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UAlbany’s Class of 2019: Welcoming New Great Danes to the “Purple Family”

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 17, 2015) -- The University at Albany will launch its 2015-16 academic year by welcoming an academically-talented incoming freshman class of more than 2,540 students from an applicant pool of more than 22,300 -- the largest number ever received by the University.

Class of 2019 Welcome Week

More than 2,500 students from UAlbany's Class of 2019 joined at Bob Ford Field for a group photo. Students, parents, families and friends - please note: If you would like a copy of the class picture, you can download it here. (Photo by Brian Busher)       

Some quick facts about the new class: Students in UAlbany’s Class of 2019 boast a high school average of 90, against an admissions rate of 56.4 percent. Some 220 freshmen are enrolled as Presidential Scholars, including Frederick Douglass Scholars, while the University’s Honors College becomes home to 111 new students. UAlbany’s freshman class is also one of the more diverse to enter the University, with 44 percent students of color among its ranks. The freshman class also includes freshmen from 23 states and over 20 foreign countries.

With such a diverse cross-section of students arriving on campus, here is just a small sample of the unique – and inspiring – freshmen beginning their journey at UAlbany this fall:

Kyle Fidler, Intended Accounting Major, Oceanside, N.Y.

In 2014, Kyle Fidler was preparing to start his college career as a member of UAlbany’s Class of 2018. However, when Fidler started experiencing groin pains, his life was forever changed. One day before his scheduled move-in, Fidler was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s anaplastic large cell lymphoma. He immediately began to undergo chemotherapy.

“I started chemotherapy last September, continuing through January 2015. It was a grueling six months. Some of the hardest of my life,” Fidler said. “The reason I was able to get through it all was knowing I would be attending UAlbany the following fall. At the end of each day, I knew I was just one day closer to being done. That’s how I stayed optimistic.”

Fidler completed his treatments on schedule. He’s now looking forward to becoming a Great Dane.

“To have the opportunity to finally go to UAlbany this year means a lot to me. I made a lot of good friends already and can’t wait to start,” Fidler said. “I’m a stronger person altogether and always look to help others who may have experienced a similar situation.”

Gianna Bottone, Intended Business Administration Major, Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.

From donating food to building schools, Gianna Bottone has already made large contributions through her volunteer efforts. When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Bottone wanted to help. Her English teacher noticed Bottone (and her classmates) interest in the Haiti earthquake, and began incorporating articles about the disaster into their homework. Only in 6th grade, Bottone took a proactive approach to giving back.

“I went to my principal and asked to run a collection of donations that we would ship down to Haiti. I created flyers, made phone calls out to the community, and in total was able to get over 2.5 tons of material goods including shoes, toiletries, clothes, and toys,” Bottone said.

The work didn’t stop there. She and her friends created a non-profit organization called “Wings Over Haiti.” Together, they raised $50,000, working with a local construction company to rebuild a Haitian school. In 2012, they raised another $100,000, buying more land to build another school.

“I did this because I really wanted to help people who couldn't seem to help themselves. I felt I had the means make a difference,” Bottone said. “I had no idea how successful it would be or how many people it would help and I'm thankful for it every day.”

Emily Farrell, Intended Social Welfare Major, Menands, N.Y.

Gregory Maguire is a familiar name around the University campus. He’s a UAlbany alum, primarily known as the best-selling author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (spawning the smash Broadway musical). Maguire’s cousin, Emily Farrell, will be attending UAlbany as a freshman in 2015. Surprisingly, she did not know her cousin attended the University.

“Believe it or not, I actually had no idea that my cousin went to UAlbany. After I made my decision, I was scrolling around the website, and looked up famous alumni. When I saw Gregory Maguire was one of them, I was very excited,” Farrell said. “Seeing his face all around campus is definitely inspirational. It’s an eye-opening experience, to see how far someone can go during and after college.”

Farrell now hopes to have the same experiences her cousin did as a member of the Great Danes’ community.

“I’m excited for the incredible experiences I know are possible at UAlbany. The University has the perfect major for what I want to do,” Farrell said. I’m on my way to shaping a future career, in a field I’m passionate about. That pushes me to excel.”

Convocation and Schedule of Events:

On Saturday, August 22, to welcome the Class of 2019, the University will host Opening Convocation, a new tradition marking the official start of the academic year.

Designed to celebrate a student’s entry into higher education, the event will be held from 4 – 5 p.m. in the SEFCU Arena. It is open to incoming freshmen, their families and the UAlbany family.

In the days following Convocation, the Class of 2019 will be learn first-hand through a full schedule of events and festivities what it means to be a Great Dane.

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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.



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