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Philanthropists I. Norman and Micki Massry, and UAlbany Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson Named University Citizen Laureates


ALBANY, N.Y. (February 9, 2012) -- The University at Albany Foundation has named businessman and philanthropists I. Norman and Micki Massry and University at Albany’s School of Social Welfare Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson recipients of the 2012 Citizen Laureate Awards. I. Norman and Micki Massry have been named Community Laureates, while Katharine Briar-Lawson is Academic Laureate. The Citizen Laureate Awards recognize outstanding leaders in business and industry, government and academia, and are the most prestigious honors bestowed by The University at Albany Foundation.

Philanthropists Michele (Micki) and I. Norman Massry.
Philanthropists Michele (Micki) and I. Norman Massry.

I. Norman Massry is a principal in Massry Realty Partners, founded by his father, Morris, more than 40 years ago. The company owns and operates Tri City Rentals, the real estate and premier property rental agency serving Albany, Buffalo, and Rochester.

Massry serves on the boards of numerous philanthropic and community organizations, including The University at Albany Foundation, Seton Health/ St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation, St. Peter’s Healthcare Services, College of Saint Rose, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the United Jewish Federation Endowment Board, and United Way of Northeast New York.

His charitable contributions and community and international involvement have been recognized with the State of Israel Peace Medal, the President’s Spirit of St. Rose Award from the College of Saint Rose, the YMCA President’s Award, and the Community Service Award of the Hudson-Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities.

Massry graduated with a degree in accountancy from Bentley College in 1978 and serves on numerous advisory committees of the University's Board of Trustees.

Michele (Micki) Massry is actively involved in the Capital Region community, working with several organizations including the Capital Region Friendship Circle, the Jewish National Fund of the Capital District, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and others. She lives with her husband Norman in Loudonville, N.Y. They have three children, Julie, Murray and Laurie, and two grandchildren, Isaac and Ezra.

Together, Norman and Micki have received several awards including the Albany Jewish Community Center Pillars Award, the Humanitarian Award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and the St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation Catherine McAuley Award.

Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson. (Photo Mark Schmidt)
Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson. (Photo Mark Schmidt)
Katharine Briar-Lawson, dean of the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany since 2000, has been, for 30 years, a leader in child welfare, social welfare, and social work education, advocating for vulnerable and oppressed persons and those who serve them. She has been influential in improving university-community relationships, establishing innovative social service collaborations, and developing international partnerships.

Drawing on prior experience as an assistant secretary for children, youth and families in Washington state, Briar-Lawson has published widely on university-child welfare partnerships. She helped to lead a workforce development movement to reprofessionalize child welfare with trained social workers, culminating in her role as a co-principal investigator of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, with more than $18 million in funding from the U.S. Children's Bureau.

Her collaborative work also focuses on aging and workforce development. With partners the John A. Hartford Foundation, the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM), and National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD) she has helped build aging programs in social work education and research. Her work on unemployment and jobs has led to a collaborative partnership with the School of Business, Small Business Development Center, New York State Empire State Development, and SEFCU to create SEED, a new Capital Region character-based microlending program for low income mircroentreprenuers.

Briar-Lawson has coauthored or coedited 12 books and numerous professional articles and publications. She served as president of NADD and has received the Distinguished Service Award from the United Way, UAlbany's first Kermit Hall Transformative Leadership Award, and the Woman of Excellence Award from the Chamber of Commerce. Nationally she received the Dean’s award for the John A. Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education.

Building on the achievements of the deans who preceded her, and with the dedicated work of a talented faculty, Briar-Lawson has expanded externally funded research and community partnerships. Today the School of Social Welfare is consistently ranked in the top 12 among schools nationally.

Laureate award recipients will be honored at the Hall of Springs in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on November 1, 2012. John Nigro will serve as honorary chair of the Citizen Laureate Awards event. Nigro, of Loudonville, N.Y., is president of Nigro Companies, a real estate development and management company, as well as a board member of the Center for Economic Growth, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and Albany Symphony Orchestra. Nigro received the Community Laureate Award in 2010. The Nigro family and the Companies are known for their philanthropic support of the Capital Region.

Funds raised through the event will support student scholarship, research and public service initiatives set by the University and managed by The University at Albany Foundation. Established in 1967 to encourage philanthropic support, the Foundation promotes the University's strategic goals by leading UAlbany's fundraising, asset management and stewardship activities. To support the Citizen Laureate Awards event, contact Terri Scalise Roller, associate director of Corporate Partnerships at UAlbany, tel. (518) 437-5095.


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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.