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UAlbany Increases Opportunities for Best and Brightest Students with Establishment of 'The Honors College'

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 1, 2005) -- As the centerpiece of its commitment to excellence in undergraduate education, the University at Albany unveiled today a new University-wide, interdisciplinary Honors College. The College will ultimately include approximately 500 top-flight undergraduate students who will complete specialized course work, conduct research and work closely with distinguished faculty in a vibrant living-learning community.

The Honors College will begin in Fall 2006 and will offer opportunities for specialized course work, research, and the chance to work closely with distinguished faculty.
The Honors College will begin in Fall 2006 and will offer opportunities for specialized course work, research, and the chance to work closely with distinguished faculty.

"The creation of the Honors College at the University at Albany is a defining moment and a powerful weight as we embark on new ways to promote academic merit and achievement at the University," said President Kermit L. Hall. "While the University has always been a destination for some of the most talented and motivated students in New York and from around the world, we now have yet another reason for them to join us in Albany. This College showcases a renewed commitment to all undergraduate education, and fulfills our distinctive role as one of the state's four research centers, where high quality graduate and undergraduate education reinforce each other."

"We expect that the Honors College at the University at Albany will drive excellence and achievement in undergraduate education and offer exceptional opportunities to the best students in the state and the nation," said State University of New York Acting Chancellor John R. Ryan.

The College, which will report to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, will provide students with learning opportunities that would not be possible in larger classes. Students will also develop their own original year-long research project, a capstone intellectual experience to be completed in the senior year. Students will also participate in service learning, where their classroom studies will compliment community involvement. The Honors College will prepare students to compete successfully for national and international scholarships as well as in admission to graduate and professional schools.

"One of our most important missions at the University at Albany is to continually strive to improve the undergraduate experience," said Provost and Executive Vice President Susan Herbst. "With this college, we will be creating a community of scholars - students and faculty - who work together in a challenging environment to stimulate the highest levels of academic achievement. The Honors College will engage faculty members in the honors activities of undergraduates at an unprecedented level, as students complete in-depth studies with nationally recognized scholars."

"The Honors College at UAlbany will bring together faculty and students who share interests and allow for more one-on-one teaching and learning. This kind of mentorship is particularly conducive to 'learning by doing,'" said Steven F. Messner, Distinguished Teaching Professor and chair of the University Senate. "Moreover, as honors students become active learners, they will be better able to serve as peer mentors for other students. The Honors College thus promises to create a genuine community of scholars encompassing both students and faculty."

Initially, 150 new students are to be admitted each year, with currently enrolled University Scholars invited to apply for admission. Honors College students will be required to take six honors courses before their junior year. At that time, all students must be enrolled in departmental honors programs. A senior thesis or creative project is also required for all Honors College graduates.

The Honors College at Albany will serve as a beacon for excellence in undergraduate education, across all schools and colleges at the University, underscoring the importance of rigorous scholarship and original research. Unlike many university honors programs in the United States, the Honors College will integrate cutting edge education, intensive faculty involvement, programming far beyond the classroom, as well as citizenship and community engagement.


The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages more than 17,000 diverse students in nine degree-granting schools and colleges. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit

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