Welcome to Spring 2023!

February 3, 2023

Dear UAlbany Community, 

Welcome to Spring 2023 at the University at Albany! I hope you had a restful intersession because two weeks into the semester, we have so much to be excited about already. 

On the eve of the first day of classes, UAlbany welcomed new SUNY Chancellor John B. King Jr., who toured ETEC and received a crash course in the fascinating and impactful teaching and research happening there. ETEC, by the way, recently received LEED Platinum certification for building efficiency, an important validation of the hard work by Facilities and our campus Sustainability team to minimize UAlbany’s carbon footprint. 

We had much to discuss with Chancellor King, including the ongoing work to reintegrate the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) into UAlbany and the endless possibilities this unlocks for our teaching and research; our recent award of $2.5 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to develop more inclusive approaches to teaching STEM disciplines; and nearly $2 million in new federal funding to support research involving the New York State Mesonet and UAlbany’s distinctive Ion Beam Lab.  

Earlier that same day, we learned that Associate Professor Wendy Raphael Roberts of the English Department discovered an important unknown work by poet Phillis Wheatley (Peters), a development that has sent ripples through the literary community.  

We capped that first week by announcing the biggest gift in the 40-year history of the New York State Writers Institute (NYSWI), a $1 million endowed directorship made possible by the generosity of Chet and Karen Opalka. That weekend, UAlbany hosted the Albany Pro Musica High School Choral Festival with 155 students from about 30 High Schools, an outstanding community event that would not have been possible without our music faculty and the staff in the Performing Arts Center and in Student Affairs.

All this sets an important tone for the coming semester, in which I hope we are all committed to attempting big things we have never done before. Searches are underway for some 49 new faculty positions, 27 of them in disciplines related to artificial intelligence – the largest cluster hire in UAlbany’s history. And we will close the semester with an event focusing on our strong commitment to student success, experiential learning, and engagement and service, the inaugural UAlbany Showcase on April 27. 

Championed by Provost Carol Kim, the Showcase will be a marquee University-wide event that highlights the remarkable depth and breadth of the teaching, research, creative activity, and service happening at UAlbany. You do not want to miss it. 

Before then, I encourage you to mark your calendars for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in the Campus Center on Feb. 21, the topic of which this year is Radical Empathy: Finding a Path to Bridging Racial Divides. 

I also hope you will make a point to head over to Hudson Valley Community College to cheer for our basketball teams while the long-awaited renovations at SEFCU Arena continue. The women’s team is - once again - the talk of the America East this year, and we’re looking forward to a thrilling conclusion to the season. 

Lastly, please join me in welcoming Melissa Connolly this week as the University’s new vice president for communications and marketing. Melissa will make a fantastic addition to the Executive Council (EC) as we work to ensure everyone knows about the great things happening at UAlbany, locally, nationally, and globally.
I know I speak for the entire EC in wishing you a successful and healthy semester and a very happy new year. 

Go Great Danes!



Signature of Havidan Rodriguez

Havidán Rodríguez