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Kermit L. Hall Takes Post as UAlbany's 17th President

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 1, 2005) -- Kermit L. Hall today formally assumed the presidency of the University at Albany. Hall, approved by the State University of New York Board of Trustees on Dec. 29 after a nationwide search, is UAlbany's 17th president.

Hall was president and professor of history of Utah State University from 2000 until his arrival at UAlbany, and previously served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs and professor of history at North Carolina State University. At Ohio State University, he was executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of law and history. He has held several academic and administrative positions at the University of Tulsa and the University of Florida.

"It will be a privilege to lead the campus to a new level of academic excellence," Hall said. "The University at Albany community clearly understands that academics come first, and that the best prescription for continued growth in the stature of the institution is to become even more competitive as an academic enterprise."

Within days of the SUNY trustees’ approval, Hall visited the UAlbany campus to meet with faculty, staff, and students, as well as state and community leaders, to establish a smooth transition to the presidency. With an enrollment of 11,000 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students, UAlbany is the flagship SUNY campus for research and education in nanoscale science and engineering, atmospheric sciences, criminal justice, public affairs and policy, demography, clinical psychology, literacy and writing, education, public health, information resources management, and social welfare. In addition to nine schools and colleges, UAlbany has a Division I athletics program.

"The University has an exquisite combination of strong arts and sciences programs, great public and human service programs, and cutting-edge initiatives in technology, notably in nanoscience and biotechnology," Hall said.

Hall emphasizes the undergraduate academic experience as essential to the intellectual life of a university. During his tenure as president of Utah State University, he continued to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in history, law and political science. He plans to continue to teach at UAlbany.

At Utah State, a land grant university of Utah with 23,500 students and a $600 million budget, Hall led efforts to improve freshman retention rates, attract better prepared undergraduates, and increase the number of doctoral students. He also implemented a program for students seeking nationally competitive scholarships and worked to raise endowed dollars for scholarships, increase resources for graduate fellowships, and boost sponsored research. He attracted $10 million for a new recital hall, the largest single individual gift in Utah State’s history.

Hall has written and edited twenty-one books on the American legal and constitutional system, including The Law of the Land: A History of the Supreme Court (Prince Frederick, Maryland: Recorded Books, 2003, fourteen 35-minute lectures on the history of the Supreme Court of the United States), The Magic Mirror: Law in American History (New York, Oxford University Press, 1989; 2nd revised edition forthcoming in 2006). He is also the editor-in-chief of the award-winning Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (New York, Oxford University Press, 2nd revised edition, 2005), and the Oxford Companion to American Law (New York, Oxford University Press, 2002). His books have been main and alternate selections of the History Book Club and the Book of the Month Club.

He was one of five Americans appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Assassination Record Review Board in 1992 to review and release to the public documents related to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. For his commitment to openness in government, the American Library Association bestowed its James Madison Award on him in 1999.

Hall received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Minnesota. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron, a master’s degree in 1967 from Syracuse University and a master of studies in law degree from Yale University in 1980. He is a graduate of two Harvard University professional education programs: the Harvard Seminar for New Presidents in 2001 and the Harvard Institute for Educational Management in 1993.

Hall’s selection capped a process that began in October 2003 when then-President Karen R. Hitchcock announced her resignation. Hall, the unanimous choice of the Presidential Search Committee, took over from John R. Ryan, president of SUNY Maritime College, who served as UAlbany’s interim president from February 2004 until Hall’s arrival.


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