The College of Saint Rose is closing

The administration failed miserably

To my tremendous sadness, the College of Saint Rose is closing. The 103-year-old institution will shut down at the end of the academic year after the May 11, 2024 graduation.

What has been its great strength, a campus amid the city of Albany, NY, will be the greatest challenge for the neighborhood: nearly 90″properties — almost all of them clustered in the Pine Hills neighborhood — will be left vacant.”

As the Times Union reported: “The college’s properties in the one square block of Madison Avenue, Western Avenue, and Partridge Street will become empty. Most of them are zoned ‘multi-use — campus/institutions,’ which allows a wide variety of options, from residential to retail.”

I’ve always liked college campuses intrinsic to its city, such as Syracuse University, Brown University in Providence, and the downtown University at Albany campus. Meanwhile, Binghamton University, near where I grew up in upstate New York, seemed at arm’s length to me growing up.

The CSR campus is only three to four blocks from my house. A student enrichment program occurred there when my daughter was in elementary school; in 3rd through 5th grade, it was in science, and in 6th grade, science. My daughter was so positively affected that she briefly considered CSR as a college choice.

I’ve attended musical recitals by students, some of whom had been in our church choir for a time, at the lovely Massry Center. Our church choir director taught there until the school gutted more than two dozen majors, including several in their excellent art and music programs designed to save money a few years ago.  But the decision, along with  COVID, meant that the enrollment plummeted.


“College officials have in recent days attempted to secure emergency funding from the state, county, and city to stay open. While the responses were encouraging…  none of those entities said they could immediately offer help.”

A CSR spokesperson recently said, “The women’s soccer team is undefeated, and it’s business as usual over here. There is no plan to announce that the college is closing.” Still, the closure was a shock but, oddly, not entirely a surprise.

The Saint Rose Exposed page is written by Bruce Roter, a professor at Saint Rose, for 24 years before the 2022 retrenchment. He is the Founder and President of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Museum of Political Corruption and its Center for Ethical Governance.

Roter writes: “I am angriest at the administration and the board of trustees who let this community down. It was their primary responsibility to maintain the financial well-being of the college — they failed miserably. They failed the students who were promised an education that would change their lives. They failed the faculty who dedicated themselves to those students. They failed the staff who worked diligently behind the scenes to support the College. They failed the College’s founders, who envisioned an institution that would lift people up and educate the whole individual. They failed the alumni. They failed the Capital District Community.”

Now what?
As state Sen. Neil Breslin and Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy and John T. McDonald, III noted: “There is no way to quantify the impact of Saint Rose’s physical absence in the City of Albany. It is imperative we accelerate discussions surrounding the College’s 87 properties, their

future use, and how we can minimize the immediate and long-term effects on our surrounding community, businesses, and the Pine Hills neighborhood more specifically.


“The College of Saint Rose is part of the very fabric of Albany. We will work diligently to ensure there is a clear path forward for students and faculty, the College’s physical presence in the City of Albany, and a smooth transition and integration of existing academic programs through partnerships between Saint Rose and other institutions of higher education both in the Capital Region and New York State.”


I must believe that College of Saint Rose graduates, several of whom I know, must be mourning. And, of course, “the closing could be devastating to some students, who will struggle to find another college where they can finish their degree.” Not to mention faculty and staff who will have to seek other jobs.


From my house, the College of Saint Rose is just beyond the recently shuttered CVS. Talk about “There goes the neighborhood…”

Sears, where America used to shop

It later gave me an odd case of melancholy, that first representation of fiscal adulthood.

The sad, but unsurprising, news that the Sears at Colonie Center in Albany County, NY would be closing in September 2017 made me sadder than I would have thought, given the fact that I can’t remember the last time I entered the building. Certainly, it was before Sears leased out part of its footprint to the Whole Foods chain in 2011 because I’ve never been to Whole Foods.

After I graduated from college in 1977, I had difficulty paying back my student loans, some low-paying jobs and a stretch of unemployment facilitating that. As a result, I didn’t get my first charge card until 1982. And that first card was from Sears.

I bought EVERYTHING from Sears. The first item I got was a clock-radio; it cost $12, I think. Somehow, it suffered some external damage- something melted the case – but it still worked. When I got married in 1999, my spouse insisted we toss it out, and I did, but it later gave me an odd case of melancholy, that first representation of fiscal adulthood.

Still, there were plenty other items that ended up in my various apartments: a television set that I had for over 20 years; a microwave or two; my first VCR; at least two bicycles; Craftman tools, of course; and countless other necessities, big and small. Most of my clothes came from there. I could find anything in that place better than most salespeople.

In fact, I even got a Christmas tree, on December 24, 1991, which I hauled home on a CDTA bus. I didn’t ask, and the driver said nothing.

Sidebar: Final JEOPARDY! November 10, 1998: Native New Englander seen here, modeling for his company’s catalog sometime before WWI. Two people said, Sears. I knew that was not possible; Sears was founded in Chicago, as I well knew. (The correct response was “Who was L.L. Bean?”, which I got.)

And since I was a good customer, Sears offered me the opportunity to get one of the first charge cards from this new entity that was going to try to compete with MasterCard and VISA. It was called Discover, and back in 1986, it wasn’t accepted in too many places besides Sears, though FantaCo, the comic book/mail order store I worked at was an early acceptor.

But eventually, that Sears store started cutting back some categories, moving things around as though people wouldn’t notice what was missing. The last time I know for sure that I went in there was around 2003, when I bought a power lawnmower I eventually returned – a rarity for me anywhere – because it kept clogging up.

And now, Sears nationwide is in serious trouble. Some analyst I read suggested that, given the Sears catalog’s once-dominant place in the American economy and psyche, the company was in the best position to evolve into what Amazon, in fact, did become, the monster of online retail.

Now I don’t even bother to read the weekly ads Sears sends me. And the latest closures also include the store in my home county, Broome (Johnson City, NY).

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