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02/02/2003
Hudson Valley Marks 50th Anniversary With '50s Nostalgia; President Buono Unveils Tantillo Paintings To Commemorate College History

CONTACT: Sarah Boggess or Eric Bryant (518) 629-8071
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, February 1, 2003

Hudson Valley Community College skated into its 50th anniversary celebration today, with a nostalgic "skate hop" to kick off festivities running throughout the year. The opening event for the 50th anniversary celebration featured public ice skating and dancing to music by the "rockabilly" nostalgia band, the Lustre Kings, in Hudson Valley's Conway Ice Rink at the McDonough Sports Complex.

A 1950s theme marked the occasion, from refreshments to decorations. Admission was 50 cents, and refreshments were offered at mid-century prices.

Also during the skate hop, Hudson Valley President John Buono unveiled a set of three commemorative paintings the college's Foundation commissioned from award-winning area artist Len Tantillo, and announced plans for the anniversary year. The college plans a full calendar of cultural and academic events, many of them divided into groups themed by decades since the college's founding. Also, Hudson Valley plans to resume its Athletic Hall of Fame, naming worthy athletes and others to the select list.

Internationally acclaimed poet and author Maya Angelou will be keynote speaker at one of the major celebration events.

Also, a gala dinner-dance is planned for Oct. 3 and homecoming festivities are scheduled for Oct. 4.

Members of the college community met in committees throughout last year to plan the year's events. The theme for the 50th anniversary celebration is "Innovation and Excellence: Our Tradition Continues."

"It's been 50 years since a group of capable visionaries from Rensselaer County started this college, but its doubtful they imagined anything close to the reality of what evolved from their efforts," Buono told those gathered for the kickoff celebration. "Troy Technical Institute became Hudson Valley Community College, and the enrollment grew from those first 88 students to more than 11,000 this semester."

Buono himself is a 1968 graduate of Hudson Valley. There are almost 57,000 graduates of the college, and it is estimated that some 250,000 people have studied at the college at one time or another through its half century in existence.

Founded in 1953 with sponsorship by Rensselaer County, Hudson Valley was the eighth community college established in New York subsequent to the adoption of a 1948 education law permitting counties to create publicly funded two-year colleges.

Rensselaer County converted the Veteran's Vocational School on Seventh Avenue in Troy into a broader technical training program first called the Troy Technical Institute. That name was changed within a few months to Hudson Valley Technical Institute, to reflect the wider area the school hoped to serve, and then again to Hudson Valley Community College as the school's educational mission broadened.

The college moved to its present 120-acre campus on Vandenburgh Avenue in Troy in 1960, where it is currently preparing for the construction of a $7.5 million academic administration building and the $8 million reconstruction of its Siek Campus Center. According to a 2002 analysis conducted by the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, the college has a $240 million economic impact on the Capital Region each year.

A 50th Anniversary Web site for Hudson Valley is available by clicking on the Anniversary logo found on the college's homepage, or can be accessed directly at www.hvcc.edu/50. A special feature of the Web site is a virtual scrapbook in which alumni, faculty, retirees and community can record memories of Hudson Valley. The memories also will be compiled in a commemorative publication, to be published later this year.

Hudson Valley is among the largest of the state's community colleges, with an enrollment of more than 11,000 students. The college offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training.