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Area CEOs, Academic Leaders Announce Business-Higher Education Roundtable
By Miriam Trementozzi
On April 23, 13 area college and university presidents and 12 business executives announced their alliance as the Business-Higher Education Roundtable of the Capital Region. The group is a highly focused collaboration between academe and the business community created to support the region’s economic growth and quality of life, with special emphasis on the role of higher education working with business. The week before the second Tech Valley Summit offered an opportune time to announce the Roundtable, which has been engaged for several months in shaping a number of initiatives and readying them for implementation.

At the summit, President Karen R. Hitchcock, who convened the Roundtable with Michael Marvin, chairman emeritus of MapInfo, participated on a panel moderated by Tom Brokaw that explored “Tech Valley Tomorrow.” She commented that the Roundtable will help leverage the area’s considerable higher education assets for the future prosperity of Tech Valley.

Members see the concentration of vibrant and diverse colleges and universities in the Capital Region as a major strength. In the immediate four-county area there are 16 public and private, not-for-profit colleges and universities with more than 57,000 students enrolled in 2001 and nearly 3,000 full-time faculty. Part-time faculty numbered some 2,400 in 2000.

Marvin, whose entrepreneurial work in the Capital Region has included founding and building MapInfo into a $100 million dollar company with Rensselaer students, has demonstrated how vital the interconnection between business and higher education can be.

A small “chief executives only” forum, the Roundtable enables leaders in the two sectors to focus on their special interdependencies, such as workforce education (and continuing education), as well as high-tech and other research and expertise that leads to new business formation and greater productivity. Leaders in both business and higher education also see a common agenda in fostering the high quality of life available in the Capital Region and communicating effectively about it.

The Roundtable has focused on developing ideas into action-oriented proposals that will be discussed at the next meeting in June. Four working groups are exploring ways to address jointly perceived regional needs. Initial priorities are:

  • Access: enhancing ways business can gain access to the full array of educational resources available, from faculty expertise to R&D to equipment and facilities;
  • Student outreach and retention: helping students engage in the region through linkages across schools and with businesses and communities; and helping to build a dynamic future workforce by retaining graduates;
  • Communications: raising regional and national awareness of the advantages of the Capital Region from its high-tech research to its outdoor and cultural attractions;
  • Infrastructure: Assessing the long-term transportation and telecommunication needs for business and higher education institutions in a knowledge-driven economy.The Roundtable will work cooperatively with other groups and elected officials at all levels on any joint-action initiatives.

In 1997, with an eye on the national-level Business-Higher Education Forum and other efforts, Hitchcock and Marvin convened a meeting of college, university and business leaders on ways in which higher education institutions could advance the economic development of the region’s communities. A steering committee was organized to draft a mission statement. In addition to Hitchcock and Marvin, steering committee members include James Barba (Albany Medical Center), Craig Duncan (Northeast Health), Jeanne Neff (The Sage Colleges), and George McNamee (First Albany Corp.). The group launched the Roundtable in December 2000, with founding members representing various colleges and universities and several industry sectors. Organizers felt it was important to start small and stay focused.

Special Assistant to the President for External Affairs Miriam Trementozzi serves as program staff to the Roundtable.

Complete List of Members: Co-convenors Karen Hitchcock (UAlbany) and Michael Marvin (MapInfo Corp.); Harry Apkarian (TransTech Systems, Inc.); James Barba (Albany Medical Center); Gabriel Basil (Schenectady County Community College); John Buono (Hudson Valley Community College); William Dake (Stewart’s Ice Cream Co.); Craig Duncan (Northeast Health); Lewis Golub (The Golub Corp.); James Gozzo (Albany College of Pharmacy); Daniel Hogarty, Jr. (Troy Savings Bank); Roger Hull (Union College); Shirley Ann Jackson (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); Rev. Kevin Mackin (Siena College); Thomas J. Marusak (Comfortex Corporation); George McNamee (First Albany Corp.); Joseph Moore (Empire State College, SUNY); Jeanne Neff (The Sage Colleges); Deborah Onslow (WMHT Educational Telecom-munications); Carl Rosner (former CEO of Intermagnetics General Corp.); Frank Schmeler (Albany International Corp.); Craig Skevington (Flow Management Technologies); Thomas Sponsler (Albany Law School); Jamienne Studley (Skidmore College); R. Mark Sullivan (The College of Saint Rose). Program staff: Miriam Trementozzi (UAlbany); secretariat: John Higgins (Hudson Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities).

2002 Bread and Roses Awards
By Anna Z. Radkowski-Lee
The Council of Women’s Groups recently presented this year’s Bread and Roses Awards to Professor Vivien Ng and the Omega Phi Beta Sorority. The award is given every year by the University at Albany Council of Women’s Groups to individuals - staff, faculty, administrators, students, and organizations - who have made extraordinary contributions on behalf of gender equity to enhance the quality of life for women at the University.

The name of the award recalls a slogan coined at the beginning of the century by union women. Striking for shorter workdays and vacation benefits as well as for a decent workplace and higher wages, these women called not only for “bread” - adequate pay - but also for “roses” - a better quality of life. Ng joined UAlbany in 1995 as associate professor and chair of the Department of Women’s Studies. During her five years as chair and subsequent two years as the department’s director of Graduate Studies,

Ng has created new courses emphasizing the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality; expanded offerings in global studies; and used her knowledge of information technology to publicize the department’s activities. Shortly before her arrival at UAlbany, she served as president of the National Women’s Studies Association. She has been both a member and chair of the University’s Commission on Affirmative Action and participated in the Awards Selection Committee of the Gender Studies in Global Perspective Project. As member of the board of directors of the Social Justice Center and the board of Holding Our Own Women’s Foundation, she gave generously of her time and resources and continues to do so as a public speaker. Omega Phi Beta Sorority was created to combat apathy toward Latina women as well as women of all ethnic backgrounds.

Omega Phi Beta hosts several forums each semester to educate the community and to provide different services where a need is evident. The education forums address topics such as domestic violence, credit problems, breast cancer, dysfunctional relationships, and AIDS. The sorority has been honored with numerous awards: the Saturn Award in 1996; the President’s Undergraduate Leadership award during the years 1995-1999 and 2001; the Greek Organization of the Year in 2001; the Best Organization of the Latino Greek Council; and, the Best Fundraiser of 2001 for the Fifth Annual AIDS Benefit Banquet.

The Bread and Roses Spring Celebration included talks by Roslyn Jefferson and Carol Anne Germain, co-chairs of the Council of Women’s Groups; Iris Berger, who presented the Bread and Roses Awards with Carol Anne Germain to this year’s recipients; Maritza Martinez, chair of the Women’s Concerns Committee; University President Karen R. Hitchcock; Helen Desfosses, two-term president of the Albany Common Council, associate dean for educational development at Rockefeller College and associate professor of public administration and policy; and closing remarks from Diane Cardone, past Bread and Roses Award recipient and member of the University’s Affirmative Action Office.

Bread & Roses winners

Vivien Ng

Honoring Our Mothers
Don’t know what to get Mom or that special woman in your life? Make a contribution in her honor to the new Initiatives For Women Honoring Our Mothers Fund.

The Honoring Our Mothers Fund was established to provide support for campus women balancing motherhood with the pursuit of educational and/or professional goals. IFW Chair Kathy Turek stated, “This fund is a way to celebrate the incredible women in our lives and their indomitable spirits in a very tangible way. Our new IFW Honoring Our Mothers Web page is being developed to list the fund donors, their honorees, and their stories about why they chose to honor these special women.”

The founding donors decided to create this fund as a way to demonstrate their admiration for their honorees. For example, Lorre Smith surprised her mother last month with the announcement of the fund at her mother’s 80th birthday celebration. Subsequently, both her cousin and sister added to the fund. Smith describes her mother as not only a teacher, but a lifelong learner, saying “During my childhood my mother and I spent many days having adventures of all kinds together, from hunting wild asparagus and picking persimmons to camping trips into the woods to test our survival skills. As I learn more of the story of her life, I’m beginning to understand her strength and her passion for learning of all kinds. I hope to emulate her life-long generosity and service by sharing what I have with women who undertake the challenging path of higher education.”

Founding donor Kathy Shooks recognized her mother and mother-in-law as the “two women in my life who made a significant difference, of whom I am very proud, and to whom I am very grateful for enriching my life and the life of my family.” She continued, “My mother, Elizabeth W. Heinmiller, always knew that education was the key to success. Her determination led to her obtaining both undergraduate and graduate degrees while working full time. Eventually, she became the Director of Public Health Social Work for the State of New York. However, the thing she was most proud of in her professional life was her involvement in the establishment of the School of Social Welfare here at the University. I think it is perfect for me to be able support women at the institution that meant so much to her and to honor her memory in this way.”

Shooks added, “My mother-in-law, Helen Shooks, provided our family with a most invaluable gift for many years - child care. As every working parent knows, the single most important thing you need to be able to rely on, whether you are pursuing a career or education, is dedicated, safe child care. What a gift it was for me to know that my child was happy, loved, and safe when I left in the morning to go to work. For this I am eternally grateful. It is particularly rewarding for me to be able to give back by supporting those who struggle with issues such as child care to get their education or to move ahead in their careers.”

Turek chose to honor her sister as well as her mother. “My parents moved from the Midwest to New York when I was a child. My mother left all her family and friends to build a new life and raise six children. To this day, I am in awe of her courage and dedication. My sister followed suit by moving to the other side of the country, again away from family, and faces the difficult challenge of raising an autistic child. I have such incredible admiration for her extraordinary patience and endurance that I’m very happy to have found a tangible way to express my feelings for both her and my mom.”

The founding donors of the Honoring Our Mothers Fund include IFW Steering Committee Member Bianca Carter in honor of her mother, Adeline DiBianco Sorieri; Undergraduate Dean Sue Faerman in honor of her mother, Miriam M. Faerman; School of Social Welfare Professor Emerita Shirley J. Jones in honor of her mother, Minnie Liggins Davis; Kathy Shooks in honor of her mother, Elizabeth Heinmiller, and her mother-in-law, Helen Shooks; University Libraries professional Lorre Smith in honor of her mother, Margaret Deal Smith; and IFW Chair Kathy Turek in honor of her mother, Lois Hardisty, and her sister, Marie Muckerman. IFW Award Selection Committee Co-Chair Susan Palmer reports that IFW has chosen its first Honoring Our Mothers award recipient, a returning student with four children, who will receive her award at the IFW Summer Celebration on July 11.

For more information, see the IFW Web site at www.albany.edu/ifw/. If you are interested in making a contribution to the Honoring Our Mothers Fund, contact Kathy Turek at 437-3916.

honored mothers

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