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Union celebrates Homecoming & Family Weekend

Posted on Oct 31, 2007

The Nott Memorial on Homecoming & Family Weekend in October 2007.

Homecoming and Family Weekend 2007 (October 12 – 14) brought some 1,500 alumni, family and friends to campus to enjoy the lovely (and cooperative) fall weather, a number of fascinating talks and gatherings, and some exciting wins in football, volleyball and women's soccer. The weekend featured talks by three outstanding alumni. Dr. Kathy Magliato '85, one of the few female heart transplant surgeons in the world, spoke about her work and about the importance of recognizing risk factors for heart disease. Phil Alden Robinson '71, perhaps best known as director and screenwriter for Field of Dreams, spoke on his career and the nine-year challenge of making another of his films, Sneakers, as part of the alumni writer series sponsored by the English department. Steve Ritterbush '68, a trustee with an extensive resume of creating companies worldwide, spoke about entrepreneurship to the Eliphalet Nott Society.

Phil Alden Robinson talks at the Nott Memorial during Homecoming in October 2007.

The College also paid tribute to some important volunteers at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, held Friday, October 12th in College Park Hall. Harold Krupa '69 received the Special Appreciation Award for his 30-plus-year commitment to the Alumni Council, his class and the Schenectady Club. Since graduating, he has been a ubiquitous presence at campus and club events. For the last two decades, he has been an associate and head class agent, leading the Class of 1969 to a number of records in alumni giving. Stephen Ciesinski '70, trustee and former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, received the Distinguished Service Award. Steve has long been a generous contributor of his time, energy and resources. As member of the Board since 1993, Steve helped lead the campus through a number of important initiatives including the Minerva system, the blending of liberal arts and technology, international study, undergraduate research, significant improvements to the campus, development, and the selection of the College's 18th president, Stephen C. Ainlay.

Kathy Magliato '85 talks with alumni at the Nott Memorial during Homecoming & Family Weekend in October 2007.

The weekend continued with events for one and all: alumni lacrosse game, pre-football game tailgate picnic, campus tours, tours of downtown Schenectady and Proctor’s Theater, East Asian terms abroad ReUnion, legacy reception, harvest dinner, young alumni celebration, autumn brunch and the list goes on and on! The weekend wouldn’t be complete without a Union football game, of which Union was victorious over Susquehanna University! Of course, there were other sporting events featured including Men’s Hockey, Women’s Volleyball and Women’s Soccer. The weekend was a splendid display of all Union has to offer. For those that joined us, we know you’ll be back. For those who missed it, we will certainly see you next year.

Alumni watch the Union football game at Homecoming & Family Weekend in October 2007.


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College donates house and labor to Habitat for Humanity

Posted on Oct 31, 2007

President Stephen C. Ainlay talks to reporters at house at 1124 Barrett St. donated by the college to Habitat for Humanity with members of the Phi Upsilon fraternity standing behind him.

Union College has transferred ownership of a house to Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County that the entire campus community will help to refurbish, President Stephen C. Ainlay announced today.

Local Habitat officials believe this is the first time that a college in the Capital Region has provided the property and the labor to Habitat.

The two-family home on Barrett Street was among 13 purchased by faculty and staff under the Union-Schenectady Initiative, an ambitious plan to revitalize the neighborhood west of the campus unveiled in October 1998. The College assumed ownership of the home in February 2004 after the former employee moved.

Ainlay, calling Habitat “a remarkable organization”, said donating the house presents the campus with an extraordinary opportunity. Shortly after he became president last year, Ainlay challenged the campus community to re-cultivate its sense of social-connectedness and civic commitment.

He envisions the Union community – students, faculty, staff and alumni – taking the lead in restoring the house, which was built in 1910.

“My hope is that all of us can work alongside others from Schenectady and the family that will occupy the house to complete the project,” he said. “It will make a material difference, and it should pull us together as a community working for the common good.”

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, nondenominational housing organization. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1 million people in some 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter.

Chip Miller ’09, front, and Gabe Kramer '09 and, Psi Upsilon fraternity members volunteer for Habitat for Humanity at 1124 Barrett St.

Jeffrey W. Clark, executive director of the Schenectady County chapter, said he was grateful for the College’s level of commitment to his organization. He praised Ainlay for not only donating the house, but also for making the renovation a campus-wide project.

“We are thrilled to have created a plan that is suitable for Union College,” Clark said. “The idea that we can change the dynamics of a family by selling them a good house under the Habitat for Humanity model and offer the children the prospect of a college education has enormous potential to truly change lives for the better. We look forward to working with the students, faculty and staff to make this a fun and rewarding experience for all.”

Some Union groups have already begun work on the house, and Clark expects it to be ready for a family to move in this spring.

Ainlay noted the College has always valued its strong relationship with the community. In 2006, the College was among the 25 “best neighbor” urban colleges and universities, and the only one in New York, recognized for positive economic and social benefit to their communities. The College joined schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California and Yale University.

“Working together on this Habitat house, we have a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and demonstrate our commitment to the community beyond our campus and in which we live,” Ainlay said.

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A clean sweep for Union: Staff awarded for sustainability efforts

Posted on Oct 31, 2007

Cleaning staff at Union wins “green” award, fall 2007

The sustainability efforts of the College’s cleaning staff have been recognized with a runner-up finish for the “Green Cleaning Award” sponsored by American School and University (a trade journal), the Green Cleaning Network and the Healthy Schools Campaign.

“This is a satisfying validation of our program,” said Terry Miltner, assistant manager of Cleaning Services. “But more importantly, it recognizes the dedication of the staff who are meeting our goal of sustainability as outlined in the College’s Strategic Plan.”

Criteria for the award included strategies, product use, training and implementation, Miltner said.

Campus staff have collected 7 tons of paper for recycling since the start of the term. They use “green certified” cleaning products in nearly 90 percent of the campus buildings. They monitor building air quality and energy efficiency through regular preventive maintenance checks.

Among the most successful aspects of the two-year-old program was the extension of glass, metal and plastic recycling in residential buildings. In September, nearly 24,000 containers were collected from dorms for recycling, Miltner noted.

About 50 full-time cleaners cover the College’s 1.9 million square feet of building space.

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Faculty-led ensembles offer four more concerts this term

Posted on Oct 31, 2007

The Music Department will showcase three faculty led-ensembles in varied programs in the next few weeks.

The College Choir practices in Emerson Auditorium in 2007.

The Union College Choir, with Prof. Victor Klimash, conductor, performs works by Monteverdi and Dvorak Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. in Memorial Chapel.

Prof. Tim Olsen directs the Jazz Ensemble Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m. in the Fred L. Emerson Foundation Auditorium, Taylor Music Center. The set list will include tunes made famous by Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra.

And Prof. Klimash conducts the Community Orchestra Sunday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. in Memorial Chapel with selections from Sullivan’s Overture to “The Pirates of Penzance,” Prof. Hilary Tann’s “Sarcen” and Vaughan Williams’ “English Folk Song Suite.”

There will be a student recital in Emerson Auditorium on Monday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m.

All performances are free and open to the public. For more information, contact ext. 6785 or visit http://www.union.edu/music.

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Introductory letter from Bob Soules

Posted on Oct 31, 2007

Dear Parents: 

As the new Director of the Becker Career Center I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce myself. 

I joined Union College as the Director of the Becker Career Center on October 1. Prior to this, I was the Manager of Corporate Recruiting at Bryant University, located just outside Providence, Rhode Island. 

Prior to Bryant University, I spent 24 years practicing human resources in the insurance, pharmaceuticals and oilfield service industries. I prepared for a career in human resources by studying at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. 

As a father of two sons who recently graduated from college and a daughter who is currently a junior in college, I approach my job from the perspective of both a parent and a professional. I intend for your son or daughter to receive timely and effective customer service, opportunities to apply what they are learning in the classroom in a practical setting, and post-graduation employment opportunities. In addition, we will strive to help students recognize the difference between higher education, where they are challenged in a very supportive environment, and the working world, where they will certainly be challenged, but the environment likely will be less supportive. 

From a professional perspective, I think it’s important that I convey to you that we are not in the business of handing out opportunities. The student must want it. Given the desire, we will provide students with opportunities and the skills to develop their own opportunities. In addition, I think it is important for you to know that we want to help students pursue their passion, meaning that they find opportunities for which they are well suited and that drive their natural curiosity. We believe that if they do, they will perform better and the rewards (both intrinsic and extrinsic) will take care of themselves. 

As such, we ask that you support your student’s interest whatever that may be. Remember, college students are developing. The student that leaves college is not the same student who entered college. They will figure things out. Love them, trust them. Finally, as I said above, we will strive to help students make the transition from higher education into the working world. You can do your part too by letting them develop their independence. In so doing, you will help them develop the confidence that will carry them throughout their professional lives. 

If you ever have any questions or comments, please feel free to call me at 518.388.6176. 

Bob Soules 

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