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A Time to Give, from Love

University at Albany benefactors Bonnie Taylor and Daniel Wulff observe the University from the Podium. (Photo by Patrick Dodson) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 23, 2019) — Daniel Wulff, a professor of Biological Sciences who retired in 2016 after a 36-year career at UAlbany, and his wife of 62 years, Bonnie Taylor, had no hesitancy about their $5 million gift to support three University at Albany priorities.

“I’m doing it because I’m able to, and I love this place,” said Wulff.

“I’ve always had an urge to give,” said Taylor, “and you just have to know when it’s the right time. This is the time.”

The gift will be directed to areas at UAlbany to which Wulff has devoted enormous time, energy and passion: the biological sciences department; the University’s Science Research in High School program, which he founded in 1985, and a scholarship program for undergraduate students having extreme financial need.

The couple’s gift becomes part of the University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, This Is Our Time: The Campaign for UAlbany, which has now raised $120 million — 80 percent of its $150 million goal.

It was in 1980 that Wulff, after several years as a faculty-researcher at California Institute of Technology and 15 more at the University of California, Irvine — where he was a founding faculty member in 1965, and had risen to the post of assistant dean — came to UAlbany as the dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics. It was at the strong urging of his wife. "Bonnie was always encouraging me to look for something better," he said. "She thought it was a step to my becoming a college president."

That didn't work out, but the deanship of a college comprising "seven very independent departments" allowed him to "really get into research again. I got several of my grants renewed." Leaving the deanship in 1993, he found delight in teaching, particularly in taking on challenges such as an intro to biology course to 1,500 students per year, and two others well outside the box: an immunology course beginning in 1999 and, a few years later, one on nutrition.

These were departmental experiences he grew to love. Accordingly, the endowment that the couple's gift will establish will provide the department with valuable unrestricted funds, supporting research programs, visiting speakers, internships and other initiatives that enrich the student experience.

Wulff''s passion also ran to the Research in the High Schools program, which he directed until his retirement. During those years, the program exposed thousands of high school students to the field of scientific research, with many going on to gain national recognition as scientists. The endowment will help monitor programs in the individual high schools that participate, insuring the highest standards and greatest participation.

And the portion of the gift that will endow The Professor Daniel Wulff and Bonnie Taylor Scholarship for under graduates with significant financial need satisfies other strongly held priorities. “Bonnie and I believe deeply in UAlbany’s mission and excellence," he said. "It is thrilling to see students, especially those from underserved populations, achieve their dreams in an institution with the highest academic standards.”

He added, "I believe in upward mobility. I think it is important for us as a university, and it is important for us as a country."       

“Dr. Wulff’s decades of service as an outstanding teacher and scholar have had a profound impact on his students and colleagues and on the University itself,” said President Rodríguez. “This remarkable gift from Dan and Bonnie magnifies and makes permanent that impact, and we could not be more grateful.”

Vice President for Advancement Fardin Sanai also commented on the gift’s significance. “Dan and Bonnie’s gift is noteworthy not only because of its size and purpose, but also because of who its donors are,” Sanai said. “Such generous support from a revered faculty member and his spouse is a deeply meaningful statement about their belief in the fundamental importance of a UAlbany education.”

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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.