June 2018 News Archive

Publication Date

Top Facebook posts for the 2017-18 school year

Union’s social media channels were abuzz this year with news of the discovery of George Washington’s hair in Schaffer Library and the addition of a new president. Make sure to follow Union on Facebook for all the news from campus. Here’s a look back at the top Facebook posts for the 2017-18 academic year:

Publication Date

Union welcomes new members to its Board of Trustees

Six new members have joined Union College’s Board of Trustees.

In addition, Mark Walsh ’76, returns to the board.

Thomas Caulfield, CEO of GlobalFoundries:

Caulfield joined GlobalFoundries in 2014. Headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., GlobalFoundries provides design, development and fabrication services to some of the world’s leading technology companies. Caulfield served as senior vice president and general manager of the company’s semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility in Malta, N.Y. He was named CEO in March of this year.

Previously, Caulfield held leadership roles at several technology companies, including IBM.

Caulfield received a bachelor of science degree in physics and science from St. Lawrence University in 1980 and a bachelor of science, master’s and Doctorate of Engineering Science in materials science and metallurgy from Columbia University.

He is the parent of Matthew ’19.

Thomas Caulfield, CEO of GlobalFoundries

Owning and operating nearly 200 locations in 23 states, the Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Prime Group Holdings is the nation’s largest independent owner and operator of self-storage facilities. In addition, the company manages more than $925 million in private equity real estate funds.

Mark Walsh '76, managing director of Ruxton Ventures, LLC:

Walsh created Ruxton Ventures, LLC, a seed venture capital fund, in 2002. From late 2015 through 2017, he served in the Obama administration as head of the Office of Investment and Innovation for the U.S. Small Business Administration. He previously was the executive chair of Homesnap.com, a Revolution Ventures investment.

He was president of GEnie, General Electric’s online service, and a senior vice president and corporate officer of AOL. While at AOL, he created and ran AOL Enterprise, its business-to-business division.

Walsh was also CEO of VerticalNet, a business-to-business portal provider, and co-founder and CEO of GeniusRocket, a provider of crowd-sourced advertising media.

Walsh graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in American Studies. He received an MBA in marketing from Harvard in 1980.

He served on Union’s board of trustees from 2000 to 2016, including as its chair from 2011 to 2015.

He is the parent of Melissa ’11.

Mark Walsh’ 76, managing director of Ruxton Ventures, LLC:

Kate Stefanik Barry ’01, president of the Alumni Council:

Barry is a partner at Isaacson, Miller, a Boston-based executive search firm specializing in leadership recruitment for non-profit organizations, including the largest higher education search practice in the country.

Barry joined Isaacson, Miller in 2005. Her practice focuses on senior academic leadership positions for a wide range of colleges and universities across the country, with particular expertise in presidential searches. Barry led the team of consultants that assisted with the search for Union’s 19th president, David R. Harris.

Barry’s passion for higher education leadership began during her undergraduate years at Union when she was immersed in college administration and governance as a student leader, and she received the Frank Bailey Prize for her efforts.

She received a bachelor of science degree in psychology and holds a master’s degree in higher education from Harvard University.

After graduating from Union, she was assistant director of Alumni Relations at Union for three years.

Kate Stefanik Barry ’01, president of the Alumni Council

Rebecca Cortez, faculty trustee:

An associate professor of mechanical engineering, Cortez joined Union’s faculty in 2007.

Her teaching focuses on materials science and engineering and on courses supporting the College’s nanotechnology minor. Her research is in the area of nanomaterials synthesis and characterization. She has co-authored several journal publications with Union undergraduates and faculty.

Cortez’s many interdisciplinary materials-related research projects include the examination of solder material for personal computers, encapsulation of hazardous waste material into an environmentally friendly waste product, fatigue of a turbine engine blade alloy, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) device development, and nanomaterials characterization. She is a co-inventor on five patents based on MEMS technology.

Her teaching goals include instilling an appreciation for the role that materials play in simple and complex applications, and she aims to raise awareness of the importance of materials to technological advancements.

She has served as the College’s director of Undergraduate Research and was responsible for administrative leadership of the Undergraduate Research program. This included coordinating the annual Steinmetz Symposium, a college-wide exposition of student scholarly and creative achievement.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, and her Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University. She was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Rebecca Cortez, faculty trustee

Ruchi Raval ’20, student trustee:

A resident of Colts Neck, N.J., Raval is majoring in biology and political science (Interdepartmental). She is enrolled in Union’s Leadership in Medicine (LIM) program. Her campus involvement includes roles as Beuth House Co-Chair, LIMSAC co-president, Bhangra Union member, Shakti E-Board member and Stillman Prize Committee member.

Ruchi Raval ’20, student trustee

John K. Johnson ’85, alumni trustee:

Johnson is senior sales director for Arizona Beverages. Previously, he was senior director of client development with Acosta Sales & Marketing. He began his career in sales with Nestle Foods, USA, and later went on to spend 16 years at Mars Inc. Here, he excelled in field sales, headed several different cross functional teams, and held international sales and leadership positions.

A four-year starter on the Union football team during the 1981-1984 seasons (in which the team was a 1983 NCAA Championship finalist), Johnson won several ECAC player of the week honors, including the Ralph H. Rue MVP Award. He also lettered in track and field. While majoring in managerial economics, he was also a founding member of the Pi Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. at Union.

Johnson has been active in coaching, managing and has held several positions on the board for youth sports teams in his community.

He is the parent of John K. Johnson II ’10.

John K. Johnson ’85, alumni trustee
Publication Date

President Stephen C. Ainlay's baccalaureate remarks

First, let me thank Jasmine Nakkab, Student Forum President. I’d also like to thank Diane McMullen and the many students who have shared or are about to share their musical gifts with us.  Let me also thank the wonderful student speakers and our faculty speaker, Professor Goldner. Thanks is also in order for Emily Tong, Mary D’Amelia, Diane Meyers, and the members of the Commencement Committee who are listed in the program.

Publication Date

Student speaker Gianluca Avanzato's remarks

“The day is short, the work is great, the reward is much, the Master is urgent.” Indeed. This quotation is written in Hebrew characters around the dome of the Nott Memorial—inscribed in dark tiles on the red band that circles the building. Every time we’ve walked past that majestic building at the heart of our lovely campus, these words were floating up above, whispering: “The day is short, the work is great, the reward is much, the Master is urgent.”

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Last chapter: Nearly 500 receive degrees at Union’s 224th Commencement

Throughout his 12 years as Union’s president, Stephen Ainlay rarely missed an opportunity to share a story about its history. Whether it was Founders Day, Convocation or even a building dedication, Ainlay would work into his remarks an interesting detail gleamed from Union’s rich past.

So it was fitting that in presiding over his final Commencement ceremony, Ainlay delivered a last history lesson for the nearly 500 members of the Class of 2018.

Publication Date

Meet the Class of 2018

As their time at Union comes to a close, take a look back at the Class of 2018 and their impact on the College.

The class set a new record for applications to Union. 5,406 students applied, making it the most competitive admissions year to date. (The new record for applications has since topped 6,701.)

Total graduates: 494, representing 25 states and 13 countries 

It was a booming year for Fulbright honorees at the College. Olivia BrittonElizabeth Donlon and Sharifa Sahai were all extended offers for Fulbright research grants. Four members of the Class of 2018 received Fulbright Student English Teaching Assistantships. Gianluca AvanzatoHannah RayhillAbigail Salamone and Jenna Salisbury were all recognized.

175 students are graduating with academic honors, with economics as the most popular major for the Class of 2018. Mechanical engineering, biology, political science and neuroscience follow closely behind.

More than 250 seniors presented their research at this year’s Steinmetz Symposium Day. Just a few of the projects included:

Sophie Rosen exhibited STORIES in the Wikoff Student Gallery. The photography show asked students "What would you talk about if asked to tell a personal story?" 

Also at the Wikoff, Ari Bennett, Steven Apolo, Emily Dahlstrom, Emily Fiore and Josh Price showed work in "Color Principle: Painting in Oil." 

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Class of 2018

Candidates for bachelor's degrees include:



Biomedical Engineering

Publication Date

Par for the course: Student-designed robots battle professor’s daughter in miniature golf contest

It wasn’t Tiger versus Phil, but the energy and excitement level in the gallery were palpable as 6-year-old Gracie squared off against a trio of robots named Fiona, Big Bertha and The Little Engine that Could in a round of miniature golf.

At stake for Gracie was upholding the family name in a contest that has become a ritual for the kids of William Keat, professor of mechanical engineering.

Opting for a purple ball to match her flashy footwear, Gracie didn’t appear intimidated by 24 college students and their machines. She flitted from hole to hole, often ignoring the advice of her well-intentioned father.

“Stop coaching me,” she admonished him.

Gracie played the entire 18-hole course. The three machines played six holes each. After eight holes, the match was tied.

Engineering students in Professor William Keat's class designed robots to challenge Keat's 6-year-old daughter Gracie to a game of miniature golf.

Publication Date

Student Speaker Nate Greenberg

Hometown: Westport, Conn.

Major: Economics

Activities: Men’s Lacrosse captain and assistant coach, Sinai Scholars

Favorite class: Improvisation

What I'll miss most: The minimal responsibilities and bowling on Thursday nights

Publication Date

Valedictorian Hope Relly-Cobb

Hope Relly-Cobb '18

Hometown: Stillwater, N.Y.

Major: English
Minor: Film Studies

Activities: Staff member and treasurer at TVUC; submission reviewer for The Idol; Phi Beta Kappa; Sigma Tau Delta

Favorite class: English honors thesis seminar with Prof. Judith Lewin (and my field reader, Prof. Jordan Smith). I had the chance to spend two terms working on and workshopping a short novel, and it helped me to grow so much as a writer.

What I'll miss most: The wonderful people I’ve met and the beautiful campus.

Advice for incoming students: Don’t let anyone tell you that there’s a right or a wrong way to pursue your education. I was homeschooled, and people were skeptical. I commuted and worked part-time while at Union, and people were skeptical. Work hard, study what you love, show your professors (both within and outside your major) that you’re excited and serious about what they have to teach, and find faculty who will be in your corner as you journey through college. Also, don’t forget to pause occasionally to take it all in – you’re only going to have this opportunity once.

Life after Union: I will be attending the New York State Summer Writer’s Institute at Skidmore College before pursuing a career in writing and communications. I plan to earn my Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing and publish my work.

Valedictorian Hope Relly-Cobb '18