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Inaugural Scholarship Fund Gathers Support

By Greta Petry (March 4, 2005)

Assuring that qualified undergraduates have the financial resources they need to attend the University at Albany is the goal of the Inaugural Scholarship Fund.

UAlbany President Kermit L. Hall announced the creation of the fund for need-based undergraduate student scholarships at the Feb. 3 Hail and Farewell event in the Campus Center Ballroom. The fund was jump-started with $100,000 that UAlbany could have spent on a presidential inauguration. Instead, Hall announced he would skip a formal inauguration and spend the money on student scholarships. He and his wife, Phyllis, personally pledged another $10,000 toward the fund. By the end of February, pledges and gifts totaled $151,900. The aim is to build an endowed fund of at least $1 million.

Since the time of the announcement, the senior class and faculty have stepped up to the plate in order to help the University reach that goal.

2005 Senior Class President Edwina Kaliku wrote a letter to the senior class that noted, "We have an opportunity to preserve our legacy here at UAlbany by contributing towards the President's Inaugural Scholarship and helping to reach an ambitious goal of $1 million. Your contribution, no matter the amount, will allow the Class of 2005 to be remembered for our generosity. Our goal towards this scholarship, as the Class of 2005, is $10,000."

The idea of students and parents giving so that other students will have access to a UAlbany education is catching on.

"Let's all pull together and make this goal a reality - we have come so far already as a class!" noted Kaliku.

Faculty are pitching in as well.

Thomas A. Bass, a professor of English who joined UAlbany at the beginning of the spring semester, said, "The Scholarship Fund is a great idea. President Hall made exactly the right move in foregoing a fancy inauguration and donating the money to a scholarship fund. The integrity of this move was enhanced by the significant donation that he and his wife made to seed the fund. I cheer this move to place substance over style and think it bodes well for the University's future." Bass said he was moved to act, and he thought it important, both financially and symbolically, to support Hall's initiative.

R. Michael Range, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, gave $1,000. "My wife Sandrina and I would like to help build up the Scholarship Fund that you launched upon assuming the presidency of the University at Albany… thank you for having started this great initiative," Range wrote to Hall.

Hall wrote back, "Your valued support will bolster the strong combination of arts and sciences programs, great public and human service programs, and cutting-edge initiatives for which the University at Albany is so well known."

In addition, the Alumni Association has pledged $10,000 toward the fund-raising effort.

The fund will be included in the Faculty and Staff Campaign as an option for giving. Reunion classes of alumni may also contribute.

TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FUND, CALL 1-800-577-7869, OR SEND AN E-MAIL TO: uafund@uamail.albany.edu. CHECKS MAY BE SENT TO: THE UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY FOUNDATION, UAB 201, 1400 WASHINGTON AVE., ALBANY, NY 12222.