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$300,000 Gift Creates Scholarships for Visually Impaired and Disabled Students

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 23, 2006) -- A $300,000 gift from a Class of '51 alumna and her husband will provided scholarships for disabled students of the University at Albany.

The gift from retired schoolteacher Goldie Brenner Swartz, B.A.'51, and her husband, Howard Swartz, of Longboat Key, Florida, will provide financial support tuition, room and board for visually impaired or disabled students. The first Goldie Brenner Swartz '51 and Howard Swartz Scholarship is expected to be awarded in the fall of 2007, with a new recipient to be named every four years, in perpetuity.

"We both felt that we wanted to do something to help students having difficulty going to college because of lack of funds," said Goldie, who taught elementary school for 28 years. "As we talked more and more, we realized how satisfying it would be to help a student who was visually handicapped, though not necessarily blind. We wanted to give someone an opportunity to overcome that disability and to lead a successful life."

"This is an exceptional gift with a unique purpose," said President Hall. "Our disabled students need advocates to believe in their success as they focus on learning and the business of being students. I am very grateful to the Swartzes for their generosity and support."

The University currently has more than 460 students registered with its Office of Disabled Student Services, which was established in 1974. Well over 1,200 students with disabilities have gone on to graduate and become employed in all walks of life.

The Swartzes, who met in 1949, married in 1950, when Goldie was still a student at the New York State College for Teachers, UAlbany's predecessor institution. Howard Swartz, who is himself visually impaired, said he struggled through elementary school and college because of his disability. With his wife's support, he graduated from Siena College in 1955, and eventually established his own business. The Swartzes said it is their hope to help students with similar challenges.

The donation and a recent gift from the Class of 2006 have been added to the University at Albany's Inaugural Scholarship Fund, helping to push it past the $2 million mark. Class of 2006 President Darwin Jones presented a donation of $12,518 to President Hall during commencement ceremonies on May 21, 2006.

The Inaugural Scholarship Fund was jumpstarted with $100,000 that the campus could have spent on a presidential inauguration. Instead, Hall declined a formal inauguration, and he and his wife, Phyllis, personally pledged $10,000 toward the fund. It had grown to more than $1.7 million before the announcement of the Goldie Brenner Swartz '51 and Howard Swartz Scholarship and the graduating class's gift. The fund provides need-based undergraduate student scholarships.

Currently $1 million of the Inaugural Scholarship Fund has been earmarked for The Honors College at the University at Albany, a high-powered interdisciplinary enterprise for undergraduates focused on faculty-student mentorship, research, citizenship and academic excellence. The Honors College will open its doors this fall with an enrollment of 150 students. 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.

Another $700,000 of the fund has been allocated for other need-based student scholarships.


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 10 schools and colleges. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit the University at Albany. Visit UAlbany's extensive roster of Faculty Experts.

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