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Initiative Brings UAlbany's Corporate Partnerships Together 

Corporate Council, Web Portal to Advance University-Industry Collaboration

Brian Straughter, president of Turf Hotels, gave career advice to the UAlbany men's basketball team in January for this semester's Speaker Series. Photo by Scott Freedman.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 7, 2019) – Businesses, from area startups to national corporations, have long forged collaborations with the University at Albany. Until this year, there was no unified, institutional approach to initiating and growing these relationships.

An initiative formed under the Division of University Advancement will seek to accelerate partnerships between the University and corporations, nonprofit organizations and private companies.

A council comprising 18 members of the University and a web portal will facilitate collaboration for research opportunities and talent development, and expand philanthropic efforts.

The portal will serve as a ‘front door’ for businesses looking to share resources and expertise, according to Terri Scalise Roller, director of corporate engagement at UAlbany.

“Too often, institutions don’t provide a single, effective entry point for their industry partners,” said Scalise Roller, who said productive university-industry partnerships results in everything from new sponsorships and recruitment efforts to research and innovation opportunities. “This initiative will strengthen coordination across the University in our interactions with the corporate community, and will create a clear pathway for businesses looking to get involved.”

The University has more than 150 corporate partners as of 2019, according to Scalise Roller.

The benefits of having a continued partnership with the University are two-fold, said Brian Straughter, president of Turf Hotels and a partner of UAlbany since 2006.

“It’s important for us to stay connected with the University, not only because the partnership serves as an economic driver, but because it allows me to stay involved in public education and to help young people grow professionally,” said Straughter, a former principal of the Mission Hill School in Boston.

Straughter and Michael Hoffman, owner of Turf Hotels, have been long-time supporters of the University’s School of Business and School of Education through establishing a scholarship as well as actively participating as mentors and guest speakers for other programs.

Straughter has also served on the University at Albany Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2010.

Corporate Council

The Division of University Advancement launched the Corporate Engagement Council in 2017 to help cultivate and maintain the University’s corporate relationships.

The council includes representatives from every area on campus that works with corporations on some level, according to Matt Grattan, director of economic development at UAlbany and a council member.

“As a coalition of thought-leaders, we can more meaningfully identify opportunities to advance research, innovation and student recruitment with our corporate partners,” Grattan said. “We look forward to building upon UAlbany’s legacy of collaboration through a more holistic, industry-focused approach.”

Randi Blender, talent acquisition manager at Enterprise Holdings, said building relationships with students is fulfilling on both a personal and professional level.

“Not only is getting involved in the college community a way I can live out our company’s values, but it’s also important that we help students get equipped with the right tools they need to succeed in their careers,” said Blender, who said she participates in a variety of professional development programs for students each semester.

Around 600 employees from Enterprise Holdings are UAlbany alumni, according to Blender.

If interested in getting involved with UAlbany as a partner, meet the team or contact the council.

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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.