By Christine McKnight

Albany's Presidential Scholars

The University graduated its first class of Presidential Scholars. The 32 graduating seniors represent the first wave of a highly successful program designed to attract the best and brightest high school students to the University at Albany. Next fall, the University will enroll a total of over 500 Presidential Scholars from freshmen to seniors, who receive scholarships, live in special honors housing and enjoy other privileges.

Diana Richburg — A World-Class Student and Athlete

Diana Richburg, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team in the 1500 meter event, was the recipient of the Dean's Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement by a returning undergraduate in the School of Business. Richburg, a Troy native, enrolled at the University at Albany after her graduation from Lansingburgh Higil School in 1982, but left the University in 1984 to pursue her dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. She competed for the United States in the 1984 Olympics and won several major titles in both the 1500 and the 800, including a championship at the Millrose Games, before returning to the University in 1994 to complete her studies. A marketing major, Richburg is finishing school with a 3.28 average and has been accepted into the University's M.B.A. program.

Barbara Altrock Earns Her Degree — One Course at a Time

Barbara Altrock of East Greenbush, an administrative assistant in the University controller's office, received her B.A. in psychology after 12 years of part-time study. Altrock, who continued to work full-time, took one course a semester until three years ago, when she stepped up her pace toward graduation and took two courses each semester, thanks in part to financial support from the University's Initiatives for Women Program, which helps women achieve their career goals. She now plans to pursue her master's degree on a part-time basis from the University's School of Social Welfare. Altrock's son Jeff, graduated from the University in December 1995. Altrock has been tapped to carry the New York State flag during the commencement procession.

The Faltermeiers Team Up at Albany, Then IBM

Cheryl Faltermeier and her husband, Johnathan Faltermeier, both received their Ph.D.'s in physics Sunday, culminating academic careers at Albany that also include bachelor's and master's degrees. The Faltermeiers, who have both already been hired by IBM in Poughkeepsie, carried out their graduate work at the University's Center for Advanced Thin Film Technology, where they were trained in the intricacies of today's powerful computer chips. They live in Fishkill, N.Y.

Megan Snedden Concludes Her Studies in the Field in Nicaragua

Megan E. Snedden of Trumansburg, near Ithaca, who received her B.S. in anthropology, spent much of her last semester working in an anthropology field school in Nicaragua, where she studied field methodology and then applied it to a project of her own. Snedden studied an artisan's market in an area that until recently was not safe for American scholars because of civil strife. The market, which is famed throughout Latin America, is located in Masaya, a city of about 100,000 about 18 miles from the Nicaraguan capital of Managua. "About 75 percent of the vendors are women," she said. "I was impressed with how they had developed their own community to help overcome the difficulty of balancing their commitments to both their businesses and their families." Snedden, 21, will attend graduate school in anthropology at New Mexico State University.

1997 Commencement