The Carillon

UAlbany’s Benevolent Association Lives Up to Its Name

Benevolent Association plaque
In May 2017, the Benevolent Association dedicated a plaque on the downtown campus. The plaque memorializes Donald Putterman, B.A.’52, M.A.’53, who served as president of the association from 2003 until 2015, and provides a brief history of the organization.

Founded in the 1920s, the University at Albany Benevolent Association initially supported dormitory construction at the New York State College for Teachers. Its first projects, Pierce Hall and Sayles Hall, opened on what is now the downtown campus in 1935 and 1941, respectively. “Alumni themselves raised the funds for the dormitories,” noted Benevolent Association board member Canon Kay Hotaling, B.S.’67, M.S.’70. “As students, many had lived in private homes, or commuted. When they graduated, they gave back to the college.”

The association sold the dorms to New York State in the 1960s and refocused its mission from providing housing for University at Albany students to supporting them through scholarships. Explained Benevolent Association President Kristina Moran Muller, B.S.’92, M.A.’99: “Several of the scholarships
are designated to certain academic programs based on provisions of a will, but a majority of the recipients are selected by the University’s Office of Financial Aid. Individual departments select recipients; the Benevolent Association does not get involved in the selection process.”

The association provides $100,000 annually to support students. Each award varies from $250 to $500, “but the decision [regarding the amount] lies with the department,” said Muller.

The Benevolent Association, added Muller, is “a quiet organization that really just serves one purpose: to oversee the funds and ensure they are managed properly. We are very proud of our long history with the University.”

Like Muller, Hotaling, now in her 70s, honors the association’s past while looking to its future: She hopes that younger alumni will step forward to serve on the nine-member board.

The Benevolent Association meets a few times a year, and while she has found that that amount of time represents “a minimal effort,” Hotaling said that prospective board members should be dedicated to the Benevolent Association’s mission.

Any candidate wishing to serve on the Benevolent Association Board of Directors must be approved by board members and by the Alumni Association board. Please email [email protected] for more information about the Benevolent Association.