UB Today Alumni Magazine Online - Fall 2003
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Message from the President
Message from the Provost
Message from the Associate Vice President

President's Message

UB: A Community of Leaders, a Leadership Institution


In the fall of 1992—a year after first taking office in September 1991—I gave my inaugural address as UBís 13th president. In preparing those remarks, I was faced with the daunting task of verbally encapsulating our university community in all its richness and diversity, and succinctly defining what the leadership of such a community means for me. Now, looking back and taking stock of all that our university family has accomplished together during that time, I find myself faced with a similar challenge. The heart of this challenge lies in the fact that UBís voice and its leadership ultimately come from within—not from one individual, but from our wonderfully multidimensional community in its entirety.

In that inaugural address, I spoke to the notion of communal leadership in this way: "Today is an inaugural day for a president, but even more, it is a day for us to celebrate the great traditions of which we—the people of this university—are part, and which it is our collective obligation to extend and advance for the benefit of generations yet to come."

Many Septembers later, I am even more firmly convinced that university leadership is an ongoing team effort. On a daily basis, our UB community has proven that the key to our universityís success in the here-and-now is to keep our collective eye on the big picture, remaining mindful both of the rich institutional history we build on and of the unseen future inheritors of the traditions we will pass on.

As valued members of our UB community, you have played, and will continue to play, a central role in UBís communal growth and leadership. The signs of your achievements are everywhere—not only here on our two main campuses, but also in the communities we touch and the lives of the individuals we work with and serve.

  • Through a university-wide process of program review, we have strategically focused our diverse academic strengths, leading to innovative dual-degree curricular programs and more than 80 interdisciplinary research centers. Every day, we are transcending boundaries that conventionally limit distinct fields of thought, achieving greater excellence in scholarship and our teaching—and attracting more world-class faculty and students in the process.
  • Together we have worked to substantially advance our research agenda, and our efforts have begun to bear fruit. During the 2002 fiscal year, research funding increased by more than 28 percent, to $239.7 million—an all-time high for UB. This also includes a 33 percent increase in funds received from the federal government, which rose by $32.2 million in 2002.
  • We have built significantly on our longstanding commitment to campus diversity, bringing together students, faculty, staff and community members across an even wider range of ethnic backgrounds and international borders. We have streamlined and enhanced student services. And thanks to the vibrant new housing complexes, commercial spaces and gathering places weíve built, UB has become a residential community where students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests are truly at home together.
  • As a billion-dollar-per-annum economic engine for the region, our public service mission has taken us even farther afield throughout Western New York and beyond, linking scholarship and research to community service. Public planning initiatives—like the annual State of the Region report published by our Institute for Local Governance and Regional Growth, and our many urban design projects that focus on revitalizing the Buffalo-Niagara area—allow UB students to gain valuable hands-on experience while increasing our outreach into the communities we serve.
  • Recognizing that no public university can rely solely on state support to realize its vision, we have put in place SUNYís most extensive and successful fund-raising operation. The Campaign for UB: Generation to Generation is the most ambitious fund-raising initiative in UBís history. At this writing we have reached $281.8 million, surpassing our $250 million goal by close to $32 million—a great achievement for our university community.
  • Together we have built UB—always a leading institution—into a leadership institution, a transformation that not only shapes the future of our university, but also substantially benefits our region, state and nation. From our international exchange programs with overseas universities to our collaborations with the regionís businesses, foundations and research institutions, we have forged strong and dynamic partnerships to extend our educational, research and service missions.

This is just the start of a long list of initiatives our community has under way, and the future will bring continued and even greater success. Back at the beginning of my tenure as UBís 13th president, in that inaugural address I said, "We often characterize inaugurations as the end of one era and the start of another. But that desire for historical tidiness is inappropriate for universities. The life of an institution such as UB is not a series of discrete presidential epochs, but a continuum comprising the lives and work of the faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends of the university."

Each of you actively occupies an essential place in this continuum, and I thank you sincerely for your contributions to UB over the years. It has been my great honor and privilege to help guide this process of communal growth and leadership for a time. Now Carol and I look forward to continuing our contributions to our great university as I prepare to rejoin my colleagues in the faculty.

The days ahead are exciting ones for our UB community. I look forward to sharing them with you as we welcome UBís 14th president. For surely, for this community of leaders, the future holds unlimited potential.

William R. Greiner
President, University at Buffalo

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