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Former UAlbany President Dies

Photo courtesy of the Times Union

Former SUNY University at Albany president Vincent O’Leary died Friday, April 22, 2011 at the age of 86. He served as the college’s president from 1977 to 1990, and in that time he made wonderful things happen for the school and implemented things that are still honored today. As an alumnus for the school, I thought it proper to highlight a man who made UAlbany what is was when I was a student , and what it will be for future students. 

Vincent Ignatius O’Learydied in a Gaithersburg, Maryland (where he and his wife have lived for the past five years) hospice from complications after a fall.

He was originally from California, and received his degrees at San Francisco State College and the University of Washington. Throughout his years, O’Leary did the following:

He served as assistant director of President Johnson’s National Crime Commission, director of research and policy of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, director of parole supervision for the State of Texas and chief probation and parole officer for the State of Washington. He had extensive experience as a consultant in organizational development and published and lectured extensively in his areas of expertise.- albany.edu

 His survivors include his wife, Lihua Yu O’Leary and their two daughters, Beth O’Leary and Cathy Goldwyn, as well as three stepchildren, Lena Sun, Eugene Sun and Anna Sun, and 10 grandchildren.

He was president during a time of great change and transformation for the campus, and turned it around in a time of financial constraint.

Under O’Leary’s guidance, Ph.D. programs were restored and other programs that gained national prominence were developed under the banner of the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. In partnership with the revered New York State Commissioner of Health, Dr. David Axelrod, O’Leary also created the School of Public Health, a unique program in the nation, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

UAlbany’s current president, George M. Philip, released the following statements regardinghis death and achievements:

We have lost a great educator, colleague, supporter and friend of the University. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Through his acumen and charm, President O’Leary instilled the campus with a new sense of confidence and pride in its mission.

This is just the beginning of all the wonderful things O’Leary did for our capital’s University. He created and began the annual day known as Fountain Day, which was cancelled this year, and he even wrote the last stanza of the college’s Alma Mater, in addition to creating a diverse faculty and student body. To read even more on him and his successes, read on.

Were or are you a UAlbany student? What do you think of O’Leary’s achievements? Do you think the college would be what it is now without his efforts?

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