University at Albany Foundation Announces 2022 Citizen Laureates

3 photos show Alicia Ouellete, Chet and Karen Opalka, and Alice Green and Charles Touhey
The 2022 Citizen Laureates, clockwise from top left: Alicia Ouellete, Alice Green and Charles Touhey, and Chet and Karen Opalka.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 14, 2022) — Karen and Chet Opalka, Alice Green and Charles Touhey, and Alicia Ouellette have been named 2022 Citizen Laureates by The University at Albany Foundation. The awards honor outstanding leaders in business and industry, government and academics who have helped transform the Capital Region community.

The Opalkas, Green and Touhey were named Community Laureates, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the Capital Region and beyond. Ouellette was named Academic Laureate, an award that honors notable achievements in academia and research.

Chet Opalka is one of the co-founders of Albany Molecular Research. He and his wife, Karen, have supported education, the arts and children’s causes throughout our region, nationally and globally.  They have been the catalysts for the establishment of the Kiwi Foundation, The Global Child and The Opalka Gallery at the Sage Colleges, and have supported UAlbany’s NYS Writers Institute. 

Alice Green, ’83, executive director of the Center for Law and Justice, and her husband, Charles Touhey, ’91, with a long background in both real estate and philanthropy, have been pioneers in the fight for justice and equity around civil rights and civil liberties with a particular concern for poor communities and those of color.

Through the establishment of The Touhey Family Fellows Program at UAlbany’s School of Education, Green and Touhey support the diversification of teaching and counseling professions throughout the Capital Region. 

Alicia Ouellette, the 18th president and dean of Albany Law School since 2015, has been active in the fields of health law, bioethics and health and human rights.  She has played an active role in strengthening the relationship between Albany Law and UAlbany through the 2015 affiliation agreement, with a focus on a more collaborative research environment, opening up new sources of grant funding and shaping new areas of scholarship.

The awardees will be honored at the annual Citizen Laureate Awards dinner on Oct. 13. Because SEFCU Arena is unavailable, the dinner will be held in the ZEN (Zero Energy Nanotechnology) Atrium at the neighboring Albany Nanotech Complex, with NY CREATES and SUNY Polytechnic Institute as co-hosts.

The Foundation’s annual celebration of Citizen Laureates began in 1977 as a way to bring together the academic and business communities of the Capital Region. The gala dinner, which has been suspended since 2019 because of the pandemic, is a signature fundraising event for UAlbany student scholarships.

For more information, visit Citizen Laureate or contact UAlbany’s Office of University Events at (518) 442-5310.