Contact: Vincent Reda, 518-437-4985

The University at Albany - then known as the Albany Normal School - was but two years old when the Mexican-American War broke out in 1846. That year, Charles Kendall graduated from the Normal School with a teaching certificate. A year later, he was in Mexico, fighting with the U.S. Army. He survived the conflict, which ended in 1848, but died of illness in Mexico shortly after.

Kendall became the first of approximately 3,000 University at Albany alumni who have served their country through military service during war or peacetime. On June 9, 2001, the UAlbany community will be honoring the commitment, dedication and sacrifice of all these veterans with a tribute unlike any ever given by an institution of higher education.

In addition to a Recognition Ceremony, a fly-over by the 174th Fighter Wing of the U.S. Air Force, and informal sessions where veterans will share past military experiences, a 36-foot-long Wall of Honor mural will be unveiled in the University's Main Library. It will rest there permanently.

On the Wall of Honor's nine panels will be inscribed the names of each serviceman and servicewoman who attended the University, and provide future generations of students and visitors with the opportunity to understand the larger issues confronting students of the past.

Pioneer broadcaster Walter Cronkite offered praise for this unique tribute. "My congratulations to the University of Albany for initiating this groundbreaking Veterans recognition program," said Cronkite. "As a World War II and Vietnam War correspondent who had the privilege of reporting on our service people in action, I wholeheartedly support any program that recognizes the selfless and heroic contributions our veterans have made."

Joseph E. Persico '52, historian and collaborator with General Colin Powell on Powell's autobiography, My American Journal, will be master of ceremonies for the event. Speaking will be Brigadier General William C. Martin, Deputy Adjutant General of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.

The list of UAlbany alumni who have done military service was compiled by a group of dedicated volunteer researchers. They were recruited and directed in large part by Eunice Whittlesey, who graduated in UAlbany's centennial year, 1944, when many of her classmates had left for World War II service.

Whittlesey was inspired to create the tribute from a newsletter article she read about the Normal School Company, part of the New York Volunteers in the Civil War. The company included more than 25 undergraduates, alumni, and teachers. They fought in 17 battles, including Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.

The modern researchers uncovered stories of patriotism, bravery and sacrifice of University at Albany alumni in all military conflicts over the past century and a half, as well as evidence of dedicated and honorable service performed by peacetime soldiers. On June 9, hundreds of alumni, faculty, staff, students and family from around the country are expected to join in this tribute acknowledging these men and women.

For more University at Albany information, visit our World Wide Web site at http://www.Albany.edu.

May 24, 2001


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