M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives
Inclusive Date: 1851-2011
67.68 cubic ft.
The State University of New York at Albany Alumni Association Records document the day-to-day operations of the Alumni Association from the 1850s to the early 21st Century.
Processed in 2012 by Jodi Boyle, Kathleen Broedeur, Katie Demetri, Russell S. Wesdorp.
The materials are located onsite in the department.
The State University of New York at Albany Alumni Association was founded in 1849 under the name of "The Association of Graduates of the New York Normal School." Its original intent was to keep track of the addresses and professions of graduates, and to organize support for the school in its dealings with New York State government. Under Corresponding Secretary William Phelps the Association started an educational placement bureau to help graduates. The Association met biannually and would attempt to meet for "jubilees" and reunions. The Association was dormant during the Civil War and not revived till 1872. The following year in 1873 the Association adopted a new constitution. In 1890, concurrent with the renaming of the school, the Association voted to update the name to "Association of Graduates of the New York State Normal School and the New York State Normal College." The organization financed and provided information for the first two histories of the school published in 1884 and 1895.
In 1883 the Association took up its first fund-raising effort when the group raised $5,000 to pay for an "Alumni Memorial Window" for the school’s new Willett Street building. In 1894 the Association raised funds for a "Soldiers Memorial Tablet" to honor the school's Civil War dead, and, after the 1906 fire that destroyed the Willett Street Building, the Memorial Window and tablet, the organization engaged in a new campaign for a replacement Soldier’s Memorial Tablet. Subsequently the Association raised funds for tablets to honor school World War I and World War II dead. Instead of replacing the Alumni Memorial Window, the Association chose to raise $10,000 to fund a graduate scholarship in education. The fund-raising took over 40 years as the first Albert N. Husted Scholarship was not awarded until 1948. In the meantime, during the 1910s and 1920s many individuals and classes established Alumni Association small loan funds for students.
In addition to the main Alumni Association, graduates established regional branches in such places as New York City, Long Island, Rochester, Eastern and Western New York, Florida, California, and Washington, D.C. These chapters frequently held their own events and sponsored activities for alumni in their respective geographic location.
In 1921 the Association started a Dormitory Committee/Residence Hall Building Fund with the goal of raising funds to purchase land and build dormitories with alumni money—Pierce Hall for women opened in 1935 and Sayles Hall for men opened in 1941. Fund-raising and the purchase of property was carried out through the newly formed Benevolent Association which was incorporated in New York in 1926. In 1967 the State of New York purchased those dormitories and funds from the purchase were put into alumni funded scholarships. The Alumni Association based its operations out of the Benevolent Association office from 1929 until 1962 when it became part of University Administration.
There were other substantial fund-raising endeavors carried out by the Alumni Association. In 1964 alumni organized to build the symbol of the University's Uptown Campus, the musical Carillon. In 1972 the Alumni Association began a drive to build Alumni House, also on the new Uptown Campus. The organization also raised money at various times for scholarship funds. In 1972 the Alumni Association established the Annual Fund as the main fund-raising effort. In 1982 this was transferred to the University at Albany Fund, Inc., created out of a merger between the Benevolent Association, the University Foundation and Annual Fund of the Alumni Association to serve as one unified University fund-raising operation.
The Alumni Association updated its name again in 1964 to the University at Albany Alumni Association and was incorporated, under Education law 501(c)(3), as a non-profit education corporation.
The collection also documents other initiatives for alumni undertaken by the organization. There are publications written for and about alumni, featuring class notes and updates. As in earlier periods, the Alumni Association continued to plan Alumni Day and class reunions. During the 1970s and 1980s the Alumni office offered travel packages ranging from weekend excursions to view foliage in the Adirondacks to multi-week adventures in destinations in Europe and Asia. In recent years as the Alumni community grew so did Association responsibilities. The organization provides alumni with important business and personal connections as well as plans events, such as the Big Purple Growl and Homecoming. The Big Purple Growl is a midyear home basketball game that is accompanied by other events, including a feast, and heavily attended by alumni.
The State University of New York at Albany Alumni Association Records document the day-to-day operations and special event planning of the organization. The Alumni Association is a semi-independent, incorporated entity on campus that coordinates alumni outreach and supports the University community through fund-raising and advocacy.
The collection includes meeting minutes and agendas, financial records, correspondence, photographs, publications, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia. While the bulk of materials dates from the 1960s through the 1980s, there also are notable 19th and early 20th Century records, including materials from reunions, correspondence, records of the building of the first residence halls, publications, and administrative files.
Please note that two series contain records of semi-independent organizations directly related to alumni and the Alumni Association; the Benevolent Association (Series 6) and the Theatre Alumni Association (Series 7). See each series description for additional information and history of these groups.
The collection is organized into the following series:
Series 1-7 are arranged chronologically and Series 8 is arranged alphabetically.
Access to this record group is unrestricted with the exception of a small number of folders in Series 3: Subject Files noted on the finding aid below.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Albany Alumni Association, 1851-2011. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Alumni Association Records).
Inclusive Date: 1873-1997
Inclusive Date: Undated
This series contains materials pertaining to the Board of Directors and the administration of the Alumni Association, including founding documents, such as the charter and constitution. The earliest Board of Directors meeting minutes are bound volumes. By the end of the 1970s the minutes are loose notes belonging to specific individuals. The minutes may also include such supplemental materials as correspondence, agendas and financial papers. The annual report was available for the Annual Meeting, which was open to all Alumni Association members. Financial records for the Alumni Association are found in this series in ledgers, financial statements and Treasurer’s reports. Loose items from bound volumes have been removed and stored in separate, appropriately labeled folders.
Inclusive Date: 1907-2006
Inclusive Date: Undated
Series 2 contains records related to Alumni Association fund-raising activities. Please note that the bulk of the series is from the years 1963-1983 with the further majority of this within the decade of the 1970s.
Inclusive Date: 1851-2005
Inclusive Date: Undated
This series document various events and subsidiary organizations of the Alumni Association. It is the largest series and records from the 1970-1980s comprise the bulk of the material. Two of the major annual events represented in this series are the Alumni Day/Weekend and Homecoming. There are materials documenting Alumni Day/Weekend for the majority of years between 1919 and 1996. The earlier years may only contain a program, while later year may contain correspondence, RSVPs, planning notes and photographs. Other events and symposiums are also included in the series. There are photographs, correspondence, and planning materials of clubs, committees and local branches. Correspondence and day files of Alumni Association staff, awards and scholarships processed by the Alumni Association, student directories and tributes to University Presidents comprise a substantial portion of the series. The Alumni Association offered group travel specials, discounts on insurance and commemorative memorabilia. Please note that some of the photographs are oversized.
Inclusive Date: 1859-2011
Inclusive Date: Undated
This series contains correspondence as well as pamphlets and other materials distributed to alumni, predominantly for reunions and other key events. The earliest materials are from 19th Century jubilees and reunions of all classes on Alumni Day. Later alumni held reunions only for specific classes or campus organizations, such as the Potter Club or Pep Band, and this is reflected in the more targeted correspondence. Please see Series 1 and Series 3 for more materials related to Alumni Day, and Series 1 for communication to members of the Eastern Branch of the Alumni Association. The correspondence was retained with the group's meeting minutes and is therefore located in Administration.