. Left to right are Steven Gagliardo’15, Jameson Wells’14, Mrs. and Mr. Standish, Dean Siegel, Lauren Uraski’13,14, Najwa Zarook’13, and Nicholas Desimone’16. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 9, 2013) — University at Albany President Robert J. Jones today announced a $1.5 million gift from area philanthropists, J. Spencer and Patricia Standish, to endow a professorship in the University’s School of Business. The endowment will propel the entrepreneurship track in the nationally-ranked School of Business and attract renowned scholar-teachers in the emerging field.

The Standish Professorship will leverage three new tenure-track faculty positions in entrepreneurship that UAlbany will gain through Governor Cuomo's NYSUNY 2020 challenge grant. These include two tenure-track professors specializing in social entrepreneurship and a tenure-track professor for life sciences entrepreneurship. It will also enhance Governor Cuomo’s Start-Up NY initiative, since additional entrepreneurship courses will lead to the creation of more student-run companies and make the University more attractive to entrepreneurs from outside the region wishing to co-locate on or near campus.

“We expect The Standish Professorship in Entrepreneurship to have a significant impact not only on the School of Business, but the entire University and the Capital Region,” said Jones.

School of Business Dean Donald Siegel agreed noting that the Standish Professorship’s impact will transcend the School of Business. “Across the University there are many students, including non-business students, with entrepreneurial vision and spirit,” said Siegel. “We want all of these students to benefit from the Standish Professor’s expertise and inspiration, while it also enhances the School’s numerous entrepreneurship initiatives in the Capital Region and beyond.”

Siegel said the Standish Professor will help counsel UAlbany’s chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA), which serves middle and high school students, as well as assist the award-winning Small Enterprise for Economic Development (SEED) Program, a joint social entrepreneurship program with the School of Social Welfare providing entrepreneurial training, character-based loans, and support to local entrepreneurs. The Standish Professor will also help prepare students for the $500,000 New York State Student Business Plan Competition, which the School of Business organizes annually with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and Syracuse University.

Spencer Standish, chairman emeritus of Albany International Corporation, and Pat Standish, a retired college lecturer, have an extensive history of support for UAlbany and other educational institutions. “We are excited about the impact that the Professorship will have not only on the School of Business but also on other schools at the University and in the Capital Region,” said Spencer Standish.

Pat Standish added, “We are pleased that our gift adds to the School of Business’s momentum and capitalizes on the potential of the School’s spectacular new building.”

George R. Hearst III, Spencer Standish’s successor as President of the University at Albany Foundation, applauded the Standishes’ generosity. “I have long admired Spencer and Pat for their thoughtful philanthropy,” he said. “Their splendid gift will make a profound difference to the University and will inspire the entire UAlbany family.”

The Standishes’ gift comes at a pivotal time for UAlbany’s School of Business. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the School of Business 86th in the nation—the School’s first-ever top 100 ranking in U.S News—and rated its MBA program number one in the country for job placement. Princeton Review recently ranked the School of Business No. 2 in the U.S. for providing opportunities for women.

UAlbany recently opened the doors of its new $64 million School of Business building designed to provide students with a state-of-the-art learning environment. Next fall, the School of Business will launch a new undergraduate program in digital forensics—the first of its kind in New York and only the third such program in the nation. This program harnesses the strengths of the School of Business and five other UAlbany colleges to prepare students for careers in information security in all sectors of the economy, including health care, government, financial services and private industry.

To learn more about supporting UAlbany, please visit the University Giving Page or The Robert and Lynn Hassan Jones Presidential Inauguration Scholarship Fund.

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