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UAlbany Announces Commencement Weekend 2005

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980
Karl Luntta (518) 265-4114 cell
Michael Parker (518) 265-3910 cell
Media Note >>

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 10, 2005) -- The University at Albany will hold its Commencement Weekend 2005, which includes a formal graduate commencement ceremony on May 14, the main undergraduate degree conferral ceremony on May 15, and departmental and school recognition ceremonies throughout the weekend. An estimated 2,500 students are expected to participate in the 161st commencement ceremonies including 1,800 undergraduate and 700 graduate candidates.

The undergraduate degree conferral ceremony will take place on Sunday, May 15, at 10 a.m. on the New Library lawn, uptown campus. UAlbany President Kermit Hall will deliver the address. Hall will also give the graduate commencement address, which will be held at the uptown campus Recreation and Convocation Center (RACC) on Saturday, May 14, at 9 a.m.

The undergraduates will receive degrees in 50 different majors, including Information Science and Policy, Business, Biology, Communication, Economics, English, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology. There are 20 military veterans in the Class of 2005. UAlbany’s undergraduate class hails from 43 foreign countries including China, Japan, Cyprus and Ghana, as well as 19 states of the union. About 90 undergraduates participated in the Presidential Scholars program, which recognizes and nurtures students with distinguished high school academic records. The average cumulative GPA for the undergraduate class is 3.1; seven students are graduating with a perfect 4.0. Slightly more than half - 53 percent - of the Class of 2005 are women.

On Saturday afternoon (May 14) a family picnic will be held on the Podium. UAlbany’s Commencement Weekend also includes Torch Night (May 14 at 8:30 p.m. on the Podium, uptown campus), a traditional ceremony in which the senior class “hands the torch” to the junior class, along with a fireworks display.

The commencement weekend coincides with Hall’s first 100 days in office. During this time Hall has set undergraduate education, academic success, community involvement and fundraising for scholarships as primary goals for the University. In one of his first initiatives, he created the Inaugural Scholarship Fund, seeded with money that would have been spent on the presidential inauguration. Hall also announced plans to refocus the goals and direction of UAlbany’s capital campaign to place an increased emphasis on student success.

Observing a need to increase the visibility and accessibility of the President to students, Hall immediately established an office on the uptown campus academic podium and initiated several forums to receive feedback and information. He regularly walks the podium, meeting and greeting students and faculty, listening to their issues and concerns. His “Voice of the Customer” initiative and the “Ask the President” button the President’s web page are designed to find out how well the institution is delivering a quality academic and campus experience. “Guaranteeing a quality undergraduate experience is a top priority for UAlbany,” said Hall. “The best people to tell us how we're doing are our students and their parents.”

Hall also met with members of the neighborhoods that surround the downtown campus. “It is vital to the success of this University and the people it serves to discuss where we stand as neighbors, where we intend to be in the future, and, most important, how we're going to get there,” President Hall said.

The president led the school through a major overhaul of its annual Fountain Day celebration. The event was moved from a weekday to a weekend to avoid disruption of classes. New protocols were undertaken to ensure a safe and fun event, including additional activities, food and prizes. “Fountain Day 2005” was attended by more than 6,300 students, faculty and staff, and was hailed as a universal success, raising the bar for school spirit at UAlbany. Hall also published a new book, The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, which mentions “is sure to become the standard in the field.”

For more information on departmental recognition ceremonies and other commencement activities, visit All commencement activities will take place, rain or shine, as scheduled. In the event of severe weather (lightning, high winds), an announcement will be posted on the Web site and the Commencement Info Line (518) 442-5310, noting any cancellations.

MEDIA NOTE: At the undergraduate degree conferral ceremony on May 15, media will have assisted access to a balcony located in the New Library that overlooks the stage and seating area. In addition, a platform will be roped off for media who wish to set up tripods, etc. to the right of the stage facing the New Library. Parking will be available.

At the graduate ceremony on May 14, media will have access to most areas of the Recreation and Convocation Center (RACC). An area near the stage will be roped off for those who wish to set up tripods, etc. Parking will be available via the RACC bus turnaround - plan to see the UPD officer stationed at the entrance. Contact Karl Luntta at (518) 265-4114 (cell) if you need assistance.


The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages more than 16,000 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