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In memoriam

Posted on Jun 28, 2007


William R. Grant ’49

William R. Grant ’49, venture capitalist, investment banker, philanthropist and longtime Union benefactor whose name graces the Office of Admissions, died April 15, 2007 after a year-long battle with metastatic melanoma. He was 82.

Grant earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Union and a master’s degree in economics from New York University in 1960. He received an honorary degree from Union in 1983.

He was named trustee emeritus in 1992 after 18 years of service on the College’s Board of Trustees. In 1999, Union presented him with the Alumni Gold Medal for distinguished service to the College.

“I know I speak for many when I express my deep appreciation for Bill Grant’s service, dedication and generosity to this College through the years,” said President Stephen C. Ainlay. “It is people like Bill who embody Union’s spirit and its values.”

Said Dominick F. Famulare ’92, director of Alumni Relations: “We have lost a loyal son of Union who will surely be missed by all who knew him.”

Grant had a half century of experience in the investment banking and risk-capital fields. He was the vice chairman and co-founder, in 1989, of Galen Partners in New York City, a $1 billion venture capital firm focusing solely on the health care industry. Galen has financed and assisted in the development of some 45 health-care companies.

“The firm has helped me to create interesting medical devices, services and drugs for society,” Grant said in a 2003 interview. “I like building effective management teams. I’ve always had a diverse intellectual curiosity, an eclectic curiosity.”

Grant served for 24 years as a director of SmithKline Beecham, the pharmaceutical manufacturer (now Glaxo SmithKline) and was president and vice chairman of Smith Barney Inc. He also served as chairman of New York Life International (1987-89) and president and chairman of MacKay-Shields Financial Corp. (1979-87).

“Bill Grant was extremely knowledgeable in health care and had a vast knowledge and understanding of the business world,” said partner Toby Wesson. “He was an inspirational leader with great wisdom.’

At Union, Grant was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity. He also played basketball and lacrosse. Among his most memorable moments, he said, were making the winning basket against Trinity in his last basketball game and going on lacrosse trips. “Coach Fred Wyatt always thought we were better than we were,” he said. “We lost one game 23-0. Unfortunately, I was the goaltender.”

Grant created several endowed funds at Union, including two in his name – one for Building & Grounds and the other for Athletics – as well as the William V. and Adelaide M. Grant Memorial Scholarship in memory of his parents. He also funded the renovation of Grant Hall (the former Alpha Delta Phi fraternity) to house the College’s Office of Admissions.

His philanthropy included many other educational causes. He donated substantial time and funds for support of inner city schools and created a grant for poetry. “The best way to communicate with children is poetry,” he once said. “They come out of their shadows, but you must participate.”

Grant played tennis, squash and golf. He liked to read histories.

He is survived by his wife, Adele (Reilly); three daughters, Deborah Grant and Elise Grant Seeley Lauinger; a son, Byron A. Grant; and two grandchildren, Jeremy Deschapelles Seeley and Molly Hall Seeley. He was predeceased by his wife of 43 years, Dorothy Annetta Grant; a son, Gregory Scott Grant; and a daughter, Melissa Grant Davis.


Albert K. Hill ’48

Albert K. Hill ’48, a retired corporate lawyer, civic leader, decorated World War II veteran and longtime supporter of Union College, died Jan. 2, 2007 in Buffalo. He was 82.

Hill was born in Scotia, N.Y. and upheld a family tradition dating back to 1795 by enrolling at Union College in 1942. After his freshman year, Hill joined the U.S. Army and during the D-Day invasion in June 1944 the landed at Normandy.

During the battle for the railway bridge at Remagen, which opened the Allied invasion of Germany in 1945, Hill suffered a severe leg wound. He was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. He returned to Union and completed his bachelor’s degree and by 1951 had earned a law degree from Harvard University and started a long career as a Buffalo area lawyer.

Hill was an active supporter of Union College and in 1991 was given the Alumni Council Gold Medal for service to the College. In 1999, Hill and wife, Perrie, endowed the John Calvin Toll 1799 Community Day for incoming freshman. The event was renamed after Toll in 2000 and is staged each year during orientation to encourage new students to become volunteers. The Rev. John Calvin Toll, a member Union’s first graduating class, was Hill’s great, great grandfather.

. "We believe that the experiences from this activity will carry over beyond graduation and enrich not only those they serve but also the volunteers," Hill told this magazine in 2000.

Hill was a proud member of the College literary society, Alpha Delta Phi, said son Karel Hill ’73.

“In the 1960s, dad was able to interview many applicants, which he took a great deal of pleasure in doing,” Karel Hill said.

In Buffalo, Hill helped lead the transition of the Community Chest into the United Way, which named him it’s 1990 Man of the Year. Hill helped the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society plan the 2001 Pan-American Exposition centennial celebration. He also had lived in East Aurora, near Buffalo, where he served as a school board president and a volunteer firefighter.

Surviving are his wife of 56 years, Perrie, and two sons, David Hill and Karel Hill ’73. Albert Hill’s father, Dudley Toll Hill, Class of 1907, served as managing editor of the Schenectady Gazette for 38 years.


William W. Mulvey ’38

William W. Mulvey ’38, a retired New York City advertising executive who served on the College’s Board of Trustees from 1970 to 1978, died on Dec. 29, 2004. He was 88.

After a four-year stint in the U.S. Army in World War II, Mulvey began his career in public relations. He began as a copywriter and eventually reached executive-level positions at two public relations firms in New York City including McCann-Erikson, Inc. Mulvey was the father of two sons, Chris and William, and is survived by wife, Marcelle. The family lived for many years in New Canaan, Conn.

 During his time at Union in the late 1930s, Mulvey was an active in the theatre group, the Mountebanks, said son Chris Mulvey. After Mulvey’s death, the family was surprised to find Schenectady Gazette newspaper reviews among Mulvey’s personal records, according to the son. Mulvey was also a columnist at the Concordiensis, an editor of the literary magazine Idol and member of Delta Upsilon fraternity.

“His period as a student at Union had a great deal to do with his success,” said Chris Mulvey. “We were surprised to see the extent of his acting at Union. In fact, he had the lead in a number of plays. He had seriously considered becoming a professional actor.”

Mulvey grew up in Schenectady near Union College and, as a boy, attended the Christian Brothers Academy in Albany. His father, Peter J. Mulvey, was an engineer and Edison Pioneer at General Electric.

Mulvey spent much of his retirement years raising money for the Archdiocese of New York and was a lay leader of the church organization. Much of his money raising effort went to support Catholic schools in New York City.

“In his latter years, after he retired, he devoted himself to raising funds for various schools and charities in New York City,” said Chris Mulvey. “He often said he felt that he owed his success later in life to his time at Union.”

Mulvey also co-founded Horizon Communications, which owned eight radio and television stations in three states. He served as company chairman in the late 1970s. Mulvey also co-founded the Hatteras Yacht Company, based in North Carolina. 

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George Hendon ’51

Posted on Jun 28, 2007

George Hendon, class of 1951

Born and raised in Kentucky the son of a playwright, versifier and "wannabe" newspaperman masquerading as a lawyer and politician, George A. Hendon has spent the majority of his nearly eighty years as a student and practitioner of the art of managing ideas and people. Inspired to pursue a career in the federal service by an instructor in undergraduate school, he studied public administration briefly in graduate school but fell into a fourteen-year detour, working for a large New York financial institution as an internal management development consultant in their home office.

He is grateful, however, that FAA recruited him in 1965 to be a management analyst in their Washington headquarters, launching him on an enjoyable and lifelong career. His first supervisor there, the brilliant and respected manager of FAA's large and influential internal management consulting group, immediately pushed him to seek and take advantage of every opportunity to make a difference. This enabled him to craft, market and lead the implementation of some of the cutting edge management strategies in those early and exciting days when FAA was young and still an independent agency.

George rose to head the Management Analysis Division and, shortly thereafter, entered the agency's Executive Development Program, following the completion of which, he held a number of management positions in FAA’s Western and Eastern Regions until making a final move to Kansas City in July of 1987 as manager of Central Region’s Airports Division. Blessed with a relatively small but extremely professional, talented and dedicated staff he has been able to devote his time to practicing and polishing the management skills he had picked up over the years. He was recognized for this when named the region's Manager of the Year in 2003, but he values even more the peer nomination award presented to him by the employees in his division for "creating a great place to come to work every day."

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Willard Roth, former chair of the Biology Department, dies

Posted on Jun 28, 2007

Willard Roth, former chair of the Biology Department and founder of the Health Professions Program.

Willard Roth, former chair of the Biology Department and pioneer of Union’s Health Professions Program, died June 20. He was 82.

Roth joined Union College in 1967 as chair of the Biology Department, a position he held until 1981, when he was named associate dean of undergraduate studies. Roth also helped form the Health Professions Program in the 1970s before retiring in 1995.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, July 8 at 2 p.m. in Memorial Chapel.

“He was really the founder of College’s modern Biology Department. He enlarged it and hired professors that formed the basis of this department,” said Biology Department Chair Leo Fleishman.

Beyond his work hiring faculty and as a dynamic classroom lecturer, Roth spent many hours helping students earn admission to medical school, said former biology Professor Twitty J. Styles. Roth frequently phoned medical school admissions deans and conducted mock admissions interviews with students, providing what Styles called “visionary” leadership.   

“His dedication to students who aspired to careers in the health professions was his greatest impact on the department. He developed a national, if not an international network, involving quite close rapport with admissions committees to effectively place our graduates in a very tailored manner,”  said longtime colleague and former biology professor Carl George.

Roth helped found Northeast Association of Advisors to the Health Professions (NEAAHP) and was regarded as pioneer of advising pre-med students across the Northeast, said Carol Weisse, director of the Health Professions Program and current president of the advisors association.

Roth was born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1925. After graduating from high school in 1943, he served in the U.S. Army in World War II in both Europe and Asia. He attended Swarthmore College, graduating with high honors, and then did graduate work in biology at Harvard University, receiving a doctoral degree in 1956.

Roth taught pre-clinical sciences at Harvard Medical School from 1955 to 1967, rising to the rank of assistant professor before coming to Union College. His expertise was in histology, the study of minute tissue structure, and his research interest was neuron endocrinology.

Roth became involved in Tibetan Buddhism in 1980, and was named director of the Karma Kagyu Institute, which is concerned with preserving and disseminating Tibetan Arts and Culture. He was associate director of Albany Karma Thegsum Chöling, an upstate New York Tibetan Buddhist Center affiliated with the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery in Woodstock, N.Y.

Combining his various interests, Roth has been greatly involved in interfaith activities, and also acted as night chaplain at both Ellis Hospital and Albany Medical Center Hospital.

Roth is survived by his wife of 55 years, Laura M. Roth; his brother, Milton Roth of Waterloo, Iowa; his daughter, Karen Roth and her husband Michio Fujita of Albany; his son, Andrew Roth and his wife Andrea and grandsons Eric and Zachary Roth, of Saratoga Springs.

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IFC Newsletter

Posted on Jun 28, 2007

Dear Union College Faculty, Staff and Administration,

We believe that it is important to keep you updated on the actions of Greeks on campus and in the community. The main goal of these newsletters is to inform the college community of what Greeks are doing in an attempt to change the current mindset that Greek life is simply a weekend social structure. It is our intention to underscore the Greek commitment to both community service in Schenectady and promoting an intellectual environment here at Union. From this, we hope to build a stronger relationship with the college. I hope that you read this letter and take it seriously; it is our sincere desire to be an integral and helpful part of the Union community… more so than we may have been in the past. This is a real commitment on our part, and we appreciate your support. If you have any questions, comments or concerns for us, or would like to be involved in an event sponsored by a Greek organization, please contact me, William Fitzsimons, at fitzsimw@union.edu.

On To the Fraternities:

The brothers of Delta Kappa Epsilon had a huge term for philanthropy. They co-hosted a charity volleyball tournament with Sigma Phi, which was very popular with the whole campus. DKE set up a booth at U-Care for a fun day of playing sports with local children. DKE’s most successful event was the first annual DKE/Union College Cycling Club Charity Bike Ride. This event got a lot of participation from Union students, faculty and staff, as well as people from the whole Capital District area, and raised a lot of money for United Way. On the environmental side, every term, DKE cleans up their adopted highway (look for the sign on I-890), and the brothers continued their recycling program from the fall. DKE invited Professor Olberg from Biology to give a fascinating talk on his current research, and their house hosted a successful Big Brothers/Big Sisters BBQ and games day.

The brothers of Phi Delta Theta came up with a novel philanthropy idea of charging people to participate in a “car bash,” where one can destroy an old car for only a nominal fee. The proceeds all went to the ALS association to combat Lou Gehrig’s disease. They also travelled to a local church to clean it up and do some necessary interior decorating. Phi Delta Theta hosted Professor Kenney from the Economics Department to speak on a large variety of academic subjects, and they provided much needed help for Relay for Life.

Our newest fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, continued to show their concern for the local environment by participating in re-Tree Schenectady, a semi-annual event where groups from throughout the community get together to plant and care for local trees. AEPi was very helpful with Relay for Life, and they also made a substantial monetary contribution to the Rolling for Autism charity event.

The brothers of Sigma Chi had a lot of success with their philanthropy events this term. They participated in a nation-wide Sigma Chi event, “Derby Days,” and raised over two thousand dollars for the very important Schenectady Free Health Clinic. Derby Days included a fun campus-wide bowling event, a karaoke night and a campus BBQ. Also, during Greek Week, they had a very successful blood drive (something the brothers of Sigma Chi try to do every term), and the Red Cross officials were, as always, highly impressed generosity of the student body, as demonstrated by very high turnout.

The brothers of Theta Delta Chi were busy this term. They joined with the caretakers of historic Vale Cemetery to do a much needed clean-up. They worked with sorority Sigma Delta Tau during a mock-casino night to raise money for combating child abuse. A number of brothers went into the community to speak at Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) events and warn children about the dangers of drug use. Those who attended U-Care day, which is the largest community event the school hosts throughout the year, can thank TDChi for feeding them, as they provided and cooked food for the whole event. Some TDChi member showed their dedication to helping the elderly when they spent an afternoon playing cards and board games with residents of a nursing home. TDChi hosted a presentation on the dangers of performance enhancing drugs (steroids), and some brothers also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, a charity with whom they have developed an excellent relationship.

The brothers of Alpha Delta Phi, played a big part in helping to run the Relay for Life grill. Additionally, they had two interesting academic events this term. Their annual AD literary competition is coming up next week, and they hosted a medieval dinner, where they presented scenes from a play.

The brothers of Sigma Phi were heavily involved in the letter campaign for the “Step it Up” rally, which targeted carbon emissions. A few weeks ago, the whole campus had the opportunity to “Pie-a-Phi,” where they could donate money to charity to throw a pie at some of the braver volunteer brothers. This hilarious event raised a lot of money and was fun for (almost!) everyone involved. Sigma Phi co-hosted a very successful charity volleyball tournament with Delta Kappa Epsilon. Brothers also helped run the Relay for Life event, and they joined with faculty from the History Department to help clean up the historic locks of Schenectady.

The brothers of Psi Upsilon participated in a number of philanthropy events over this past term. On April 14th, a number of the brothers joined in the "Step it Up 2007" rally, a walk from West College to the Schenectady Town Hall that was part of a nationwide fundraiser to combat carbon emissions. Psi U collaborated with the Junior Achievement group, in the Schenectady elementary schools where five brothers spent one morning each week tutoring second graders on the fundamentals of personal economics, including the difference between wants and needs and the contributions of each individual to their community. Recently they held their annual Black Light Party, where, throughout the night, they collected donations for the Shaun Grady Foundation. The Grady foundation was set up by the family of one of Psi U’s more recent alumni, Kevin Grady, whose mother died of cancer. The foundation was set up to help families with children sick with terminal illnesses. On May 19th, ten brothers joined in with Habitat for Humanity volunteers to clean up a recycling plant that will soon become Schenectady's main Habitat headquarters.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about all the things we are doing in the Greek community. Spring term is always big for us, and we feel like, as a community, we’ve done a lot of really good things. Our focus this term was developing the local Schenectady community. This fall, we want to turn our attention inward, and we plan on helping more to maintain the physical appearance of our campus, and on doing more academic/intellectual events. Again, please contact me with any questions, comments or concerns, or if you are interested in having a fraternity organize an event, provide a forum for discussion, or if there is anything else we can help you with.

Thanks for reading!

Will Fitzsimons, ‘08
VP of Philanthropy, Inter-Fraternity Council

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Posted on Jun 25, 2007


Lost and Found: Rhyming Verse Honoring African American Heroes

Connecticut River Press

JENNIFER SMITH TURNER ’74. Lost and Found: Rhyming Verse Honoring African American Heroes

This book of poetry includes illustrations by Turner’s sister, Valarie Smith. The poems are about the inspiration Turner found in what she calls the “courageous” lives of public figures ranging from tennis player Arthur Ashe to poet and novelist Maya Angelou. About Angelou, Turner writes, “Maya personifies phenomenal us/ Proclaims joy, delight/ In lives we share so much.” Turner began writing poetry while at Union and in 2003 published Perennial Secrets, Poetry & Prose. The author worked for 28 years as a senior-level business executive. 



Handbook of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


JOHN W. JACOBSON ’71. Handbook of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Jacobson conceived of this handbook, recruited contributors and served as editor until rapidly progressing lung cancer took his life on May 8, 2004. The book was then about two-thirds complete and was finished by coeditors James A. Mulick and Johannes Rojahn. The handbook examines advances in the field and also summarizes major subject areas like autism. Jacobson earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Vermont and worked for more than 25 years as a research scientist at the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities in Albany. Coeditor Mulick writes in the book’s dedication, “So many people sought [Jacobson’s] guidance in so many fields related to developmental disabilities, psychology and applied research that his absence is sorely felt on at least three continents.”



New England GolfGuide, 2007 Edition

BallMarker Press

JOHN DiCOCCO ’70 New England GolfGuide, 2007 Edition

This is the 18th installment of one of New England’s best golf guides, which is subtitled “The Directory for Public Play.” The guide contains information from slope to greens fees for 541 public courses. DiCocco has been the editor of the GolfGuide since 1995 and bought the publication in 2005. He creates the content for the book’s first 20 to 30 pages and reviews and rates courses. When not working on the GolfGuide, John serves as publications manager for the Boston University School of Management. At GolfGuide, DiCocco calls himself chief enthusiasm officer because he says, “publishing feels like a 16-month cycle in a 12-month year, so you have to love what you are doing.”



Understanding Empiricism


ROBERT G. MEYERS ’60 Understanding Empiricism

Understanding Empiricism is an introduction to empiricism and the empiricist tradition in philosophy. The book examines the most important philosophical issues bearing on the subject, while maintaining enough distance from the intricacies to allow readers to gain a clear overview of empiricism. Empiricism posits that all knowledge of real existence must be justified by experience, as opposed to rationalism, which argues that some knowledge is innate. Meyers is a professor of philosophy at the University at Albany in New York. The book is part of series of short, accessible books about major schools, movements and traditions in philosophy since the Enlightenment.

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