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A Gift for Preeminence

Alan Lizotte, renowned researcher, 32-year faculty member and former dean of Criminal Justice, has joined with his wife Lisa Jackson to benefit the school's future a year before its 50th anniversary. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 23, 2017) — UAlbany has the top school of criminal justice in the world, said its former dean, and he and his wife want to help ensure it holds onto that eminence.

Alan Lizotte, named a SUNY Distinguished Professor in 2016, and Lisa Jackson, former news director and station manager at WRGB CBS6-TV, have pledged $100,000 to the School of Criminal Justice and earmarked it toward doctoral and postdoctoral training and research.

"The vision behind the gift is to help recruit the very best graduate and postdoctoral students in the country,” said Lizotte, who has been on the Criminal Justice faculty for 32 years. “They are the ones that are going to go out and show just how good our School is in research and training.”

Lizotte says he is not putting strict guidelines on how the school, led by Dean William Alex Pridemore, spends the money. “I want to give the dean a lot of flexibility, he said. “The key is to go after quality students based upon their interest in doing research. Lisa and I hope that this gift will help to recruit them and get them through the program.”

“This is a tremendous gift from a former dean and current faculty member,” said Dean Pridemore. “For more than 30 years, Alan has been a key figure in our program, and his and Lisa’s support reflects their love for the school and their faith in its future.”

As longtime members of the Capital Region community, Lizotte and Jackson say the gift also reflects their appreciation for the impact that research conducted at the school has locally. “The school has leadership in researching the reasons why people become involved in the criminal justice system,” said Lizotte, “and we believe this has critical importance for our community.”

Lizotte, who served as dean from 2010-15, has conducted groundbreaking research focusing on guns and gun control and the correlation and causes of juvenile delinquency. He is co-principal investigator on the Rochester Youth Development Study, the largest juvenile justice study ever conducted, following three generations 1,000 families. It has been federally funded for 32 years, and currently has ongoing support for the next three years from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

He noted that the timing of the Lizotte/Jackson gift was carefully chosen. ”Lisa and I have been planning it for a while, but the School was founded in 1968, and we hope our gift will encourage others to give as well during our 50th anniversary year in 2018. After all, this school has produced many successful alums in the criminal justice area.”

“The UAlbany School of Criminal Justice is a special place,” said Pridemore. “We have 50 years of incredible tradition in training PhD students who go on to become leading scholars in our field. Alan and Lisa’s wonderful gift to support graduate and postdoctoral training and research will help ensure a world-class program long into the future. We hope it will inspire other friends of our School to support us in meaningful ways during our 50th Anniversary year.”

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.