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Fostering Future Scientists through Endowments

UAlbany students studying physics or RNA-related research are benefiting from generous gifts by alums Lou DeSorbo and Neil Eisenband to foster future generations of scientists. (Photo by Mark McCarty)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 5, 2019) — RNA therapeutics and dark matter research may seem worlds apart on the science spectrum. Now UAlbany students in both fields are benefiting from generous gifts by alumni committed to fostering future generations of scientists.

Lou DeSorbo’78, MS’80, and his wife, Lori, have pledged $250,000 for the Virginia and Lori DeSorbo Scholarship for Physics. Their gift will support master’s and doctoral scholarships for students pursuing careers across science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including data analytics, applications engineering, software development and other fields.

Neil Eisenband  ’80 has pledged $130,000 to launch the RNA Student Enrichment & Legacy Endowment at UAlbany. This fund will be used to foster the RNA Institute and its students through a host of activities, including providing support for scholarships, student awards, supplies, travel and conference expenditures, and student research needs.

At UAlbany, students in the field of RNA research and physics will benefit from the generous contributions of alumni who are devoted to fostering those who will make up the future science and technology workforce.

“These programs and initiatives embody UAlbany’s excellence in research, furthering our understanding of the world around us in important ways,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Kim. “These generous contributions from our alumni give students the opportunity to engage meaningfully in that research, and prepare them to be successful in their academic and professional careers.”

UAlbany alumni Lou DeSorbo and Neil Eisenband
Lou DeSorbo (left) '78, MS '80, and Neil Eisenband '80, have pledged $250,000 and $130,000 respectively to foster future generations of scientists.

“Neil Eisenband’s funding to provide RNA Institute undergraduate fellowships is having a transformative impact on the lives of our UAlbany undergraduates because it gives them the opportunity to work full time in research labs over the summer,” said RNA Institute Director Andrew Berglund. “These summer experiences are springboards for the careers of our students with many pursuing careers in research and medicine.”

“I am grateful to have arrived at a point in my life where I can give something back,” said Eisenband. “In 2011,  I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Through its work on fundamental biological processes, it is my hope that my gift to the RNA Institute contributes to the fight against Parkinson’s.”

Eisenband graduated from the University in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and received a master’s degree in taxation from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in 1985. His career has spanned the financial, manufacturing and retail industries, where he has served as chief financial officer of companies such as PureBrands, Successories, Acuity Management Inc. and Polaroid Fotobar. A retired certified public accountant, Eisenband is now dedicated to giving back to the community in myriad ways, including as a board member of the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County and on the Financial Advisory Board of Highland Beach, Florida.

Lou DeSorbo is a double graduate of the University at Albany, having received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics in 1978 and a master’s degree in computer science in 1980.

"Physics is on the brink of great advancement,” said DeSorbo. “Let's make UAlbany an important part of the progress."

He is managing director of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and president of the WERCS. DeSorbo was the founder and managing director of the WERCS, Ltd., which was acquired by UL in 2013. He still leads the management team. The WERCS, an acronym for World-Wide Environmental and Regulatory Compliance Solutions, was designed to help chemical companies meet the hazardous communications regulatory requirements of diverse countries.

“The scholarships funded by the DeSorbos will provide qualified masters and doctoral students in the UAlbany Physics Department exceptional opportunities to develop intellectually and professionally,” said Physics Department chair Keith Earle. “The UAlbany Physics Department is pleased and excited that the efforts of our graduate students is being supported and recognized in such a tangible and meaningful way.”

DeSorbo continues to volunteer his time and to provide leadership expertise to the University as a member of the UAlbany Foundation Board of Directors since 2011, and as a member of the This is Our Time campaign executive committee. DeSorbo received the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the University Alumni Association in 2013.

The DeSorbo and Eisenband gifts add to the totals of UAlbany’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, whose core priorities include support for discovery and innovation. This Is Our Time: The Campaign for UAlbany has now raised more than $130 million toward its $150 million goal.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
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