UAlbany's William Kennedy Honored by American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Contact: Karl Luntta (518) 437-4981

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 6, 2002) -- University at Albany faculty member and executive director the New York State Writers Institute William Kennedy has been inducted into the 2002 class of Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Kennedy will join this yearís class of more than 200 luminaries including Senator Edward M. Kennedy, former Senator Warren Rudman, violinist Itzhak Perlman, Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston, author and physician Oliver Sacks, National Medal of Science for Research on Mental Illness recipient Nancy C. Andreasen and Nobel Prize winning chemist George Olah. The academy is the nationís preeminent learned society and research institution.

Kennedy is the author of numerous works, including the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Ironweed and this yearís Roscoe, the latest in an acclaimed cycle of fiction set in Albany. Kennedy began his writing career as a journalist in the Capital Region, during which time he authored O Albany!. In addition to the novels of his "Albany cycle," he co-authored childrenís fiction with his son and wrote the full-length play Grand View. As well, Kennedy contributed to screenplays for the movies The Cotton Club and Ironweed, from his 1983 novel.

The Academy was founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people." The Academy has elected as Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, from Ben Franklin in the eighteenth century to Albert Einstein in the twentieth. The current membership includes more than 150 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer Prize winners.

This year's new Fellows and Foreign Honorary Members will be welcomed at the annual Induction Ceremony at the Academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 5, 2002. For a full list of new members, visit

Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit


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