Union College News Archives

News story archive

Navigation Menu

‘Just for Juniors’ program draws record numbers to Union

Posted on May 30, 2005

Schenectady's biggest barbecue — 500 visitors come to learn about college admissions

Some 500 visitors, friends and staff members will get together today at noon in the Union College Memorial Fieldhouse for a barbecue that is being billed as:  “How to Eat like a Union Student for Free!”

As part of the Admissions Office “Junior Jump Start Open House” today, May 30, high school juniors and their parents from far and wide are visiting Union to learn more about the college admissions process and Union College.

“This open house will provide juniors and their parents with the proper tools to navigate the college process while learning more about Union and the college essay, the college interview and financial aid,” said Dean of Admissions Dan Lundquist.

The experienced Admissions and Financial Aid staff at Union will help answer these questions and many more. The day is designed to help ease the worries often associated with the college process.

Union received a record-high number of applications this year — a total of 4230 for 560 freshman slots. In addition, academic quality increased with SAT scores of admitted students averaging 1310 and 62 percent in the top 10 percent of their high school class.

Today's schedule is as follows

9:15- 10 a.m.

“The College Process Starts Here”

Welcoming Remarks and an Admissions Overview

10:00 a.m.

“Explore the Nooks and Crannies of a College Campus”

The college tour

“How to get your MD, MBA and MAT”

Learn what these letters stand for and how to be part of our accelerated programs

“Is Math or Science your Thing?”

Explore the Engineering and Computer Science Department

11:00 a.m.

“Standing out in the College Process”

Tips on writing a memorable essay and having a phenomenal college interview.

“Making College Affordable”

The ins and the outs of financial aid

12:00 p.m.

“How to eat Like a Union Student for Free”

Bon Appetit!

1:00 p.m.

“Pick the Minds of Union Students”

Learn what college is really like!

“Explore the Nooks and Crannies of a College Campus”

The college tour

2:00 p.m.

Stop by Grant Hall Admissions for a glass of lemonade before you leave for the day.

Read More

Chester Arthur memorialized

Posted on May 30, 2005

  One of the few presidents to serve without being elected to the post was remembered Sunday as not only a president but also a war veteran who deserved acknowledgement on Memorial Day.

   Like many veterans, President Chester A. Arthur has been largely forgotten. But his grave is decorated every year with the other veterans buried at Albany Rural Cemetery, and it is at his final resting place that members of the Capt. William Dale O'Brien detachment of the Marine Corps League gather on Memorial Sunday to remember all fallen soldiers.

   “We gather here at the site of a former commander in chief because he was a veteran. He was a quartermaster general during the Civil War,” said league member George Nealon. “Today we want to remember all veterans . . . he's part of that sister and brotherhood of service that has made our country great.”

   Newcomers to the annual event said they came because they were interested in learning about a president who had close ties to the Capital Region.

   “I didn't know we had a President Arthur, much less that he was buried here,” said Jill Viola. “I'm hoping to learn a bit of history here.”

   Others confessed that they, too, knew nothing about Arthur, many only remembering vaguely that his presidency had something to do with an assassination.

   Some also recalled that he reformed civil service, an act that surprised many people in politics at the time.

   According to Arthur's official biography, he was a firm believer in the spoils system before becoming vice president to President James Garfield in 1881. He felt hardworking party loyalists deserved political patronage jobs.

   But when Garfield was assassinated four months into his term by a supporter who had not been given a job after the election, Arthur had a change of heart. As president, he pushed Congress to reform civil service, requiring among other changes a written exam to determine who would qualify for each position.

   His administration also enacted the first general federal immigration law, excluding all “paupers, criminals and lunatics.”

   Throughout it all, he kept a secret: He was dying of kidney disease. To keep his political opponents from learning the truth, he even went through the motions of asking the Republican Party to nominate him for a second term. But the party chose James G. Blaine instead, allowing Arthur to leave office at the end of his term and quietly die less than a year later, in 1886.

   His body was brought to Menands so that he could be buried near family members and half an hour from his alma mater, Union College.






Read More

Union melts snow like ‘magic’

Posted on May 28, 2005

A deicing solution tested on a section of Route 9 last winter appeared to minimize ice on the busy state roadway, and the chemical will be used again this winter to improve traffic safety, transportation officials said.

The magnesium chloride spray was tested for the first time in the Capital Region in January. State road crews applied the treatment prior to several snowstorms, on Route 9 between the Crescent Bridge and Route 146.

“The preliminary results were satisfactory, and it performed as advertised, if you will. We see this as a bigger help early in the season, but we do intend to continue with the operation next year,” said Robert Selover, associate director for the state Department of Transportation's maintenance division.

Ideally, the solution works best when the pavement is between 20 degrees and 36 degrees, and humidity is less than 50 percent, Selover said.

Since the applications on Route 9 didn't begin until January, when temperatures are typically colder than early winter, it was difficult to determine results based on ideal conditions, he said.

The treatment, which was shown to decrease icing when it was used in other parts of the state, is applied prior to a storm. Called “Magic-0,” it inhibits ice from bonding to the pavement, and salt is then used on a regular schedule to keep the road clear.

DOT invested about $14,000 for special spray equipment for the agency's operation out of Clifton Park. Maintenance superintendents there will decide which roads to treat next year, Selover said.

The solution costs DOT 84 cents a gallon, and it cost about $500 each time the approximately four-mile stretch of Route 9 was treated, DOT officials said.

It's hard to measure the actual success of the material because factors such as traffic counts and accident rates can vary considerably from winter to winter.

“When you look at wintertime, I'm not sure you can measure anything that means anything. But the level of service should improve because the road is easier to navigate,” Selover said.

Brennan Landscaping Inc. in Schenectady is the Capital District's sole distributor for “Magic-O” and “Magic Salt.”

Company owner Tim Brennan said he used “Magic-0,” the spray form of the solution, for the first time last winter to spray salt piles at a half-dozen local businesses, including Union College, St. Peter's Hospital and Time Warner-Cable.

“This is catching on like wildfire,” said Brennan, who also retails both products from his business at 1100 Erie Boulevard.

Brennan said he is especially fond of the products because they are water soluble, and approved by the state Department of Conservation as being environmentally sensitive.

Unlike the spray solution alone, which can develop a greasy film when applied on frozen concrete, a combination of salt and the magnesium chloride solution can be used in belowfreezing temperatures, Brennan said.

The mixture is more effective because oil is less apt to settle on concrete when it is attached to a carrier, he said.

Officials at Union College said they used the solution for the first time this past winter, and plan to use it again next year.

“Overall, it worked great,” college spokeswoman Lisa Stratton said.

She said the magnesium chloride solution, which was sprayed on piles of salt prior to its application, was more expensive than the school's traditional salt treatment, but had several attractive environmental and longterm money-saving benefits.

The school's salt usage was reduced considerably, which helps increase the life of the campus plants, and the solution is non-corrosive, which means it does not damage sensitive wildlife, and could add as many as two or three years to the life of the college's snow-removal equipment, Stratton said.

Brennan said the product cuts normal rock salt use by 30 to 50 percent.




Read More

Anthropologist turns research on retirement into national health insurance program

Posted on May 27, 2005

What started out in 1999 as a basic research project for Union College anthropologist Linda Evers Cool has turned into a national program to provide post-retirement health insurance to faculty and staff at participating colleges.

Linda Cool and her husband Kenneth Cool, a former administrator at Vassar College, co-founded Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions, a nonprofit consortium that has partnered with Fidelity Investments and Aetna health insurance. The program, the first of its kind in the nation, uses a defined contribution approach to pre-fund health care costs associated with retirement. Employer and employee-funded trusts that are built up – tax free – over the course of employment can be used – again, without being taxed – to pay for qualified medical expenses, including specially-designed Medicare supplemental insurance premiums after retirement at age 65 or later.

Thus far, 29 colleges and universities across the country have joined the consortium, with at least 200 more showing interest, Evers Cool said. “It's really astonishing that what started out as basic research by two people has turned into an enormous program to help thousands of people,” she said. “Had it not been for the Mellon Foundation that took a chance on this research and then was willing to underwrite the costs of program development, the research probably wouldn't have gone any further than a scholarly article or book.”

Linda and Ken Cool first applied for a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 1999 to do research on the broader topic of faculty retirement and the issues facing those recently retired and soon-to-be retired since the end of mandatory retirement for higher education in 1994. After receiving an initial $19,000 grant for the research, they developed a survey that was sent to more than 1,400 faculty members at 47 liberal arts colleges in the U.S.

With a return rate of 54 percent, Linda Cool said it was obvious that professors wanted to talk about retirement issues. “To our surprise, the topic that came up repeatedly was health care,” she said. “We heard amazing stories (in follow-up interviews) about how people are afraid to retire due to the cost of health care and their fear that they won't be able to find good health insurance. There was even a woman who has cancer and continues to drag herself to work for fear of losing her insurance.”

With this data, the Cools returned to the Mellon Foundation for funding and ultimately received more than $6 million over four years to examine the problems associated with retiree health and to develop a healthcare program to meet the needs of retired faculty and staff. Their work involved forming a national team of experts from the health insurance industry, financial services firms, Medicare and medigap insurance, chief financial officers and college administrators to develop a model that would later be approved by the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission, among others.

On Tuesday, May 24, the program was unveiled at a news conference in Boston.

“This program not only helps retired people, but also the institutions,” Evers Cool said, since colleges either foot the bill for retiree health insurance or have to keep older and higher paid employees on the payroll because the employees fear high-cost private health insurance will eat away their retirement savings. “There are always push-and-pull factors at play as people contemplate retirement. Among faculty who told us that they felt ready to retire, concerns about the cost and availability of retiree health insurance were keeping them working full time,” she added. “This program may alleviate some of those concerns.”

The Cools hope that this initiative will spur other nonprofit organizations as well as corporations to offer such health care funding plans to their employees. “I truly believe this type of program will help transform medical benefits for retirees in this country and might help save Medicare,” Evers Cool said.

Evers Cool, who served as Union's Dean of Faculty for five years in the 1990s, previously was associate academic vice president at Marist College and a faculty member at Santa Clara University. She has been studying gerontology for nearly her entire career and currently teaches the course, “The Anthropology of Aging.”

Read More


Posted on May 27, 2005

Through May 29
Wikoff Student Gallery, third floor, Nott Memorial
“Visions and Revisions: Recycled and Environmental Art” sponsored by the College's Environmental Club. Exhibit of 25 environmentally themed artistic works include sculpture, painting, photography, collage, and other mixed media.

Through June 12
Mandeville Gallery, Nott Memorial
Six of One, senior art show

Through spring term
Humanities Gallery
“Silk Spaces” by Arlene Baker.

Through spring term
Burns Arts Atrium Gallery
Senior art exhibits

Through spring term
Grant Hall (Admissions)
“Imaging China,” photography by Jeff Roffman and Annemarie Mica.

Read More