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UAlbany East Campus Gets A New Name

Mark Schmidt, UAlbany

The University at Albany's Rensselaer County campus is getting a curriculum upgrade and a new name.

The University Foundation has run the 95-acre site since 1996, the so-called "East Campus," tucked away on the other side of the Hudson River off Columbia Turnpike in the Rensselaer County Town of East Greenbush.  Outgoing UAlbany President Robert Jones calls it "a tremendous asset.”    "It's an asset that for far too many people it may as well be in Siberia. It's an asset that far too many of our own faculty and staff and people in this community don't know enough about. The wonderful resource that is provided in terms of the research and the public-private partnership. The innovation and research that goes on here. And of course it's the home not only to University at Albany's Cancer Research Center but our world class School of Public Health that's amazing affiliation with the Department of Health and the Wadsworth Laboratory. So there's amazing assets on this East Campus of the University at Albany."

Jones noted Monday’s event marked his last public appearance as president before he takes a job at the University of Illinois, where he assumes the dual positions of Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Vice President of the University of Illinois System.

In effort to get the word out about UAlbany's satellite campus, an expansion of academic programs and a name change are expected to attract more attention and recognition as a research center.  "It is my great privilege to announce that from this point on, we will no longer refer to this wonderful (you can call it the campus formerly known as the East Campus if you want). [laughter] But from now on, it will be called the University at Albany Health Sciences Campus, and I think that deserves a round of applause."

Jones went on to say the changes will help recruit the next generation of students and attract additional "world class" faculty and researchers.

The campus currently offers 12 health science degree programs, as well as collaborative initiatives with private firms and with Albany Medical College neurosurgery residents.

UAlbany Vice President for Health Sciences and Biomedical Initiatives Laura Schweitzer, who came to the university at the behest of Jones, sang the praises of the campus' new name.   "It's truly a place where academia, government and the private sector and health sciences intersect in mutually beneficial ways. The new name will help the region and the state see more clearly that the University has exciting potential for enhancing the biomedical sector of our regional economy."

As to whether a simple name change will generate new business and research activity in East Greenbush, only time will tell.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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