"Leveraging Our Location"

The Adirondacks | The Mohawk River | Albany | Tech Valley | The city of Schenectady


In 2011, Union College strengthened its historic relationship with the Adirondacks by purchasing the former home of conservationist Paul Schaefer. The home, located in nearby Niskayuna, houses the Adirondack Research Library – the largest collection on the Adirondacks outside of the Adirondack Park.

The result is the Kelly Adirondack Center at Union College, which offers exciting opportunities to advance Union’s understanding of the mountains, wilderness and waterways of this tremendous natural resource. The Center allows Union to affirm its long connection with the Adirondacks, preserve the educational mission that has been central to the Adirondack Research Library, and increase our curricular and co-curricular programming related to the Adirondacks.

Union and the Adirondacks

Union College has a long history of intersecting in various ways with the Adirondack mountains and wilderness areas.  Some of our earliest graduates had important relationships with the region, helping to shape conservation policy and popularize the recreational value of the area.  Franklin Hough, Class of 1843, is considered the first chief of what was to become the U.S. Forestry Service, and Hough Peak in the northern Adirondacks bears his name. William James Stillman, Class of 1848, helped develop the region as a tourist destination by starting the Adirondacks Club, a summer excursion for literary and philosophical figures– including Ralph Waldo Emerson. William Fox, Class of 1860, served as the first Superintendent of the Adirondack Park.


The Kelly Adirondack Center at Union College is located on St. David’s Lane in Niskayuna, N.Y., a short 10-minute drive from campus.  It is surrounded by the 111-acre H. G. Reist Wildlife Sanctuary, which is stewarded by the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club. The complex includes a 2,400-square-foot Dutch replica home built by conservationist Paul Schaefer in 1934 and a 3,900-square-foot addition completed in 2005. Energy for the facility is supported by geothermal wells.  The property also includes award-winning perennial gardens and a bluestone amphitheater that can be used for public lectures and musical events.  It provides Union with a remarkable opportunity for hosting meetings, teaching classes and holding departmental retreats.