The recipient of the Frank Bailey Prize is selected by the faculty and the prize is awarded annually to the fourth-year student deemed to have rendered the greatest service to the College in any field.
This year’s recipient of the Frank Bailey Prize is described by faculty nominators as exhibiting stellar conduct and possessing an equally stellar commitment to community – qualities that underpin a demonstrated devotion to Union, Schenectady, and beyond.
As a student, our Bailey Prize recipient has demonstrated notable academic prowess over four years. Entering Union with provisional interests in math, our Bailey Prize recipient’s passion for understanding the past led to the History Department and there our Bailey Prize recipient has flourished. Yet faculty members across the curriculum are quick to comment on a more general enthusiasm for learning and engagement with a wide range of ideas and subjects. Modeling this for other students has in itself been significant service to our College. Not surprisingly, our Bailey Prize recipient was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Nor was it surprising that, when the New York Times focused on the discovery of George Washington’s hair in a book in our Library collection, our Bailey Prize recipient was called on to voice the reaction of our community.
A keen interest in history, combined with a commitment to social justice, led our Bailey recipient to not only excel in the classroom but to also effectively demonstrate the importance of history to our self-understanding. He told our story through a weekly column in the Concordiensis, through curated exhibits, and through various presentations – all the while celebrating accomplishments while shedding light on those times when individuals, institutions, communities, or our Nation faltered.
Our Bailey Prize recipient has served in so many other ways, becoming a recognized campus leader. On campus, he headed the Speakers Forum, served as a mentor in the Leadership Pre-Orientation for incoming first-year students, founded and led the Union College Action Network (UCAN), and organized conversations that helped people make sense of what was happening in the world around them. Our Bailey Prize recipient also reached out to the larger community, building bridges of cooperation. He has helped, for example, re-organize and re-energize the Schenectady chapter of the NAACP and founded an NAACP chapter in his hometown.
It is in recognition of the ways in which he models intellectual curiosity and integrity, the ways in which he has called on us to better understand our past, the ways in which he’s focused us on what it means to live in a just world, and the ways in which he’s cared for and about our College and community that we present Andrew Cassarino with the Frank Bailey Prize.