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A History of Philanthropy at UAlbany

As the University at Albany launches its historic $500 million fund-raising campaign, here is a snapshot of the private philanthropy that has been a part of the University at Albany’s history from its earliest days as the State Normal School:

1845 - First Private Gift: James L. Wadsworth, a prominent land developer and advocate of school libraries in the state, donates $300 in his will to purchase books for the Normal School library.

1883 - First Alumni Fund-Raising Campaign: To show their pride in the new Normal School Building being constructed on Willett Street, graduate votes to commission Alumni Memorial Window for the Assembly Hall. A $5,000 fund-raising campaign was launched for what was then the largest stained-glass window in the nation. Donations of $2 to $10 are solicited.

1905 - First Scholarship Funds: Fund-raising begins for the Husted Award, honoring Professor A. N. Husted, Class of 1855. Classes contribute funds to the campaign on graduation. The Husted Fellowship fund is fully subscribed with $10,000 in 1948, and in 1949 the first award is given. The fund still exists in 2003.

1910 - The Hawley Windows: The Class of 1910 starts a tradition by ordering a stained-glass memorial window for the Auditorium, later known as Hawley Hall. The classes of 1911, 1912, 1915, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926 and 1929 also donate stained-glass windows for the building, which is now the Dewey Library. Restoration of the windows between 1980 and 1986 is funded by the classes of 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934 and 1952.

1917 - Student Loan Fund: The Elizabeth McClelland Student Loan Fund is established with gifts from President Brubacher and the faculty. Mary McClelland, Class of 1867, retired in 1917 after almost 50 years as a history teacher and librarian for the Normal School. She asked that the fund be named after her mother, Elizabeth.

1924 - First Major Alumni Bequest: A $10,000 bequest from Harriet Donaldson, Class of 1872, provides loans of $10 to $100 to junior and senior women.

1935 - First Residence Hall: Alumni and local friends pay for the first dormitory at a state school through the Benevolent Association at a cost of $293,000. The 162-bed women’s dormitory is renamed in 1941 in honor of Anna E. Pierce, Class of 1884, and also a teacher, dean of women and prime mover of the campaign that made the building possible.

1964 - First Campaign for the Uptown Campus: The Alumni Association undertakes Project Carillon to raise $40,000 for the Alumni Carillon on the uptown campus. It is initially installed on top of Stuyvesant Tower.

Largest Private Gift to Date: The Benevolent Association awards the first scholarship from the Mr. & Mrs. Ben V. Smith Fund for students in science courses. The fund grows out of a $350,000 bequest by Irma St. John Smith in memory of her late father, Joseph St. John, a State Normal School graduate (Class of 1868) and faculty member.

1966 - UAlbany Foundation Organized: The University at Albany Foundation is established to promote good relations between the University and the community. It later assumes responsibility for fund-raising and investment.

Minerva Restored: The Class of 1967 restores Minerva, preserving the almost 80-year-old symbol. The class, which considers itself the "guardians of Minerva," restores the statue again in 1971 after it is damaged during a prank.

1973 - Annual Fund Established: The first Annual Fund money supports construction of Alumni House, completed in 1976.

1991 - The Campaign for UAlbany: President H. Patrick Swygert announces the $55 million Campaign for Albany, the first comprehensive capital campaign in the University’s 147-year history.

1992 - Annual Fund giving tops $1 million for the first time.

1996 - The Campaign for Albany Concludes. President Karen R. Hitchcock announces the successful completion of the $55 million Campaign for Albany in December, three years ahead of schedule. It raises a total of $55,318,000.

1997 - Largest Alumni Gift: The University names a 102,000 square-foot building on the East Campus in honor of Class of 1938 members Edward S. and Frances Gildea George, donors of a $1 million gift to their alma mater. It is the first gift of its size from alumni.

First Endowed Chair: A $1.2 million gift from the estate of Gertrude Thompson of New Jersey endows the Ray Falconer Chair at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center. It is the first gift of its size from a friend of the University.

1999 - First Major Gift from a Faculty Member: The University receives $1.5 million from the estate of English Professor Emeritus M.E. Grenander. It endows the James W. Corbett Distinguished Professorship in Physics, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives in the Libraries, and the Hannah and Arvy Whitney Award. The Grenander gift is the first of its size from a faculty member.

2000 - Delray Bequest: Carla Rizzo Delray, B.A.’42, of Albany leaves an estate estimated at $1 million to the University. It is one of the five largest individual gifts in campus history.

2001 - Historic Corporate Gift: IBM commits $100 million to establish the Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics at UAlbany. It is the largest gift in UAlbany history and the single largest donation ever for IBM. It is matched by $50 million in state support.

Life Sciences Research Initiative: Thomas and Constance D’Ambra and Marty Silverman each pledge $1 million in matching funds to the University’s Life Sciences Research Initiative.

2002 - The Boor Sculpture Studio: The University names its new sculpture studio in honor of Terri Boor, a friend and major supporter. It is the second University facility named in honor of a major donor.

2003 - The Campaign for UAlbany: The University announces the most ambitious fund-raising goal in its history: $500 million by June 30, 2008.

To learn more, visit the Campaign for the University at Albany website.

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