Thank you so
much Marjorie…and, good afternoon everyone.
am so glad to see so many of you here today during what is
always a very busy time in our academic year. In fact, already
much has been accomplished.
you know, the Bylaws Group of the University Senate, chaired
by Professor and Senate Chair-Elect Carolyn MacDonald, has
been working diligently for almost two years on major revisions
to the Faculty Bylaws and a Charter of the University Senate.
as the Bylaws Group has begun sharing their draft with various
campus constituencies, I have had the opportunity to read
the proposed revisions and I applaud the Group for its efforts.
In conversations with Professor Pryse, I have agreed to call
a special meeting of the faculty for Monday, December 8th
at 3:00 p.m. to allow for a formal vote on the bylaws revisions.
Indeed, Marjorie and I have been trying to figure out what
incentive we might offer to get you all back here December
8th for the vote. How about a drawing for a season ticket
to Great Danes basketball? Or, a drawing for a larger office?
Whatever it takes to “get out the vote” since under the current
Bylaws, it will require 493 of us to constitute a quorum.
I do hope you all will come, and bring many colleagues with
you. Faculty Bylaws embody our deep belief in shared values
and the importance of engagement with our institution and
with each other.
Policies of the Board of Trustees specify the President or
his or her designee as the Chair of the Faculty and, in the
spirit of a proposal in the Bylaws revision, I have delegated
that role today to the Chair of the University Senate, Professor
Marjorie Pryse – and I want to thank her for presiding at
today’s meeting and for all she does, day-after-day, to advance
and enrich our university.
me also thank Professor Ed Mayer for serving as Chair of the
Faculty for the last 4 years. His grace and good humor added
much to our meetings.
there are so many among us to thank. As is the custom at this
particular Faculty meeting, I hope you will all join me in
thanking our academic leaders – those faculty who have taken
on leadership roles in their disciplines. Would all who have
recently completed their service as chairs please rise so
we can thank you for all you have contributed over the years.
join me as well in acknowledging – with thanks – all those
who are about to commence their service as chairs. Would you
you all for your wisdom, your caring and for your commitment
to the University at Albany.
as we welcome our new academic leaders, we also welcome the
newest members of our UAlbany family…faculty and staff who
define our programs and provide the kind of environment for
learning essential to our students as they prepare for fully
engaged and informed participation in a global, ever-changing
year we are so pleased to welcome some 30 new faculty - faculty
who bring tremendous talents that will assure that this institution
will continue to renew itself in service to our students and
our many communities.
you all please rise to receive our welcome?
hope everyone here today can join us for a reception and formal
introduction of all our new faculty and staff immediately
following this meeting in the Fireside Lounge. I know they
will greatly appreciate your personal words of welcome.
also want to congratulate all our faculty colleagues who were
promoted and/or tenured over the past year. They represent
the finest in the academy…and they do honor to us all.
am also delighted today to congratulate two of our colleagues
who have been promoted by the Board of Trustees to the highest
rank within the State University of New York, that of Distinguished
Professor…a rank which recognizes exceptional contributions
in research and teaching. The contributions of these faculty
have helped to define their respective fields.
unfortunately, they could not be with us today, please join
me in congratulating, in alpha order, Distinguished Professor
Marlene Belfort of the Department of Biomedical Sciences in
the School of Public Health, and Distinguished Professor Edward
Hannan of the Department of Health Policy, Management and
Behavior also in the School of Public Health.
also want to take this opportunity to welcome and thank two
exceptional academic leaders who will be assuming the role
of Dean…who have taken on the tremendous responsibility to
lead their faculties in furthering their fields and, in so
doing, advancing our institution.
First, again in alpha order, Dr. Peter Bloniarz, Dean of Information
Sciences; and Dr. Susan Phillips, Dean of Education.
will all benefit from your leadership – thank you both.
times of fiscal challenge, the University at Albany, like
all institutions of higher education requires prudent and
wise financial stewardship. We are all so fortunate that Kathryn
Lowery has accepted the position of Vice President for Finance
and Business. She is prudent, she is wise…and she cares deeply
about our institution – one she has served in various capacities
for some 25 years.
join me in congratulating and thanking our own Kathy Lowery.
like all institutions of higher education, inestimably benefits
from its volunteer leadership…individuals who, in addition
to their “day jobs,” contribute tremendous amounts of time
to helping to advance their adopted university. We here at
UAlbany are blessed with an active and engaged University
Council and University at Albany Foundation. All the members
of these organizations care deeply about our welfare and the
future of our institution. While they couldn’t be with us
today, I would like to formally thank Mr. George M. Philip,
Executive Director, NYS Teacher’s Retirement System, who chairs
the University Council, and Mr. George R. Hearst, III, Chair
of our UAlbany Foundation, and the leader of our $500M Bold.Vision.
individuals, and all the volunteers who work tirelessly for
us all, have contributed so much to making UAlbany a very
special institution of higher learning.
I end these “thank yous” with a very special group of people.
you know, we have, over the last several years, been examining
ways to enrich the educational experience here at UAlbany.
The 6-Point Plan I presented last year at this time, and which
I reported on this past Spring, dealt with teaching excellence.
I asked us to review, together, additional ways we could continue
to enhance the environment for learning here at UAlbany. The
plan for institutional investment and programming I proposed
a year ago has led to such major initiatives as our new Innovations
in Teaching Program, with eight new faculty projects ongoing
to improve our educational programs; a major refurbishing
of 27 of our teaching spaces – including 6 lecture centers
and all 21 classrooms in the Humanities building; and, the
establishment of a new Awards and Recognition Program for
the part-time faculty and graduate student teaching assistants
who are so critical to our teaching mission.
me now in thanking and congratulating the first winners of
these new UAlbany Teaching Awards. Jill Hanifan, of the Department
of English, and The Honorable Eleanor Stein, of the Department
of Women’s Studies are the winners of the 2003 University
at Albany President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by
to you both!
please join me in thanking Susan M. Hughes of the Department
of Psychology, and Raymie Wayne of the School of Social Welfare
who are the recipients of the 2003 University at Albany President’s
Award for Excellence in Teaching by Teaching Assistants.
to you both.
four members of our UAlbany family epitomize the best in the
art of teaching. They care deeply for their students and,
as a result, allow us to address our teaching mission in ways
essential to fulfilling our institutional vision.
is so very fitting that we thank those among us who have given
of themselves…given that extra measure of devotion to our
beloved University at Albany. This university is defined now
and into the future, not by its buildings, not even by its
academic programs, but rather by its faculty, staff, students,
alumni and friends…those people who have been shaped by –
and have helped to shape – this very special place of learning.
It is their devotion and talent and passion for learning and
discovery which allow this university to endure…indeed, to
thrive. This university will continue to move forward; will
continue to serve with excellence its students, the citizens
of New York, our nation, our entire global community through
all the people who have called the University at Albany their
University…who, over the years, have given so much to create
the legacy of excellence each of us here today is committed
to protect, preserve and advance across the fullness of our
years ago this coming November 8th, I was privileged to address
the University at Albany family when I was inaugurated as
the 16th President of this exceptional institution of higher
learning. Even as I committed myself to the values and ideals
of this great university, to the intellectual and personal
growth of our students, to the essential freedoms so critical
to our faculty’s research and scholarship, I also called on
the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of UAlbany
to be bold…to be engaged. I said at the time:
“We must be bold as, together, we envision the future of the
University at Albany. We must engage with each other, engage
with those we serve – our students and the citizens of New
York; engage with our national and global colleagues – all
toward the end of deep engagement with our University and
its future in the context of great societal change. Such engagement
has been the tradition of our University; it must continue
many of you have been bold – have been deeply engaged – as
you have advanced our university’s legacy.
am extremely proud of what we have achieved – together – over
these past seven years…achievements which will help to define
our University’s future. We have developed challenging and,
often, unique new academic programs to attract, challenge
and retain ever-more talented and committed students and help
prepare them for their future. We have expanded in a major
way our physical environment to support our faculty’s superb
programs of research and scholarship and teaching – from state-of-the-art
science and technology facilities, to the visual arts to a
new library, new residential and recreational facilities,
new support services; indeed, an entire new campus. We have
commenced the largest private fund-raising campaign – Bold.Vision.
– of any campus in the history of public higher education
in New York.
we have done all these things working together and in partnership
with our state, the federal government and innumerable private
sector colleagues. We have developed with these many partners
new strategies that have allowed us to advance our programs
even in times of major fiscal constraint.
And, perhaps most important of all, you, the members of our
University at Albany family, are increasingly engaged; and,
through that engagement with your colleagues, students and
local, state, national and global partners, you will continue
to move this institution forward in ways which embrace and
advance our shared vision for this exceptional place.
most of you probably know by now, I was recently a finalist
for the University of Florida presidency. Being asked to become
a candidate in that search caused me to think deeply about
my future…the next phase of my professional life. From the
time I heard that I had been nominated, and throughout the
process as it evolved, I naturally thought long and hard about
where I was in my career and whether I had fulfilled the hopes
and dreams I had held for my presidency at the University
academic year marks my twelfth year here at the University
at Albany…four as Vice President of Academic Affairs, one
year as Interim President and now my 7th year as President.
Together, we have done much to preserve and enrich the legacy
that is the University at Albany…to move ever closer to the
vision I enunciated for the University at Albany when I accepted
the responsibility and deep honor of the presidency. Let me
repeat it now:
“As at its founding, this University will be known for its
ability to anticipate and address creatively the needs of
its students and its various communities, and will have the
courage to realign itself to newly emerging realities, even
as it preserves its basic defining values. It will be committed
to the intellectual and ethical growth of its students. It
will be an inclusive community which advances the diversity
of its faculty, students and staff, and which recognizes and
seeks to enhance the rich potential of differences of opinion
and culture. It will be an institution committed to excellence
and willing to take risks as it constantly renews itself in
service to society.”
of you – through your exceptional talents, your commitment
to and love of this wonderful academic community we all share
– has moved us ever closer to the fulfillment of this vision.
the leadership of the finest group of Vice Presidents and
Deans I have ever been privileged to work with, we have broken
new ground – literally and figuratively.
I am deeply proud of what we have all achieved, even as there
is clearly much yet to be done to fulfill our shared vision
for this exceptional university.
the momentum is there, as is the passion you all have for
excellence. As I said a moment ago, thanks to you, this university
will continue to move forward in new and important ways.
reality…that our university will, through all of you, continue
to grow and to thrive…figured heavily in my thinking over
the last several months, as I pondered whether I would seriously
consider a new post. The very fact that I decided to actively
pursue my nomination as president of the University of Florida,
clarified for me that I am clearly ready for a new set of
challenges. As we all know, transitions – while often difficult
- can be very healthy, for individuals and institutions...and
I have decided that the time has come for such a change. It
is the right time, personally and institutionally. Having
come to this realization after long and often painful introspection,
I have submitted my resignation to Chancellor King, to be
effective at the end of this academic year.
the Florida search process, I was deeply touched by the outpouring
of support I received here at the University at Albany and
throughout the community; however, the reasons for my serious
consideration of that opportunity have not gone away.
words can not express my feelings when I learned of the Resolution
passed by the University Senate yesterday evening voicing
their strong support for me and affirming their confidence
in my leadership. This Resolution is deeply gratifying and
deeply appreciated. My decision to resign has been extraordinarily
painful; and this Resolution of support from the University
Senate made that decision all the more difficult.
since I feel so strongly that this is the right time for such
a change, my resignation is, I believe, appropriate and in
keeping with my deep respect for and love of this institution
and all who are a part of it.
will be here throughout this academic year to continue working
with all of you to fulfill our shared goals of research and
teaching excellence, and I will do all I can to assure an
orderly and productive transition. I know that each of you
will lend your support, wisdom and guidance during this time
of change and new opportunity. I know we all care deeply for
the University at Albany – what it is now and what it can
become. And know that each of you – and all you do day after
day to enrich the lives of our students and to better our
world through your new insights and discoveries – will be
in my heart for the rest of my life.
I am not yet saying farewell, do know that I will miss you
all – each and every member of the University at Albany family
– more than I can ever say.
me end by paraphrasing the thoughts I expressed at the commencement
of my presidency here…
am privileged to have been the President of the University
at Albany at a time of major societal transformation. Throughout
its history…to the present…the faculty, staff, students and
alumni of our great institution have taken leadership; have
helped to shape the future. I can not think of a group of
colleagues with whom I would rather have shared such a defining
moment for the academy, and for our institution.
care deeply, you are willing to risk, and you value excellence.
am privileged and honored to have served as your President.