When Margaret Aldrich, MA �85, became the University�s new assistant vice president for University Advancement in charge of the Alumni Affairs Office and executive director of the Alumni Association last fall, she immediately saw the need to fill two critical positions: director of alumni programs, an existing post vacant for more than a year, and the new position of assistant director of Alumni Affairs for membership and marketing.
Aldrich was able to report to the University and the Alumni Association board of directors on Feb. 27 that the search processes are successfully completed, with Melissa A. Samuels joining the University as its new director of alumni programs and Cynthia "Crickett" Thomas-O�Dell as assistant director for membership and marketing.
Samuels was recently the interim director and permanent assistant director of alumni relations at RPI, where she built a comprehensive volunteer relations program. It included identification, database management, communication, education, recognition and recruitment components.
"Melissa has an extensive background of aiding organizations in the development of volunteer relations programs, publication management, program development and special event planning," said Aldrich. "She is a truly valuable addition to Alumni Affairs."
Thomas-O�Dell most recently served as director of admissions at Sage Graduate School/The Sage Colleges. "While there, she was recognize for achievements in increasing enrollment and new territory development," said Aldrich. "She has a record of accomplishment in recruiting techniques and financial aid strategies, a strong background in both marketing and membership-development, and a great amount on enthusiasm, energy, and leadership."
Aldrich added that, "we are proud of the team we are building in Alumni Affairs, and we are looking forward to working with the Alumni Association to build membership, volunteerism and greater participation."
Joseph Sarfoh, chair of the Department of Africana Studies, stands in front of the parliament building in Pretoria, South Africa. Sarfoh recently visited several parts of the country to explore potential study abroad and faculty exchange programs with South African universities. The trip was made possible by a two-year, $90,000 grant he received from the U.S. Department of Education for the University�s Africana Studies Curriculum Enrichment project.
The University at Albany is currently a Carnegie Research II university and that is an admirable ranking. However, we have the potential, through the excellence of our faculty and its research, to achieve Research I status. The Master Plan, by focusing on the University�s academic and research strengths and allowing us to physically coordinate our efforts, gives us the distinct opportunity to move up another step toward being among the greatest public universities in the country.
The Master Plan�s designs for a state-of-the-art Life Sciences facility, greater academic and research space for the social sciences, expansion of CESTM, and additional high quality and flexible lab and classroom space for all disciplines will be aimed at forging a more collaborative effort than we�ve ever had at Albany. It will build on our strengths as a flagship SUNY campus, create the utmost efficiency in terms of where people are located, and best allow us to share our strengths with each other as colleagues.
From my personal standpoint, computer and computation science complement the sciences of all other disciplines. Integrated with high speed advanced computers and networks, I foresee a greater integration with the scientific communities here and with the scientific communities statewide and nationwide.
As a department, after the Master Plan process is complete, computer science will be physically more suited to engage in cross-disciplinary education, with all the science faculties working closer together. Computer science in particular requires understanding of its application to all the disciplines. Through the coordination of scientific efforts that students will witness here, these students will realize more profoundly the very nature of science.
When you combine the physical changes that are going to make this campus more attractive, and more defined and impressive as a university community, with the enhanced ability to conduct meaningful collaborative study, the result for the entire campus is going to be one of great pride. We are creating a vision here, one that will enable us to attract more of the top-rated students in the Northeast and elsewhere. To know that our campus was regularly bringing in more of the kinds of kids that regularly go to a state university like Berkeley would put me in seventh heaven � and why not?
Xavier A. Fernandez, 94, professor emeritus of Spanish, died on Nov. 23, 1997, in Fort Meyers, Fla.
An internationally recognized scholar with respect to Classical Spanish Theater, particularly the dramas of Tirso de Molina, Fernandez was believed to be the first person to teach Spanish on television. Prior to joining the faculty at the University, he taught at Russell Sage College, Skidmore College, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was fluent in eight languages, and authored more than 40 books.
Born in San Clodio, Spain, he earned a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, Italy; a licentiate in Canon law from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.; and a doctorate in romance languages from Columbia University.