Nearly 60 years ago, Hugh Farley earned his bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany — with honors.
Years after graduating in 1958, he joined the faculty of the business school in 1965 and served as a member for more than 35 years, while also racking up decade after decade of service in the state Senate, where he retired last year as the most senior member and the second-longest serving in history. He held his seat for 40 years.
His alma mater on Thursday awarded him with the Medallion of the University, the school’s highest award for “distinguished service.”
When the award was first announced, Farley said he was “deeply honored and humbled” to be granted the award.
“As a student, professor and senator, UAlbany has always held the most special place in my heart and the highest level of esteem and respect in my mind,” Farley said in a statement.
UAlbany officials lauded Farley’s political support in helping secure funding for the Massry Center for Business building and other major projects on UAlbany’s uptown and downtown campuses.
“Our university’s highest honor is not one that we give lightly,” UAlbany interim President James Stellar said in a statement before the award presentation. “But as a student, faculty member and legislator, Sen. Farley has remained a faithful booster of his alma mater and, more important, an admirable role model of the power of public higher education.”
Farley, of Niskayuna, represented the 49th District, which covers much of Schenectady County and stretches west and north through Gloversville, Johnstown and well into the Adirondacks.
Farley said he passed “literally a thousand pieces” of legislation at the time of his retirement and stressed his love for the Capitol and the people he worked with through his career.
“I love my career. I’m proud of my service. I’ve worked hard at it,” he told The Daily Gazette in May 2016, after he announced his retirement. “I’ve accomplished more than I’ve ever dreamed, but the time has come.”