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UAlbany, City School District of Albany Team Up to Promote College and Career Readiness

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 26, 2013) – University at Albany President Robert J. Jones joined City School District of Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D., at William S. Hackett Middle School to host a series of workshops that give sixth-grade students a taste of college life.

The event, entitled "Advancing and Celebrating The Albany Promise Cradle-to-Career Partnership," is part of the weeklong series of events, culminating in Dr. Jones’ Inauguration as UAlbany’s 19th president. The event serves to underscore UAlbany’s dedication to The Albany Promise alliance and emphasizes President’s Jones' own commitment to public engagement.

"At UAlbany, engagement with our communities is a core value, one that is part of my DNA," said President Jones. "I came to UAlbany in part because I am excited about the engaged work that the University is already doing and the potential for us to do even more."

For more photos, visit the Times Union.

UAlbany Student Kaycie Lawson
Kaycie Lawson prepares a cauldron of liquid nitrogen during a demonstration for Hackett Middle School students. (Skip Dickstein, Times Union photo used by permission)

UAlbany is one of many community partners participating in The Albany Promise network that brings together leaders from throughout the Capital Region to build a pipeline of services and supports for students and families from cradle to career. The long-term goal of The Albany Promise is to give every child in the City School District of Albany the chance to be successful in school and in life.

"Powerful community partnerships, like those we have in place and continue to grow with UAlbany and all of our Albany Promise colleagues, are critical to the future of our school district and the success of each of our nearly 9,000 students," said Dr. Vanden Wyngaard. "We are grateful for Dr. Jones' commitment to this important work, and excited to partner with him and the University on this event for our Hackett sixth-graders."

Dr. Vanden Wyngaard and and Dr. Jones have joined together to lead The Albany Promise Action Team on College and Career Readiness. Sixth-grade students were provided an opportunity to learn more about college through engaging, interesting workshops led by UAlbany students, staff and faculty, including college and career readiness, chemistry experiments, gardening in the city, healthy choices, emergency response, law and justice, and art exhibitions. Dance performances by UAlbany students rounded out the morning's activities.

"In sixth grade, our students are just beginning to explore their own academic interests," said Hackett Principal Michael Paolino. "Having UAlbany students present these workshops is a great way to get our sixth-graders excited about college and learning."

Since Dr. Jones came to Albany in January 2013, he has embraced The Albany Promise and its potential to have a positive impact on students and the City of Albany. UAlbany is committed to future Albany Promise-related activities and this visit to Hackett is only one of many UAlbany-sponsored activities in Albany's public schools.

The Albany Promise was launched in 2011 to improve educational outcomes for Albany's K-12 students and is co-led by Dr. Nancy Zimpher, SUNY Chancellor, and Dr. Vanden Wyngaard. Chancellor Zimpher, a national leader in education, said, "The Albany Promise continues to be an effective vehicle for cross-sector leaders to pool together their individual strengths and offer programs and interventions that have a greater collective impact on student learning outcomes in Albany, from cradle to career. President Jones and Superintendent Vanden Wyngaard are to be commended for creating this workshop series, which will give sixth-graders an important early exposure to college life."

Albany's cradle-to-career partnership is focusing at the outset on the needs of students in the Arbor Hill, West Hill and South End neighborhoods. About 600 people have become involved from all parts of our community and region. For more information about The Albany Promise and its goal to improve educational opportunities for Albany students, visit:

From September 21 through September 28, the University is hosting a series of events entitled "Celebrate & Advance," a weeklong celebration in honor President Jones' inauguration. The week’s festivities culminate with the official installation of Dr. Jones at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 in the Performing Arts Center. Jones was appointed president in January 2013 after serving as senior vice president for Academic Administration at the University of Minnesota System. Since becoming the 19th president ofUAlbany, Jones has hosted a series of campus forums on community engagement and led a nine-county tour of the Capital Region, listening and learning about the region’s educational, cultural, business, civic, and recreational assets from area leaders. 

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About the University at Albany
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.