AVERILL PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State Writers Institute Director, author, and journalist Paul Grondahl will be the first speaker in the 2023 Sand Lake Center for the Arts (SLCA) Writers Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, January 12. Grondahl will read excerpts from his books, and discuss his literary process, journalism, biography, and his experiences with authors in connection with the Writers Institute.

Community leader and philanthropist Chet Opalka will moderate the discussion. “I am grateful to be invited to kick off the 2023 Authors Series presented by Sand Lake Center for the Arts, which will showcase the remarkable writing talent in our region,” said Grondahl. “My job as director of the Writers Institute is to help nurture and grow our community of authors and to foster meaningful discussions between readers and writers. I’m happy to be in conversation at SLCA with my friend Chet Opalka, whose philanthropy for the arts underscores the value of collaboration.”

Grondahl was appointed director of the state writers institute at the University of Albany in 2017. He is the third in the writers institute’s 36-year history. He moved to Albany in 1982 to attend graduate school at UAlbany and joined the Albany Times Union as a reporter in 1984. He continues to write a weekly column for the newspaper.

His books include Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma (1997); I Rose like a Rocket: The Political Education of Theodore Roosevelt (2004); and with Suzanne Lance, he co-edited Bootlegger of the Soul: The Literary Legacy of William Kennedy (2018).

Opalka is co-founder of Albany Molecular Research, Inc. (AMRI), located in Albany, a full-service chemistry services provider focused on applications for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and life sciences industries. Before founding AMRI, Opalka worked for Sterling Drug Inc. in various capacities in the Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Development Departments.

He has been named as inventor or co-inventor in nearly 30 patents and co-authored several scientific publications relating to his accomplishments in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry. Since his retirement, Opalka has become very active in the local business and philanthropic community. He serves on the Board of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, non-profit Boards of Trustees for the Sage Colleges, The Freddie Institute for Philanthropy Education, The Sand Lake Center for the Arts, The Global Child, and Northeast Health.

With support from the New York Council on the Arts, this program is free and open to the public. No registration is required, but a $5 donation is suggested.