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University at Albany Foundation Salutes 2008 Citizen Laureates
E. Stewart Jones, Jr., Helen R. Desfosses, Edward P. Swyer to be honored Nov. 19

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

Helen R. Desfosses

UAlbany professor Helen R. Desfosses will receive the Academic Laureate Award.

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 18, 2008) University at Albany professor Helen R. Desfosses, attorney E. Stewart Jones, Jr., and community leader Edward P. Swyer have been named recipients of the University at Albany Foundation Citizen Laureate awards. The laureates will be honored at a black-tie dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 19. A social hour begins at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7 p.m., at the Hall of Springs in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The Foundation's Citizen Laureate Awards honor outstanding leaders in business and industry, government and academia, and are the highest honors bestowed by The University at Albany Foundation. Desfosses will receive the Academic Laureate Award, while Jones and Swyer will be honored with the Community Laureate awards.

Funds raised through the event will be used to support educational, research, and public service initiatives set by the University and managed by The University at Albany Foundation. Established in 1967 to encourage philanthropic support, The Foundation today helps to advance the University's strategic goals by leading UAlbany's fundraising, asset management, and stewardship activities.

Helen R. Desfosses, Ph.D. 
Desfosses has been a scholar, teacher, and political analyst for almost 40 years, serving most of her career at the University at Albany. She is the recipient of the Academic Laureate Award, which recognizes individuals for their notable achievements in academia and in research. Desfosses is an associate professor of Public Administration and Policy and Africana Studies at UAlbany. She served as president of the Albany Common Council, the city legislature, from 1997-2005.

The author of dozens of publications on national and international policy issues, Desfosses has served as a consultant on legislative development around the world, including the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.  Her research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Coretta Scott King Award of the American Association of University Women, the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Department of State, and by Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

Local businessman Edward P. Swyer

Businessman and entrepreneur Edward P. Swyer.

Edward P. Swyer
Edward P. Swyer, a well-known businessman and entrepreneur, is the president and CEO of The Swyer Companies, a real estate company that owns and manages commercial developments throughout the Capital Region. One of its most notable projects is Stuyvesant Plaza in Guilderland. Swyer is also the vice president of the L.A. Swyer Company, general contractors and construction managers, a company started by his father, Lewis A. Swyer, in the late 1940s. Swyer is currently a director of The University at Albany Foundation. He served as vice chairman of the Board of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. He is the recipient of the Community Laureate Award.

Working with The Nature Conservancy, Swyer, representing his family, established the Lewis A. Swyer Mill Creek preserve along the Hudson River in Columbia County. It is equipped with a boardwalk for visitors and has grown from 95 acres to 787 acres of protected land.

Through the Lewis A. Swyer Foundation, named after his late father, Edward Swyer has supported wide-ranging private initiatives at UAlbany and area colleges. They include major gifts for the Second Chance Scholarships, Presidential Scholarships, the Campaign for the Libraries, and the University Art Museum. In 1996, the University's Alumni Association named him Citizen of the Year.

E. Stewart Jones, Jr.
Born in Troy, N.Y., Jones has committed his life and career to the Capital Region. He has been elected to the four most exclusive national organizations honoring outstanding trial lawyers: the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Inner Circle of Advocates, the International Society of Barristers, and the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Jones has been a member of numerous community boards and organizations, including the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Little Sisters of the Poor, and the Teresian House Foundation. He was a member of The University at Albany Foundation Board of Directors from 1988-1998.  He is the recipient of the Community Laureate Award, recognizing notable contributions in community service and engagement.

Last spring Jones's generosity to the University at Albany's Cancer Research Center at the East Campus was recognized by naming a laboratory in his honor. The center is the signature building of UAlbany's East Campus and home to the Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics and the Center for Functional Genomics. The Center's Wall of Memory and Hope also includes a plaque in memory of his late wife, Penny.

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