University at Albany Opens Emeritus Center
Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150
ALBANY, N.Y. (November 1, 2006) -- University at Albany Officer in Charge Susan Herbst along with distinguished colleagues officially opened the University's new Emeritus Center today. The center will serve as a gathering place for UAlbany retired faculty and professionals and is designed to facilitate and promote interdisciplinary scholarship. Joining Herbst at the ribbon cutting ceremony were Toby Clyman, vice president of the Emeritus Center and a professor emeritus of languages, literatures & cultures, John Marino, vice president for professionals of United University Professions and John J. O'Connor, vice chancellor and secretary of the University, State University of New York and president of the SUNY Research Foundation.
"When the University at Albany opened its honors college this fall, we created a community of scholars, engaging faculty members in the honors activities of undergraduates at an unprecedented level," said Herbst, who is the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at UAlbany. "With the Emeritus Center, we have a dedicated space to bring our most distinguished university members back to UAlbany to interact with colleagues and promote scholarship. This facility will serve as a gathering place for our emeriti and as a great resource for the entire university community."
"University teaching is a vocation, not just a job," said William Reese, president of the Emeritus Center and professor emeritus of philosophy. "In the days of Plato and Aristotle, the professor and students were the university, and teaching was a lifelong commitment. With this center, we now have a place to continue our responsibility to pass on our knowledge to future generations of scholars, and be a more active part of the university community. I would like to thank Dr. Herbst for carrying through on this initiative to establish the Emeritus Center."
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a tribute to the late Jarka Burian, distinguished scholar and professor emeritus of the department of theatre, was given by Patricia Snyder, founder and director of the NYS Theatre Institute. The tribute included a stage reading of Anton Chekhov's one-act play, "Swan Song." Burian, who taught at the university for nearly four decades, worked tirelessly to promote emeriti involvement in the university, and his efforts helped bring about the Emeritus Center. Burian passed away on August 25, 2005.
The concept for the Emeritus Center at UAlbany can be traced back to 1969, when faculty members approached former president Evan Collins with the idea of engaging the interest, affection, and wisdom of emeriti. With no mandatory retirement age for professors, faculty continue to publish scholarly books, conduct research, and teach part time. The Emeritus Center not only provides a dedicated facility for emeriti, but offers greater opportunity for collaboration. Tapping the knowledge resources of emeriti and encouraging further research is the idea behind the Emeritus Research Seminar held by the center in the spring. For more information, visit the Emeritus Center.