From the Podium and Beyond

By Carol Olechowski

Bloniarz Appointed to Advisory Board

Peter Bloniarz
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed Peter A. Bloniarz executive director and senior policy analyst of the state’s Cyber Security Advisory Board. Cuomo lauded the Collins Fellow as “an experienced professional” whose work “will be vital in helping to shield New Yorkers, businesses and state government from cyber threats, such as identity theft and consumer fraud.” Bloniarz has held numerous teaching and administrative positions, including that of College of Computing & Information (CCI) dean, during his 37 years at UAlbany.


Sue Faerman
Faerman Named CCI Interim Dean

Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Sue Faerman is serving as interim dean of the College of Computing & Information (CCI). Faerman, a Distinguished Teaching Professor and Collins Fellow, has been with the University since 1989.



Leanne Wirkkula
Wirkkula Joins UAlbany as Chief of Staff

Leanne Wirkkula, Ph.D., joined the University at Albany as chief of staff Feb. 3. Most recently an organizational consultant at AKA Strategy in New York City, she previously spent two decades in various high-level administrative capacities with the University of Minnesota. Wirkkula graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a doctorate in organizational leadership, policy, and development; a master’s in educational policy and administration; and a bachelor’s in journalism & mass communication.

Gattuso speaks to the press

Gattuso Tackles a New Position

University of Maryland Defensive Line Coach Greg Gattuso succeeded former UAlbany Head Coach Bob Ford, who led the Great Danes football program for more than four decades until retiring last fall. Lee McElroy, UAlbany’s vice president and director of Athletics, praised Gattuso as “a proven winner who will sustain the legacy of Bob Ford. His values of integrity, academic excellence, community service and humility reflect the University’s commitment to quality.”

A player on Penn State’s 1982 championship football team, Gattuso was selected for UAlbany’s head-coaching position from a field of 80 candidates. He previously coached at Duquesne and the University of Pittsburgh.

Shimazu Manages Public-Private Partnerships

Michael Shimazu

Michael Shimazu has been appointed associate vice president of Business Partnerships and Economic Development at the University at Albany. In the newly created post, Shimazu will manage and advance public-private partnerships, including the Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex (E-TEC), the signature initiative of UAlbany’s NYSUNY 2020 plan, and the University’s START-UP NY program.

Shimazu, whose previous experience includes positions with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has worked in the technology-commercialization field for nearly three decades.

NSF Grant Helps Establish Graduate Program in STEM

Supported by a $987,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, the University at Albany is establishing a program that will encourage students from underrepresented populations to pursue graduate studies in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and prepare them for leadership at the national and international levels. The Bridge to the Doctorate is part of the NSF’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program.

BioHarvest Ltd. Move Will Benefit Capital Region

Attracted by UAlbany’s research strengths and the prospect of developing a strong public-private partnership with Cancer Research Center (CRC) scientists at the East Campus, BioHarvest Ltd. is setting down roots in the Capital Region – and bringing 60 new jobs to the area. In conjunction with the move of its research-and-development start-up operations from Tel Aviv to Albany, the Israeli firm will collaborate with CRC to produce innovative technologies for human health, including functional health-food products and intervention strategies based on the cultured cells of fruits and vegetables.

Founded in 2007 as Fruitura BioScience Ltd., the company has developed a patented, state-of-the-art platform to grow and bio-harvest fruit-cell cultures in 3D bioreactors. The unique technology enables the production of safe, clinically researched super foods rich in phytonutrients and produced on an industrial scale for the nutrition, wellness and supplements markets.

Children’s Bureau Award Supports NCWWI Leadership

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
UAlbany’s School of Social Welfare (SSW) and five university partners have received a $21.2 million award from the Children’s Bureau to lead the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI). Co-principal investigators Mary McCarthy and Katharine Briar-Lawson and their SSW colleagues will work with partners from the University of Maryland, University of Denver, Michigan State University, Portland State University, and University of Southern Maine to increase child-welfare-practice effectiveness through diverse partnerships focused on workforce-systems development, organizational interventions, and change leadership.

Campus Projects Receive Grants

Two environmental grants will benefit projects at UAlbany.

A $607,000 award from New York’s Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP) will support the installation of pervious pavement, rain gardens and a green roof on the Campus Center, which will undergo a $60 million expansion to be completed in 2016.

In addition, UAlbany was one of a number of universities and colleges to receive funding for innovative environmental projects through the first New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling, Inc. (NYSAR3) College Council Grant Program. The University will use the grant to purchase bins for a campus-wide composting program to be initiated this spring.

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