The Albany City School District 2016 Hall of Fame Class

A few months ago, I was pleased to share with all of you that my beloved high school principal, Lillian Tillman-DeWitt, was named to the Albany City School District Class of 2016.  The induction ceremony will take place on the weekend of September 16-17, as part of Albany High School’s Homecoming weekend.

Lillian G. Tillman (DeWitt), from 1981 Street Academy of Albany yearbook.
Lillian G. Tillman (DeWitt), from 1981 Street Academy of Albany yearbook.

Mrs. T, however, is not the only person who will be honored that weekend.  On Friday, the Albany City School District announced the full class of 2016, and they include graduates of both Albany High School and Philip Schuyler High School.  From the press release, the list includes:

  • Robert Brown (Albany High School ’66) – Brown earned a football scholarship to Rutgers University and went on to earn both a bachelor’s and a law degree there. An accomplished lawyer and politician, he served as counsel to the government committee that recommended the impeachment of Richard Nixon. He was the first African-American mayor of Orange, N.J., and also served in the New Jersey State Legislature until the time of his death in 2009.
  • Fred Daniels (Albany High School ’77) – Daniels played varsity basketball all four years at Albany High, leading the team in assists, steals and triple-doubles. He made local and state all-star teams as a sophomore, junior and senior before going on to play at Siena College. After graduating from Siena, he became a successful business executive at several Fortune 500 companies. Daniels currently is vice president of supply chain operations for the Ralph Lauren Corp.
  • Jason Gough (Albany High School ’88) – As an on-camera meteorologist for WNYT/Channel 13, Gough’s face is familiar to anyone who watches television or cares about the weather. Gough also donates his time to several charities and causes including the Spina Bifida Association of Northeastern New York and the American Cancer Society. Gough also has volunteered his time as the host of the district’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonies since the hall was created in 2009.
  • Norman McConney Jr. (Albany High School ’65) – McConney was the longtime chief of staff for Assemblyman Arthur Eve of Buffalo, who was deputy speaker of the New York State Assembly. McConney was the driving force behind creation of SUNY’s Educational Opportunities Program, or EOP, and the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators. Throughout his career he was a staunch advocate of programs to benefit disadvantaged students. He died this year on New Year’s Day at age 69.
  • Bernie Mulligan, longtime Albany booster – Mulligan was a founding member of both Citizens of Albany for Responsible Education (CARE) and People Advocating for Small Schools (PASS). As a leader in PASS, Mulligan played a critical role in helping pass three bond votes in Albany that led to the rebuilding or renovation of elementary and middle schools in the City School District of Albany. He also was a longtime member of the board of the Albany Fund for Education and continues to be a passionate supporter of Albany High athletics.
  • Frank Owens (Philip Schuyler ’67) – Owens lettered in three sports at Schuyler and was an All-Albany first-team quarterback in 1967. He went on to play semi-pro football with the Albany Wolverines and the Metro Mallers. He also was a physical education teacher at Giffen Memorial Elementary School and Albany High School and coached basketball and football. Eventually he was appointed director of health and physical education for the school district.
  • Lillian Tillman-DeWitt, retired principal of the former Street Academy, which eventually became Harriet Gibbons High School – Tillman-DeWitt began teaching fourth grade at the former School 6 in 1966 and became a resource-room teacher at Arbor Hill Elementary School in 1973. She was appointed principal of the former Street Academy in 1979 and was its principal until her 1991 retirement.

Members of the Class of 2016 will be honored at an induction ceremony and dinner at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16 at the Italian-American Community Center. The new inductees will be recognized on Sept. 17 at the Wall of Fame unveiling and during halftime of Albany High’s Homecoming football game later that afternoon.

The Hall of Fame was established in 2009 to recognize accomplished graduates, exceptional district staff people and community leaders that have supported our schools. Each year, new Hall of Famers are inducted after being nominated by the public and selected by a committee of district staff and community members.

On a personal note, congratulations to each of this year’s Hall of Fame Class of 2016.  I look forward to hearing all of your memories, anecdotes, remembrances and observations at the upcoming induction ceremony and dinner.