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President Hall Gives Progress Report

by Greta Petry (May 10, 2006)

Hall Names Endowed Professorships

President Kermit L. Hall addresses faculty and staff at the Spring Faculty Meeting on April 26 in the Performing Arts Center.

President Kermit L. Hall addresses faculty and staff at the Spring Faculty Meeting on April 26 in the Performing Arts Center.

President Kermit L. Hall named the first recipients of two endowed professorships at the Spring Faculty Meeting on April 26.

Hall named Professor Kenneth L. Demerjian, director of the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) and professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences as the Ray Falconer Endowed Chair in atmospheric sciences. He named Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Eric Block to the Carla Rizzo Delray '42 Professorship.

Hall said, "The University at Albany is becoming a recognized leader in the sciences both nationally and abroad. We owe this to the distinguished work of professors like Eric Block and Kenneth Demerjian, two of our most accomplished and devoted researchers in their respective fields."

Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology Richard Hall was named as this year's Collins Fellow.

Hall reviewed the University's progress over the past year, demonstrating how he has stayed on course with a focused and fast-paced agenda. In a newsy address to faculty and staff at the Performing Arts Center, Hall cited the formation of The Honors College for undergraduates, the commitment of new funds to mentored undergraduate research projects, and the preeminence of the New York State Writers Institute as indicators of rising academic success.

Hall said the Writers Institute is "one of the great jewels of this University," and praised the institute for being host to 11 Pulitzer Prize-winners, as well as authors who have won two National Book awards, two Booker prizes, two Academy awards, and one Nobel Prize.

On the goal of greater internationalization, Hall said a major in globalization is moving through the approval process, and noted UAlbany has more students studying abroad than any other SUNY school.

In addition, he noted the creation of the China Working Group, said 30 University presidents will visit this summer from Jiangsu Province, and added that Party Secretary of Jiangsu Province Li Yuanchao will be visiting for commencement.

It has also been announced by the Provost's office and by President Hall in his speech that Professor of Geography and Planning Ray Bromley has been named interim vice provost for International Education. The creation of a vice provost position signals the vital importance of international education for Albany.

Bromley will succeed Professor John Rohrbaugh of the Rockefeller College, who has served as director of International Education for several years.

Moving on to science, the president said that last year the Life Sciences Research Building was half-empty, but after new faculty arrive this fall, the building will be nearly full. He said the University has an agreement with Ordway for joint hiring of faculty. In addition, the Gen*NY*Sis Center for Cancer Genomics has opened and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has the new $425 million Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery and Expansion (INDEX).

On the issue of course availability, progress has been made in matching student demand to course supply, in developing better advising, and in creating a scheduling group. He also said Lecture Centers 3 and 4 are being returned to classroom use.

As of Spring 2005, the University had pursued a half-billion dollar campaign with an endowment of less than $16 million. In the past year the endowment has been increased by 10 percent, and alumnus Norm Snyder donated $5 million, the largest gift ever to the School of Business.

Hall reported the Inaugural Scholarship Fund exceeded its initial $1 million goal two months early. It now stands at $1.7 million, and the first scholarships have been awarded.

The University is doing a better job of reaching out to the community, the president also reported. Our involvement with the Alliance for Young Talent with Albany High School, the Midtown Homeownership Initiative, greater connections with neighborhood associations, regular meetings with Mayor Jerry Jennings and Saint Rose President R. Mark Sullivan, and redevelopment planning of Alumni Quad are among the markers for progress.

Turning to enrollment, the president noted undergraduate applications are up 13 percent and graduate applications are up 14 percent, making for a record number of applications this year.

Under the campus financial plan, the University expects modest enrollment growth, deficit reduction of $1 million per year, the hiring of 100 new junior faculty over five years, and selective investment of $1 million per year for strategic initiatives.

Regarding safety downtown, Hall noted there are increased police patrols, new security cameras at Alumni Quad, a stronger relationship with the Albany Police Department, and a reduction in reported campus crime, down from 317 incidents from January-April 15 of 2004 to 218 in the same period in 2006.


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