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Alan Lizotte and His Wife Make $2.5 Million Donation to School of Criminal Justice 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 31, 2019) — President Havidán Rodríguez announced Tuesday that Alan Lizotte, former dean of the School of Criminal Justice, together with his wife Lisa Jackson, has made a $2.5 million gift to the University’s School of Criminal Justice (SCJ).

The gift is the largest ever to SCJ, which was founded in 1968 and offered the first PhD program in criminal justice in the country. It will create an endowed professorship and a scholarship fund for SCJ graduate students.

Lizotte and Jackson gave their gift as part of UAlbany’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, This Is Our Time: The Campaign for UAlbany, which has now raised $138 million — 92 percent of its $150 million goal.

SCJ Dean William Pridemore called the gift wonderful for the school. “An endowed professorship will help us recruit a major senior scholar to our school and keep the best scholars of crime and justice right here at UAlbany,” he said. “The endowed graduate fellowship will allow us to continue to recruit and retain the best PhD students in the field.”

Vice President for Advancement Fardin Sanai said of the gift’s significance, “Alan and Lisa’s gift is all the more meaningful because of Alan’s many important contributions to the School of Criminal Justice as dean and distinguished professor.”

Lizotte, an expert on gun control and the factors that lead to juvenile delinquency, joined SCJ in 1985 as an associate professor. He was appointed interim dean of the school in 2009 and dean in 2010, and in 2016 was named a distinguished professor. Jackson is the former news director of CBS 6, based in Niskayuna, where she worked for more than 25 years.

As dean, Lizotte learned firsthand the importance of philanthropic support. As he and Jackson planned for retirement, they factored in how they could help SCJ and its students.

“The University has been very good to me over the years, good to both of us,” Lizotte said. “So we settled that we’d like to have an endowed professorship in the School of Criminal Justice, and also a scholarship fund for graduate students that will help them get their PhDs and set them up for their careers.”

SCJ, Jackson said, is “a unique place whose excellence needs to be preserved. It’s really important that the legacy that was built so many years ago continues into the future.”

Pridemore said SCJ’s “incredible tradition” was built upon the talents and achievements of faculty members like Lizotte.

“You cannot tell the story of academic criminology and criminal justice without telling the story of the UAlbany School of Criminal Justice, and Alan has been on the faculty for two-thirds of the school’s existence,” he said. “To have a Lizotte Endowed Professorship will be incredibly fitting. For Alan and Lisa to make a commitment like this, given the legacy he has already provided to the school by his scholarship and leadership, is really fantastic. We cannot thank them enough.”

Lizotte said his own life was changed by higher education. As a veteran returning from Vietnam, he enrolled in community college where one of his professors became a mentor. “She helped me get into Brown University, where I got my bachelor’s degree. She got me a scholarship and a job and really changed my life dramatically,” he said, adding, “I’ve tried to do that in my own teaching — to impact people’s lives and change their lives.”

Lizotte and Jackson hope their gift will do just that.

— Video by Paul Miller

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