Two Alumni Fund Professorship to Boost Female Entrepreneurship

A smiling white-haired man leans over a silver-haired woman in a brown chair, with a white dog on her lap and another sitting beside her
William Newman and Linda Ackner-Newman are funding a named professorship in the School of Business to boost female entrepreneurship.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 2, 2021) — A new professorship funded by two UAlbany alumni will help support a tenure-track female faculty in entrepreneurship and innovation in the School of Business. 

Bill Newman ’81 and Linda Ackner-Newman ’83 decided to create the professorship to boost female entrepreneurship in the Capital Region and beyond.

“Our number one goal is to perpetuate entrepreneurship in the Capital Region, particularly for women, because we don’t believe they have the same opportunities and support men have to run their own businesses,” Newman said, adding that women entrepreneurs have proven to be better at job creation than their male counterparts.

“We believe that the way out of the economic and political divisiveness that we are currently in is to level the playing field,” he said. “Education is the great equalizer.”

The Ackner-Newman Professorship of Entrepreneurship and Innovation is only the second named professorship at the School of Business and one of only five donor-funded professorships at UAlbany. An Excelsior Professorship, it allows the University to recruit faculty from around the world who show great promise, and to fund their research to encourage them to expand their careers at Albany.

The couple are also providing funding for an internship in the School of Business, also for a woman interested in entrepreneurship.

“Bill and Linda Newman’s sponsored professorship will allow us to attract and retain talented women faculty in key areas of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said School of Business Dean Nilanjan Sen. “There is an urgency to recruit more women faculty in School of Business to complement the enhanced gender diversity of our student body. We are extremely grateful for their generosity, which will provide a boost to pioneering research and entrepreneurial ventures in the Capital Region.”

“UAlbany has been great to Linda and me,” Bill Newman said, noting that the couple met as students at the University. “We were looking for a way to give back and to strengthen the School of Business and women in business in the area.”

Ackner-Newman graduated from UAlbany’s School of Social Welfare. Newman majored in biochemistry at UAlbany and initially intended a career in medicine. Instead, he joined Northwestern Mutual as a financial representative, a career he thrived in, opening an Albany agency in 1996 and earning multiple top accolades from the company not only for his acumen in wealth management but for his passion in developing future financial advisors and leaders.