On his third day in office, Hall established the Inaugural Scholarship Fund to assure that qualified undergrads would have the means to attend. The fund was jump-started with the $100,000 that the campus could have spent on Hall's inauguration. Additionally, Hall and his wife, Phyllis, pledged $10,000. Today the fund stands at $3 million.
Students at the university applauded Hall's openness with the student body. Hall made himself visible on campus, at sporting events and even visited the student-filled Pine Hills section of Albany with Mayor Jerry Jennings to get a feel for where the students were living and spending their time.
"I think he was influential enough to make real change but friendly enough to hold a conversation with," said Jennilee Barnao, a graduate student in the public history program. "I was saddened because there was a lot of promise for what he was going to bring and what he already brought to the university."
Barnao, who graduated from the university with a bachelor's degree in history, said she was delighted that Hall took the time to speak at the history department's commencement ceremony in 2005. Barnao said that while it probably only took two hours of Hall's time, it meant a lot to her that someone as busy as Hall would take the time to recognize the accomplishments of the department's students.
Hall was known for being generous with his time.
Amanda Whistle, the news editor for the Albany Student Press, said Hall had made plans with the campus newspaper to meet biweekly in the upcoming year to address campus issues.
"It was a joy working with him," said Whistle. "You could reach him on the phone at any time."
Chiuchiolo said Hall's efforts went a long way in ensuring that students can proudly display their diplomas received from the University at Albany.
"Simply put, the university, its faculty and staff, and its students are all better off today because of President Hall," he said. ""