UAlbany MagazineUniversity at Albany

The Last Word

"If it weren't for UAlbany, I wouldn't have been able to ..."

Editor’s Note: In this space, we usually publish first-person reflections on a graduate’s University at Albany experience and its impact on his/her life. This time around, however, we’d like to share with you excerpts from a few more Last Alum Standing submissions. Other entries, including the winning essay by Greta Petry, M.A.’01, appear in print version of Fall 2010 UAlbany.

“ … prepare for the journey of a lifetime. I came from humble beginnings; I was the only child of immigrant parents, and the first generation of my family to attend college. Accepted to UAlbany through the Equal Opportunity Program, I took full advantage of the privileges of EOP, understanding that I had a goal to accomplish (graduate) and a dream to fulfill (pursue higher education). UAlbany gave me a phenomenal education, prepared me for the most competitive institutions of higher learning, and gave me the chance to meet the most amazing and talented people ever to cross my path. I continue to rely on the support of my mentors from UAlbany and the unbelievable social network established during my four years there.”

– Maysa Akbar ’96, New Haven, Conn.
Faculty, Yale Child Study Center

“ … transfer in from a Division III school and have an opportunity to win championships while getting a great education … [Head Coach] Bob Ford and [Defensive Coordinator] Mike Simpson made it possible. Since graduating with a bachelor’s in rhetoric and communication, I have worked in six different industries. All along the way, I was constantly involved with other UAlbany alums and am still in touch with my football coaches to this day.”

– Davon B. Jones ’00, Tampa, Fla.
Director of Admissions,
Everest University Online

The photo above, taken at the lunch counter at the old Kresge’s in downtown Albany, was one of the pictures that earned Martin Benjamin top honors in Life magazine’s Bicentennial Photography Contest in the mid-1970s.

“ … have a successful career in photography. At SUNY Albany, I became very active with the Albany Student Press; The Torch; and Photo Service, a group of student photographers who took photos for both. I ended up with 24/7 access to a great darkroom and studio on the third floor of the Campus Center. … [Thanks to] the student Photo Service, my first job as photographer in the Office of Community Relations, and my studio art major, I became a real working photographer. My first teaching job [was] adjunct instructor at The College of Saint Rose. I have exhibited work in the U.S., Europe, China, Cuba and Vietnam; last spring, I had an exhibition in conjunction with my new book, Atomic Age, at the prestigious Ikona Gallery in Venice, Italy. I also own and operate Rock Shots®, a stock photography agency featuring music- performance photographs I have made – which started with photographing performances by Pete Seeger, John Sebastian, Eric Clapton and others while I was at SUNYA.”

Benjamin captured this image in Nanjing, China, in 1993.

– Martin Benjamin ’72, Schenectady, N.Y.
Professor of Photography, Union College