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University at Albany Celebrates 165th Commencement

School of Public Health awards its first undergraduate degrees;
Glick, Randolph deliver keynote addresses at graduation ceremonies May 16 and 17

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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UAlbany Spring Commencement

The undergraduates will receive degrees in 52 different majors, including business, psychology, sociology, English, communication, political science, history, accounting and biology. For the first time, the University will award undergraduate degrees in public health. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 13, 2009) -- The Honorable Deborah Glick, Assembly member, and Developing Families Center President Dr. Linda A. Randolph will deliver the undergraduate and graduate commencement addresses at the University at Albany 2009 Commencement Ceremonies. The weekend includes a graduate commencement ceremony on May 16, the main undergraduate degree conferral ceremony on May 17, and individual departmental and school recognition ceremonies throughout the weekend. An estimated 2,991 students are expected to participate in the 165th commencement ceremonies, including 2,057 undergraduate and 934 graduate degree applicants (131 doctoral, 675 masters and 32 advanced and graduate certificates).

The undergraduates will receive degrees in 52 different majors, including business, psychology, sociology, English, communication, political science, history, accounting and biology. For the first time, the University will award undergraduate degrees in public health. The new Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree, which was instituted in 2007, will be presented to three School of Public Health students. The degree prepares future public health leaders concerned with improving global public health and eliminating health disparities, and readies students for advanced studies and careers in related areas such as medicine, nursing and law.

The undergraduate degree conferral ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 17 at 10 a.m. on the Grand Entry Plaza, located on the uptown campus. Assemblywoman Deborah Glick will deliver the undergraduate commencement address. During her nine-term tenure in the New York State Assembly, Glick has focused on civil rights, reproductive freedom, health care, lesbian and gay rights, the environment, housing, higher education, social justice, and funding for the arts. Glick is the first openly lesbian or gay member of the New York State legislature and is one of only two women assembly members in Manhattan. As an Assembly member, her legislative victories include passage of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), signed into law in December of 2002. Glick previously served as the chair of the Assembly Social Services Committee, where she worked to protect the interests of New York's most vulnerable individuals who are receiving or participating in government assistance programs.  In February 2007, Glick was appointed chair of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee, which oversees all private and public higher education institutions, financial assistance for students, and professional licensing.

The graduate commencement will be held at SEFCU Arena on the uptown campus on Saturday, May 16 at 9 a.m. The commencement address will be delivered by Dr. Randolph, a public health pioneer and president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Developing Families Center. In 1972, Dr. Randolph was recruited to serve as the National Director of Health Services for the Project Head Start program in Washington D.C. There she was instrumental in strengthening the early education preparation program by ensuring that it also addressed student and family health issues that interfered with the child’s ability to learn, by combining medical and health services that focused on nutrition, dental and mental health programs.

In 1980 Dr. Randolph came to New York as the associate state health commissioner for New York City Affairs. In 1983, Dr. Randolph was named director of the Office of Public Health in the New York State Health Department, responsible for overseeing all community health programs in the state. During her tenure with the New York State Department of Health, she was a strong supporter and ally in establishing the University at Albany’s School of Public Health in partnership with the State’s Department of Health.

Linda Randolph, Developing Families Center President

The University at Albany will recognize Dr. Randolph's accomplishments by presenting her with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, State University of New York.

The University at Albany will recognize Dr. Randolph's accomplishments by presenting her with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, State University of New York. Dr. Randolph will also speak at the School of Public Health recognition ceremony on May 16.

There are 19 military veterans in the Class of 2009. UAlbany's undergraduate class hails from 20 states and 44 countries, including Japan, Nigeria, India, and the Republic of Korea. Some 71 undergraduates participated in the Presidential Scholars program, which recognizes and nurtures students with distinguished high school academic records. Seven students are expected to graduate with a perfect 4.0. The average class age is 23 and 52 percent are women.

UAlbany’s Commencement Weekend also includes individual departmental and school recognition ceremonies with guest speakers, a family picnic for all graduates and commencement mass.

During the undergraduate ceremony, the class of 2009 will present the Senior Class Gift of $33,000 to the university. The historic contribution, the largest senior class gift in university history, will support the Richard Bailey Memorial Scholarship Fund in the memory of the UAlbany senior who was tragically killed in October 2008. Richard's parents, James and Lisa Bailey, will be on hand over the weekend to receive Richard's Sociology Certificate, which will be handed out at the Sociology Departmental ceremony. The Sociology Department also donated $250 to the scholarship fund in Richard’s name.

The Senior Class Gift, which is donated through The University at Albany Foundation, is a way for student to give back to the University at Albany, and serves as a living tribute to great memories, an outstanding education, and a bright future. Previous gifts include a bronze sculpture of UAlbany’s Great Dane mascot, funds to support the purchase of an Ambulance for the university’s Five Quad Volunteer Ambulance Service, and scholarships for needy students.

Commensurate with the University's Go Green initiatives, this year's Commencement program will be printed on recycled paper. The confetti that showers the grads at the end of the ceremony is biodegradable, and where possible at departmental ceremonies the University has cut out bottled water out to revert to water service using pitchers and glass.

For more information on individual departmental ceremonies and other commencement activities including the senior rite of passage known as “Torch Night,” visit UAlbany's Commencement Web site. All commencement activities will take place, rain or shine, as scheduled.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 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 www.albany.edu. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.

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