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Totally UAlbany: The McAlpines

The legacy began in 1975, the year Scott McAlpine’s older brother Peter ’79, ’87 enrolled at the University at Albany. Scott ’80 started at UAlbany the following year, earning a degree in math. Over thirty years later, the McAlpine legacy has grown as Scott’s children Amanda ’11, ’12, Ashley ’12, Alexandra ’14 and Andrew ’16, chose UAlbany, all opting for the School of Business.

Regarding his decision to come to the University at Albany, Scott, a retired Ernst & Young partner, said, “I was going with the flow. My parents didn’t go to college so I didn’t have much guidance when choosing a college or major. Like most kids I didn’t know what I wanted to do. The University at Albany offered a good reputation and lots of different options.” He truly appreciates the education and support he received. He said, “I am so thankful that the university provided career advisement services which directed me towards a successful career in actuarial science and business. I can’t say enough about the education, guidance and experiences I had while at UAlbany.”

In the photo above: The McApines left to right: Eileen, Ashley ’12, Amanda ’11,’12, Andrew ’16, Alexandra’14, Alyse and Scott ’80.

Scott has provided plenty of guidance to his family. Ashley recounts a stop on the way home from a family camping trip. Her dad parked alongside the University at Albany football field and told the kids, “Maybe you’ll go here someday.” It appears that his advice was well received.

Four of five McAlpine children selected the University at Albany School of Business as their college, and there is still hope for the fifth: The youngest, Alyse, enters her sophomore year in high school this fall and is a couple years away from selecting a college. The family is trying not to pressure her. But it won’t be easy. All of the McAlpines have found success at the School of Business.

The eldest, Amanda, graduated in 2011 with dual degrees: accounting and business, including a concentration in the Financial Analyst Honors program. She continued at Albany earning an MS in Professional Accountancy. She said, “My dad is all about UAlbany. He is a big fan.” Her dad is also serious about encouraging and motivating his children to get a great education. Amanda said, “He didn’t have someone pushing him like we did.” Indeed, Scott offered to pay all of the costs of college for his children, but only for a grade point average of 3.5 or better.

Amanda started in the University at Albany Honors College and was also a member of the School of Business Direct Admit program. She said, “I was more involved with school than my dad was.” She worked on events with the Honors College, assisted with new student orientation and eventually worked as a graduate assistant for law professor Hon. Joseph W. Sheehan.

When it came time for Ashley to apply to school, Amanda talked about how good her classes were and how much fun she was having. So Ashley followed in her sister’s and dad’s footsteps, but taking a slightly different path, combining accounting with a minor in financial market regulation. (See page 11 for a story on the FMR program.) She said that joining marketing fraternity Pi Sigma Epsilon was her greatest decision.

Ashley is currently enjoying her work as an account executive for Belle Fare by Ming Yang, an outerwear company in New York’s fashion district, and hopes to return to UAlbany to earn a MS in accounting. To prepare, she plans to start studying for the GMAT exam this fall. Alexandra (Ally) ’14 and Andrew ’16 are currently attending UAlbany. Like Amanda, the younger siblings began their freshman years in the School of Business Direct Admit program offered only to top high school seniors with an interest in business or accounting.

This fall, Ally is a senior focusing on finance and information technology management, after being honored with the Incoming Senior in ITM award in the spring. Andrew enters his sophomore year with an interest in information technology. He plans to try out for the lacrosse team and join the investment club during this school year.

The kids noted that the enthusiasm of School of Business staff encouraged them to follow in their dad’s footsteps along the Hudson River north to Albany. In addition to considering UAlbany, Amanda and Andrew looked at Binghamton University. Scott said, “It seemed that Albany wanted them more. UAlbany was more enthusiastic about getting them to come.”

The Honors College was a big plus in the UAlbany column. In September 2007, Amanda was a member of the second full Honors College class, appreciating the small class size and the opportunity to join a community of other students serious about their grades. Ally and Andrew also started in the Honors College. Ally said, “My sisters told me how much they loved the business school, but being accepted in to the Honors College was also a factor – being with kids who succeed in school.” Andrew added, “The honors college is a tight knit community.”

The McAlpine dad is not the only one who offers guidance. The siblings advise each other. Amanda suggested that Ally use her free time to job hunt, mentioning that big companies recruit at the school. Amanda should know – she was hired by Ernst & Young.

Besides the University at Albany, Ernst & Young is another commonality the McAlpines share. In addition to Amanda’s employment, Scott is a retired EY partner, and Andrew has been accepted to the UAlbany Ernst & Young Trajectory program (see page 7 for a story) for the fall.

Though their experiences at UAlbany varied from math to accounting to finance to information technology to financial market regulation, the McAlpines agree that the school was a good fit for each of them. And the younger McAlpines have reason to love it even more. Ally notes that there are more business-oriented clubs than ever before. Andrew said, “There are many more opportunities for student involvement, instead of just sitting in your room.”

Scott is amazed by the university’s expansion, including new residential buildings such as Empire Commons and the apartments of the more recently constructed Liberty Terrace, which opened last fall. He noted that the new School of Business building brings renewed pride to the university and enhances its great reputation for providing an outstanding business education.