Schenectady County

Union College’s Ainlay gets five-year renewal

Union College’s trustees are going to keep the college’s president for another five years.

Union College’s trustees are going to keep the college’s president for another five years.

They announced that they extended Stephen Ainlay’s contract through 2016.

“We are thrilled that President Ainlay has decided to lead us for at least another five years,” spokesman Phillip Wajda said. “He has done a tremendous job in helping position the college as one of the top liberal arts schools in the country, and we look forward to his continued leadership.”

Ainlay was paid $374,782 and given $96,756 in “other compensation” in the latest forms filed with the IRS. Union College officials do not discuss compensation and would not say what his salary will be in his new contract.

In Ainlay’s first five years, the college created an office of campus diversity and an office of multicultural affairs. Both were part of Union’s new strategic plan, which Ainlay played a “key role” in developing, according to the trustees’ news release.

Ainlay was also among the first college presidents to sign the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, in which he pledged to reduce and eventually eliminate the campus’ contributions to global warming.

The college set up a series of presidential grants for environmentally sustainable projects at Union.

Board of Trustees Chairman Mark Walsh said in a news release that the board was deeply impressed by Ainlay’s work.

“Our full board, in no uncertain terms, told me to get this contract finalized,” he said, adding that Ainlay brought “a new level of energy, focus and momentum” to Union.

“We look forward to many more years of leadership and growth,” he said.

Ainlay described the contract extension as a “vote of confidence.”

Ainlay also serves as chancellor of Union University, a group of educational facilities including Albany College of Pharmacy, Albany Medical College and Albany Law School.

At Union, Ainlay also works as a sociology professor and researches the ways in which people find meaning in their lives. His projects have focused on blindness, aging, spirituality, and aspects of Mennonite life — as part of which he wrote a book about Mennonite entrepreneurs.

He grew up in Goshen, Ind., earned his doctorate at Rutgers University, and worked at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., for 23 years before coming to Union.

He became Union’s president in 2006.

His wife, Judith, works as Union’s director of special institutional relations.

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