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Experiences at School Helped Turn This Alumni Into a Local Leader

Albany city councilman Owusu Anane stands in front of city hall.

“The University at Albany expanded my horizons and helped me realize my potential.”

As the largest comprehensive system of public higher education in the country, the vast number of alumni graduating from our schools are bound to be part of the present and future of New York State government. Currently, 61 alumni serve in the New York legislature, in both the state assembly and state senate. And there are others who put their focus into local governments to help our towns and cities flourish.

Owusu Anane graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from the University at Albany in 2012. Today, Councilman Anane represents Albany’s 10th Ward, which includes the Pine Hills neighborhood, on the Albany Common Council in New York’s capital city.

Owusu’s sister graduated from Stony Brook University, so he was already familiar with the benefits of the SUNY system when it was time for him to make his college decision. Born in Brooklyn, Owusu quickly became greatly involved in advocacy and community building during his time on campus. Owusu was a part of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and participated in the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, was an elected representative in student government, and a member of the Albany chapter of College Democrats. He interned at the NYS Assembly for then-Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, who is a SUNY Binghamton graduate. Owusu grew to appreciate Albany and naturally found ways to be a part of its future and made it his permanent home.

A year after graduation, with his newfound love for the city of Albany, Owusu ran for a seat on the Albany Common Council and was unsuccessful his first time. But Owusu did not let this deter him, and ran again in 2017, won the election and has since been proudly serving the 10th ward and the city of Albany. Owusu is the youngest council member and the city’s first African-American to represent a ward which is not primarily minority.

Owusu is an elementary school teacher and basketball coach at Woodland Hill Montessori School in Rensselaer. Owusu is a strong advocate for education, and remains closely connected to SUNY students and the SUNY community. The neighborhood he represents includes many students who live off-campus. Owusu often returns to the University to speak to EOP students who are interested in politics and he regularly hosts “Council on the Corner” events to engage the community and meet many of the students living in his Ward.

Owusu credits his success to his experience at the University at Albany, where he was taught by and connected with world-renowned professors, was exposed to various student activities and met students from all over the world. This experience opened doors for him that he did not have access to before, and he acknowledges this every day.

“There are so many opportunities that the university has offered me that I don’t think I would have received at any other institution and I am forever grateful for the way this has expanded my horizons and helped me realize my potential.”

Written by Taryn Rackmyer

Taryn Rackmyer is a recent graduate of Mohawk Valley Community College, now attending the University at Albany for Public Policy. Taryn is a student assistant for SUNY's Government Relations & Marketing Department.

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