“Smart” lecture hall honors Fr. Albright
Biology Professor Gerard Albright, S.J., stands beside the new plaque designating the Father Albright Hall in the Ford Life Sciences Building.
Father Albright Hall Dedication Program participants: UDM President Gerard L. Stockhausen, S.J., Jay Zelenock, Jim Leonard, Biology Professor Gerard Albright, S.J., and Dean Leo Hanifin.
The term “24/7” appropriately describes the commitment of Biology Professor R. Gerard Albright, S.J., to UDM. As a testimonial to his 45 years of service, including teaching over 4,000 students, the Father Albright Hall was dedicated Sept. 30 in the Ford Life Sciences Building, which he helped design.
Biology Department Chair Gregory Grabowski asserts, “Father always makes himself available to those students willing to make an effort.”
From opening the Biology Department on weekends, to advising students and younger faculty, to touching up the paint on a wall, Fr. Albright has been there for UDM for almost half a century. According to E&S Dean Leo Hanifin, Fr. Albright has been the central person in UDM’s pre-medical and pre-dental education for decades and is “a model of Jesuit educators.”
During his tenure at the University, Fr. Albright has assumed a variety of roles and responsibilities, including:
- advisor (including the many years that he lived in the residence halls)
- faculty mentor and role model
- Biology Department chair (four times)
- associate dean and dean of the then College of Liberal Arts
- celebrant at well over 100 students’ weddings and baptisms
As part of the Hall’s dedication program, Pre-Medical student Nicole Najor reflected on Fr. Albright’s special attributes: his characteristic attire of various cardigan sweaters, his student-focused key words and phrases, his speedy e-mail replies to students’ questions and, in general, his presence as “an inspiration to every student” who entered his classroom.
Expressing his appreciation for the honor, Fr. Albright says, “Teaching here continues to be a key element in my life and vocation as a Jesuit. Be it in the lecture hall or laboratory, with current students, recent graduates or longtime friends, it is the individual persons who are and always will be the central focus of my calling. The dedication sparked within me a deep inner mix of pride and humility as I realize how much my efforts over the years are appreciated. To one and all, I offer my thanks and prayers.”
A Detroit native, Fr. Albright graduated from U of D High School in 1944, then entered the Society of Jesus. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Humanities and master’s and doctorate degrees in Biology from Loyola University in Chicago, he later earned a theology degree at West Baden College in Indiana.
The large, newly furnished and decorated lecture hall includes:
- a multi-media teaching station with high-resolution projector and sound system
- a “smart” podium with computer
- new seating and tables with power for computers (A wireless network is planned.)
- displays honoring Fr. Albright
Financial support for the hall came from generous alumni as well as University funds and a government grant.