UAlbany MagazineUniversity at Albany

From the Podium and Beyond

By Carol Olechowski

Thomas L. Gais (Photo David Shaffer)

Gais Heads Rockefeller Institute

Thomas L. Gais, who served as acting director of the University at Albany’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government since November 2009, has been named director. His appointment was effective July 1. Gais joined the institute in 1994, directing its Federalism Research Group from 1996-2005 and serving as institute co-director from 2005-09.



Chancellor Introduces “The Power of SUNY”

In a bid to promote enduring economic vitality, encourage graduates to remain in New York, and enhance citizens’ quality of life, the State University of New York system is unleashing “The Power of SUNY.”

The strategic plan, launched last spring, resulted from several months of collaboration by Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher; the SUNY Board of Trustees; campus presidents, students and staff; and community members. By emphasizing SUNY’s role as an economic catalyst for the state and the nation, collaborating with public and private entities, and promoting environmental and health initiatives, the program promises to revitalize New York’s economy, create new job opportunities, and advance environmental responsibility while continuing to prepare a well-educated workforce.

University President George Philip and Dean Donald Siegel unveil new building design (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Watch unveiling of new School of Business building

School of Business Unveils Architectural Plans

ithin the next three years, UAlbany’s School of Business will have a new home.

In May, University President George Philip and Dean Donald Siegel unveiled the design for the school’s new building. The 96,000-square foot, $64 million structure will “enhance innovation, entrepreneurship, community engagement, collaboration, faculty research and the student experience,” noted Siegel.

Perkins+Will, a recognized leader in higher education design and sustainable architecture, included technologically advanced classrooms and meeting spaces, breakout rooms for team projects, expanded space for career services, student reception areas, collaborative research centers, additional graduate assistant workspace, and a trading room in the architectural plans. The plans draw inspiration from surrounding uptown campus buildings, which were designed in the 1960s by noted architect Edward Durell Stone.

The building, scheduled for completion in 2013, will be located on the uptown campus. To date, donors have contributed more than $4 million in private support toward construction. The overall goal for private donations is $10 million, with the remaining funding allocated by the State of New York.

(Photo Mark Schmidt)

Watch launch of RNA Institute

UAlbany Launches RNA Initiative

A new initiative at the University is bringing together leading scientists in a state-of-the-art setting to harness the power of RNA for development and delivery of ground-breaking medicines, vaccines and diagnostics.

Launched in June at the Life Sciences Research Building, the initiative will spur early phase, novel RNA-based drug discovery leading to innovative medicines, drug therapies and technologies, and cures for such diseases as breast cancer, drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV, depression, and ALS, neurofibromatosis and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Department of Theatre Celebrates 100 Years

Robert Willower ’64, Lillian Turner ’64, James Lobdell ’67, and Peter Jack Tkatch ’64 enjoy the 100 Years of Theatre Exhibit in the Performing Arts Center’s Lab Theatre. Approximately 80 alumni returned to campus in April to attend at least one of the three days of the reunion. Many others visited during the semester to see the exhibit.

Watch 100 Years of Theatre at UAlbany


Acker, Berger Are Collins Fellows

istinguished Teaching Professor of Criminal Justice James Acker and Professor of History Iris Berger were named Collins Fellows for 2010.

James Acker (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Acker joined the UAlbany faculty as a lecturer in 1988. A full professor since 1999 and a Distinguished Teaching Professor since 2004, he served as dean of the School of Criminal Justice from 2000-02. An exceptional teacher, respected mentor and outstanding scholar, Acker was instrumental in creating both the Albany Criminal Justice Association and the campus chapter of the national criminal justice honor society, Alpha Phi Sigma. He also co-directs the Capital Punishment Research Initiative.

Iris Berger (Photo Mark Schmidt)

During her 29 years on the faculty, Berger has taught in the University’s departments of History, Women’s Studies and Africana Studies. Her service to UAlbany includes six years (2001-07) as chair of the history department and four years (1991-95) as director of the Institute for Research on Women. Berger, who played a key role in developing both the Women’s Studies program and Initiatives for Women, has been recognized for her scholarship and service with such honors as the Bread and Roses Award and the President's Award for Excellence in Academic Service.

Berger and Acker were honored during UAlbany’s graduate commencement ceremony in May.

Giants Training Camp at UAlbany (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Watch Giants Training Camp at UAlbany

Giants Return to UAlbany

For the 15th straight year, the New York Giants delighted their Capital Region fans by returning to their pre-season training camp on UAlbany’s uptown campus.

The team arrived Aug. 1 and left on the 20th; in between, there were plenty of practice sessions for fans to attend. Attendance for the first 14 summers of the camp averaged 33,000.
Since 1996, the Giants have spent part of each summer at the University. They have a two-year option to return through 2012.

NSF CAREER Award Goes to Siwei Lyu

For his achievements and potential, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has presented Professor of Computer Science Siwei Lyu its prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award.

The five-year, $500,000 award supports Lyu’s work in developing new methods to detect digital images that have been altered. His project, “A New Statistical Framework for Natural Images with Applications in Vision,” examines a new mathematics-based language to describe images and build models to more effectively capture the statistical properties of natural images.