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

Dinner and Awards Program, Nov. 1 at 5:30 p.m., SEFCU Arena, University at Albany

The University at Albany Foundation will honor business leaders and philanthropists I. Norman and Micki Massry, and the University at Albany’s School of Social Welfare Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson as the 2012 Citizen Laureates. 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.
Citizen Laureate Bowl
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. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

I. Norman and Micki Massry have been named Community Laureates, while Katharine Briar-Lawson is this year's Academic Laureate. The Citizen Laureate award recipients will be honored at a dinner and awards ceremony November 1, 2012, 5:30 p.m., at UAlbany’s SEFCU Arena (note the change in time and venue; originally scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Hall of Springs in Saratoga).

I. Norman Massry
I. Norman Massry is a principal in Massry Realty Partners, founded by his father, Morris Massry, 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 St. Peter’s Healthcare Services, The College of Saint Rose, Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce, Seton Health Foundation, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Jewish Federation, and Fuller Road Management Corporation.

His charitable contributions and community and international involvement have been recognized with the State of Israel Peace Medal, President’s Spirit of St. Rose Award from The College of Saint Rose, YMCA President’s Award, and the St. Mary’s Vincentian Award.

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
Micki Massry’s path has been a bit different, but just as meaningful. After graduating from Fisher College as an optometric technician, she moved to Albany and received her apprenticeship certification to become a licensed optician. However, marriage and three children changed her perspective, and she became a full-time mother. Micki was a very active parent, volunteering in the children’s schools and serving on numerous boards, including the Daughters of Sarah Foundation, Hebrew Academy of the Capital District, and SPAC Action Council. She became involved at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) and co-founded and managed the Temple Israel Gift Shop and Book Center for 12 years.

Together, Norman and Micki have received community awards that include the Albany Jewish Community Center Pillars Award, Humanitarian Award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation Catherine McAuley Award, and the Community Service Award of the Hudson-Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities. Norman and Micki reside in Loudonville and have three children, Julie (and James) Knox, Murray, and Laurie, and two grandchildren, Isaac and Ezra.

Katharine Briar-Lawson
For more than 40 years, Katharine Briar-Lawson, Ph.D. has been a leader in social work. As dean of the University at Albany’s School of Social Welfare since 2000, she has fostered innovative university partnerships with public, private and nonprofit sectors, locally, nationally and internationally. She has spearheaded workforce development for the most vulnerable children and families, as well as for the aging.

She began her career in social work in Harlem, went on to work for the NYC Planning Department and the RAND Corporation. While on the faculty at the University of Washington she was tapped to be Assistant Secretary for Children, Youth and Families for the State. She went on to develop the Institute for Children and Families at Risk at Florida International University, then built a new Department of Family Studies and Social Work at Miami University of Ohio. She subsequently served as associate dean for research and doctoral chair at the University of Utah.

At UAlbany, building on the achievements of the deans who have preceded her and with the dedicated work of a talented faculty, she has expanded the School of Social Welfare's externally funded research and community partnerships. The nationally ranked school is highly regarded for its research and community impacts involving children and families, school-based services, mental health, trauma, disabilities, addictions, minority health disparities, and aging.

Dr. Briar-Lawson has published more than 12 books and numerous articles on poverty, unemployment, families, and child welfare. She is the recipient of grants over the years totaling well over $40 million, and is the co-principal investigator for the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, with a $20 million grant from the Children’s Bureau. With the key leaders in the community, the school, and university she has helped facilitate the development of such innovations as the anti-violence SNUG program and a character-based micro-lending SEED program for low income microentrepreneurs and financial literacy initiatives.

Dr. Briar-Lawson serves on several boards, including United Way, LaSalle School, Girls Inc. Gifts Council, and the affiliate boards for Parsons Child and Family Center and the Northeast Parent and Child Society. She is a former president of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work. She has received awards from the Chamber of Commerce as a Woman of Excellence, United Way, Centro Civico, and NY Academy of Medicine for the John A. Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education.

Dr. Briar-Lawson received her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, master's degree from Columbia University, and undergraduate degree from Connecticut College. She resides in Wynantskill with her husband, Hal, and both cherish their time with their children, Jennifer (Blase), Michael (Tania), Brian (Callie) and grandchildren, Ossian, Nola and Julian.

John Nigro, Honorary Chairman
John Nigro is 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, 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.

This year’s Citizen Laureate recognition ceremony is a record-breaker, with more than 600 guests attending and more than $250,000 raised for student scholarships. Funds raised through the event will support The University at Albany Foundation’s student programs and its ability to ensure access to the finest higher education experience possible. Established in 1967 to encourage philanthropic support, the Foundation continues to advance the University's strategic goals and sponsors efforts to build ties to the community.

To learn more about the event, visit the UAlbany Citizen Laureate website or contact the Office of University Events at (518) 442-5310.

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