Richard Alba joined the faculty of the Department of Sociology in 1980, and ever since has distinguished himself as a scholar deeply committed to the University and his discipline. He was founder of the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis, which became an interdisciplinary center through which the University has served the region and the state. Among its roles — and as part of the Rockefeller Institute's Project 2000 report — was a detailed study of New York's changing population dynamics. Alba served as director for CSDA from 1981-90.

He led the Department of Sociology as chair through two separate terms, establishing the Theodore Standing Endowment to solicit outside support, and a computer lab to facilitate qualitative research.

He has served on several committees of the University Senate including chair of the College's Personnel Committee and the Council on Promotion and Continuing Appointment. Reflecting his deeply held concern with student excellence, he has also been very active in recent years with the University's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Among his many achievements in the field of sociology is his current presidency of the Eastern Sociological Association (he was its vice president from 1993-94). He is the deputy editor of the Association's journal, Sociological Forum, as well as a member of the editorial boards of two other major journals of sociology. He is also chair of the American Sociological Association's Section on International Migration — for which he was an active proponent, and which now brings together more than 200 researchers in the field. In both Germany and the U.S. he has been instrumental in adapting annual social surveys to include information on a range of topics regarding immigration and ethnic relations.

The author of two highly regarded books on white ethnicity and a member of the U.S. General Social Survey Board of Overseers, Alba also earned an Excellence in Research Award in 1994.


The 1998 Excellence Awards
University at Albany
State University of New York