The establishment of Union College in 1795 by the citizens of Schenectady was a matter of local and regional pride.
So too is the revitalization of Schenectady more than two centuries later.
William B. Patrick, author of “Metrofix: The Combative Comeback of a Company Town,” will be the keynote speaker at Union’s Founders Day on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, at 1 p.m. in Union’s Memorial Chapel.
The event commemorates the 227th anniversary of the granting of Union’s charter by the state Board of Regents, regarded as one of the first public calls for higher education.
Once an economic powerhouse, Schenectady suffered a devastating decline in the latter half of the last century, mainly due to massive layoffs at GE, its main employer. Like many other post-industrial American cities, Schenectady fell to a range of problems associated with urban blight: a lowered tax base, deficits, zombie houses, crime, drugs and corruption.
Patrick’s book chronicles the innovative ways that leaders and citizens alike have stepped forward with creative solutions to bolster downtown and beyond. Chief among those solutions was the formation of Metroplex, a sales tax-funded authority that has been the major force of economic development over the last two decades. Union College, an integral part of the Schenectady community, has been highly involved with the city's revitalization.
Patrick is an award-winning writer whose works have been published or produced in a number of genres: creative nonfiction, fiction, screenwriting, poetry, and drama. He has written The Call of Nursing: Voices from the Front Lines of Healthcare; Saving Troy: A Year with Firefighters and Paramedics in a Battered City; We Didn’t Come Here for This: A Memoir in Poetry; These Upraised Hands, a book of narrative poems and dramatic monologues; Rescue, a radio play commissioned by the BBC; Rachel’s Dinner, an ABC-TV teleplay starring Olympia Dukakis and Peter Gerety; and Roxa: Voices of the Culver Family, which won the 1990 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for the best first novel, among many other works.
He has taught in Fairfield University’s MFA Writing Program for the last 12 years, and a variety of his book excerpts, magazine articles, and dramatic writing can be found at williampatrickwriter.com.
He lives in Schenectady with his wife, Carmel, and his golden doodles, Vincent and Rockwell.
The Founders Day convocation will also include remarks from President David R. Harris and the presentation of the Gideon Hawley Teacher Recognition Award to a high school teacher who has had a continuing influence on a Union College student.
Founders Day is free and open to the public. Proof of vaccination and masks are required.
Here is a link to excerpts from "Metrofix" by William Patrick.