President Emeritus, Union College (NY)
Stephen Ainlay served as the 18th President of Union College in Schenectady, NY from 2006 to 2018. He also served as the Chancellor of Union University, whose member institutions include the Albany College of Law, Albany School of Medicine, Albany College of Pharmacy, Union Graduate College, and the Dudley Observatory. He was also Professor of Sociology at Union. Before joining Union, Ainlay spent 23 years at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. At Holy Cross, he was a Professor of Sociology and held a number of administrative positions, including the Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. Ainlay held a Rutgers/Princeton post-doctoral fellowship after completing his Ph.D work. He was also a visiting scholar at St. Edmund's College in Cambridge University and summer fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, California. Ainlay's research projects have included investigations of blindness, aging, spirituality and various aspects of Mennonite life, all aimed at better understanding the ways in which people find meaning in their lives. His books include Day Brought Back My Night: Aging and Vision Loss; Mennonite Entrepreneurs (co-authored with Calvin Redekop and Robert Siemans); The Dilemma of Difference: A Multidisciplinary View of Stigma (co-edited with Gaylene Becker and Lerita Coleman); and Making Sense of Modern Times: Peter L. Berger and the Vision of Interpretive Sociology (co-edited with James Davison Hunter). Ainlay provided national leadership in education through his service on the Board of the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD) and by leading reaccreditation teams. Ainlay was active in New York higher education, serving on the Boards of the member institutions of Union University as well as the Board of the Commission of Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU). In 2007, he was appointed by the Governor of New York to the Commission on Higher Education. He served and continues to serve on the boards of numerous academic and community organizations. Ainlay is currently conducting research on and writing about higher education.