Autumn is a wonderful time to be on a university campus, when the students are fresh from their summer experiences and the faculty are full of renewed energy. With the trees lining the campus in full color and the crisp air charging the senses, one feels truly vibrant and alive.
While homecoming activity is at its peak each October, the UB Alumni Association sponsors programs throughout the year that foster the natural appeal of returning to campus to relive past experiences, visit with old friends and make new ones. By instilling pride in the university and support for its mission, homecoming-whenever it occurs-cements the bond between the university and its former students, whether they graduated in May 2001 or many years earlier.
In June, a golden reunion honored alumni from three classes on reaching the 50-year milestone. Many of these alumni traveled far and wide to be in Buffalo to celebrate their accomplishments, both as a class and as individuals. We made special arrangements to show how the campus has changed since their days here. We toured the "new" campus in Amherst to see the apartments that house many current students and buildings where they now study and learn. We also provided them with the opportunity to view some of the advanced technology now being used. And we pointed out the site overlooking Lake LaSalle, where the future Janet and Robert Rich Alumni House will serve as the home away from home for all UB alumni.
As the reunion progressed and the alumni shared what they remembered about the university, I started to appreciate the deeper significance of this moment. These returning alumni talked about those who had gone out of their way to make UB a special place, particularly professors and special staff members. They talked about the friends they made and the times they shared studying, or, in some cases, not studying when they should have been. And they talked about the extracurricular activities that offered them a healthy outlet from the rigors of academic life.
Hearing their recollections, I realized that with all of the changes, it comes down to three constants-students, faculty and "UB experiences"-that continue to make the University at Buffalo so special. These constants do not change even when structures and technology do. While the students may wear different clothing (and boy, the hairstyles and hair colors are different!), at its heart and soul, UB is the same as it was 50 years ago, and as it will no doubt be 50 years from now.
I encourage you to come back to your university. It may have a different look and a different style. It may be a bit larger than you remember. But at its core, it remains true to the standards and traditions set long ago.
Robert O. Davies
Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations