Posted on Jun 15, 2008

President Stephen C. Ainlay shows Yates School students a compartment on a desk used by Union alumnus Chester A. Arthur, who would become U.S. President

A group of 32 soon-to-graduate sixth graders from Yates Magnet Elementary School in Schenectady got a taste of Union – and Union food – on Friday, June 13, 2008.

The students toured Schaffer Library with Librarian Tom McFadden; the engineering lab and the Baja car with Prof. Brad Bruno; and the Nott Memorial with Prof. Carl George. They had lunch in Hale House.

The students also met President Stephen C. Ainlay in his office, where he showed them portraits and described the lives of alumni Chester Arthur (1848), U.S. President; and William H. Seward (1820), U.S. Secretary of State under Lincoln, among other Union notables.

The students were invited to campus by President Ainlay in return for the school’s invitation last year to have him speak at the sixth grade graduation. In his address to the graduates last year, Ainlay urged the students to pursue their dreams, citing the perseverance of electrical pioneer Charles P. Steinmetz and a number of Union alumni.

Prof. Carl George describes the Nott Memorial to students from Yates Magnet School.

The exchange grew out of a project called “Colleges We Could Attend” coordinated by Yates teachers Melissa Hinds and Simone Masterson.

 “We wanted to expose them to college and to show them that college is an attainable goal,” said Hinds. “We also want to show them that college is something you need if you want to live well.”

With all 32 of the students crowded into Ainlay’s office, it appeared to be one of the largest groups to be hosted in the space. “And one of the friendliest,” Ainlay noted.