Trustees create scholarship to honor the Ainlays

Publication Date
Messa scholarship

Trustees Frank Messa and Mark Walsh,

left and right, with Judith Gardner

Ainlay and President Stephen C. Ainlay,

following the announcement of the

new scholarship in honor of the Ainlays.

In appreciation for their efforts in the College's largest and most comprehensive fund-raising campaign, the Board of Trustees at Union has decided to endow a $1 million scholarship in honor of President Stephen C. Ainlay and his wife, Judith Gardner Ainlay.

The announcement, made following the board's meeting Friday, comes as the historic campaign is winding down.

To date, Union has raised $248 million of its $250 million goal. The “You are Union” campaign, publicly launched in 2004 and expanded by $50 million in 2008, has been transformative for the College, bolstering student scholarships and financial aid, faculty support, research programs, campus facilities and other priority needs outlined in the school’s Strategic Plan.

Ainlay inherited the campaign after taking the helm at Union in 2006 and, along with the Board of Trustees, supported the expansion of the campaign goal to $250 million by 2012.

Trustees decided to designate $1 million from the school's endowment to create the scholarship in recognition of the Ainlays for their leadership and commitment in helping the College reach its goal. The Ainlays have been personally involved in securing many of the major gifts.

The campaign has supported a number of major capital projects that have transformed Union’s historic campus and reinforced its commitment to interdisciplinary study. These include the Peter Irving Wold Center, the innovative Minerva Houses, social sciences hub Lippman Hall, the Viniar Athletic Center, Messa Rink, the Breazzano Fitness Center and the Taylor Music Center. The campaign is also supporting the Henle Dance Pavilion and the Wicker Wellness Center, both of which are expected to be completed next year.

"It is impossible to complete a campaign of this size without the efforts of a great many people," said Mark Walsh, chair of the trustees and co-chair, along with Frank Messa, of the "You are Union" campaign. "However, it is clear to anyone who has been involved with the campaign that the single greatest factor in its successful completion has been the tireless efforts of Stephen and Judith to lead Union and to secure major gifts for the campaign."

The Stephen C. Ainlay and Judith Gardner Ainlay scholarship will be used to provide financial aid. The board has left it to the discretion of the Ainlays to establish the criteria for the award.

Ainlay became the 18th president of Union on July 1, 2006. He has played a key role in developing and implementing the College’s strategic plan, which outlines the College’s vision for strengthening its academic programs, affirming its commitment to diversity and sustainability, and focusing on Union’s fiscal resources.

In addition to his role as president, Ainlay serves as a professor of sociology at the College and chancellor of Union University, a united entity composed of Union College, Union Graduate College, Albany Medical College, Albany Law School, Albany College of Pharmacy and the Dudley Observatory.

Judith Gardner Ainlay is director of Special Institutional Relations at Union.

The Campaign will officially conclude on Dec. 31, 2012.