July 22, 2015

'Ragtime' author E.L. Doctorow dies in New York at 84

E.L. Doctorow, author of the bestselling Ragtime and more than a dozen other novels and short story collections, died on July 21 in New York City. The William Kennedy Papers at the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives contain nearly twenty years of correspondence between the two award-winning authors. In this April 27, 1978 letter, Doctorow provides critical feedback of Kennedy's third published novel Billy Phelan's Greatest Game, the second in his Albany Cycle of novels. Doctorow refers to Albany as "Kennedy's Yoknapatawpha," the fictional county William Faulkner created and utilized as the setting for the majority of his novels. Doctorow also predicts great literary achievement for Kennedy in "another book, or possibly two," accurately anticipating the success of Kennedy's 1983 novel Ironweed.

The Kennedy Papers contain correspondence sent to Kennedy from fellow authors, journalists, politicians, and members of the film industry, especially his mentor Saul Bellow and Hunter S. Thompson. Also included is correspondence from Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, Frank McCourt, Doris Grumbach, John Updike, Russell Banks, and more.

Listen to audio from a 1990 New York State Writers Institute reading by E.L. Doctorow.

July 7, 2015

Detour Alert for Science Library

  • Start Date: 7/7/2015
  • End Date: Until Further Notice

While the Campus Center is under construction, access to the Science Library may be disrupted. See attached sketch to plan your route. For more information about the Campus Center Expansion project, visit the UA featured project website at: http://www.albany.edu/facilities/fp/campuscenter.html

May 13, 2015

Mario Cuomo's Inspirational Commencement Speech to UAlbany Class of 1986


In the spring of 1986, Governor Mario Cuomo made an impassioned speech to the graduates of SUNY Albany as part of the university's 142nd Commencement. He talked about ambition and success and the importance of having a strong demand for personal achievement and personal excellence. "You've done well," he said, "but before you move on to the next phase of your lives you have to face one last grueling hurdle at SUNY Albany: the commencement address!"

Cuomo celebrated the achievements of the graduates, taking the example of their success as a reflection of the success of New Yorkers of all types, both privileged and unprivileged. He called upon his audience to reject the argument that there is not enough to go around, that it is not always the matter of the lucky and the left-out. He decried the successful who never look back to where they came from and encouraged graduates to remember, and lend a hand to the people still struggling to make it up.

Cuomo was the Governor of New York State for three terms from 1983 to 1994. He passed away on January 1st of this year due to heart failure at the age of 82. Next year will be the 30th anniversary of his commencement address.

"I want to be honest with you about my experience with commencement addresses," Cuomo offered. "I've been through several of my own since my graduation from High School [and] sat though about 12 credits worth of others, and I cannot recall a single word or phrase from any of those impassioned [speeches]!"

While few of the attendees may remember his speech, the footage has been digitized from the original video and preserved as part of the University Archives on the third floor of the Science Library. The University Archives contains the official records of the University at Albany, SUNY, and its predecessor institutions dating to the founding of the New York State Normal School in 1844.