University at Albany Foundation Names Citizens Laureate

Contact: Vincent Reda, 518-437-4985

New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and David O. Carpenter M.D., the founding dean of UAlbany's School of Public Health, have been named recipients of the 2001 University at Albany Foundation Citizen Laureate Awards.

The Citizen Laureate Awards recognize individuals for significant contributions to the academic world and the community. Bruno will receive the Community Laureate Award while Carpenter will receive the Academic Laureate Award.

They will be honored at a black-tie dinner on Wednesday, May 9, at 6 p.m. in the New Library Building on the University at Albany Uptown Campus. The event is a fund-raiser for the University at Albany Foundation. For ticket information, call (518) 442-5310.

Joseph L. Bruno was first elected to the State Senate in 1976. The Republican from the 43rd District was elected Majority Leader in January 1995, and re-elected to that position in 1997, 1999, and 2001. As a legislative priority, he has highlighted the state's economy and has concentrated his efforts on programs to stimulate the creation of jobs, aid the growth of business and commerce, and reduce personal taxes.

During Senator Bruno's six years as Majority Leader, New York has enacted more cumulative tax savings than 49 other states combined, and created almost 800,000 new private sector jobs. His efforts to aid his home district along with the state have done much to revitalize the region's economy.

His initiatives in the Senate led directly to funding for the new terminal at Albany International Airport (which brought Southwest Airlines to the region), a new Airport parking garage, and construction of a new Rensselaer Rail Station. Senator Bruno's support for the cultural life of the region led directly to the new Arts Center for the Capital Region in Troy, and renovations for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and the Albany Institute of History & Art.

A businessman himself, Senator Bruno has been especially prescient about advancing the state and the region in an increasingly high-tech economy. He obtained $2 million to renovate the Rice Building in Troy as an incubator for high tech business; he provided critical support for the construction of UAlbany's new library, opened in 1999; and, with Governor George Pataki and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, he forged the state's $45 million commitment to develop the Center for Environmental Sciences and Technology Management (CESTM) at UAlbany.

Senator Bruno's Jobs 2000 (J2K) initiative, enacted in 1999, is focused on building and strengthening relationships between research universities and the private sector to foster high tech business development in New York. In 1996, a $5 million state grant from Senator Bruno was critical for the purchase and renovation of the former Sterling-Winthrop property in East Greenbush - now the site of the UAlbany East Campus, with its Center for Comparative Functional Genomics (CCFG), School of Public Health and burgeoning incubator for emerging biotechnological companies. Senator Bruno obtained an additional $5 million for UAlbany to start up CCFG. All told, the East Campus has brought more than 600 jobs to the Capital Region.

In 1999, along with Governor George Pataki and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Bruno was instrumental in New York's commitment to fund the Focus Center-NY (FC-NY), enabling the University at Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to participate in a national university-centered research initiative, discovering new generations of more powerful computer chips. FC-NY, recently announced as the recipient of $45 million in funding over the next three years, also represents an important step in New York's bid to attract semiconductor industries.

David O. Carpenter, founding Dean of the School of Public Health, led the School with distinction from its beginning in 1985 to his retirement from that post in 1998. During that time, the School grew in both size - more than 350 students -complexity, and stature, yet Dr. Carpenter continued to maintain a national research profile in neurobiology and neurotoxicology. Today, he is a professor in the School's departments of Environmental Health & Toxicology and Biomedical Sciences.

In addition to his research on animal models of stroke and neurodegenerative diseases and neurotoxic agents, Dr. Carpenter devotes time to national and international activities in environmental health, serving presently on the National Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and on the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission. He coordinates many of the activities of NIEHS in Eastern and Central Europe.

In 1990, under Dr. Carpenter's direction an NIEHS research program was launched to determine the health and environmental impacts resulting from high PCB concentrations. His research found that the breastmilk of Akwesasne Mohawk women contained elevated concentrations of PCBs, and these levels were linked directly to consumption of local fish and wildlife. By 1994, breastmilk concentrations of PCBs declined to control group levels mainly because Mohawk women reduced or eliminated locally caught fish and wildlife from their diets.

Shortly after he arrived in Albany in 1980 to become director of the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research, Dr. Carpenter recognized the pressing need for highly trained, graduate-level public health professionals in New York State.

Realizing that bringing students into the Health Department's laboratories would also stimulate and enhance research activities there, he began a campaign to gain support for a graduate public health school that would draw on the vast scientific and academic resources of the Capital Region. He worked five years combining the practical, problem-oriented approach of health professionals at the Health Department with the academic perspective available at UAlbany.

The result was a school of public health comprising five departments that has been called by the National Academy of Sciences a model of what public health education ought to be.

Founded in 1967, the University at Albany Foundation is responsible for the University's fund-raising activities and associated fiscal management. It is dedicated to playing a significant role in supporting programs and research that contribute to the economic development of the Capital Region and New York State.

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April 11, 2001


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