from the Associate Vice President
Usually in this message, I write about the business end of the UB Alumni Association, its programs and activities and the progress we’re making toward achieving our goals.
Recently, however, I was privileged to witness how our efforts have affected people in very real and personal ways, and I thought these special moments bear sharing in this column.
In February, I received a letter from Dave Monahan about his mother, Ruth Monahan, a 1938 nursing school graduate who passed away at the beginning of this year. Dave wrote, “right up until her death, [she] was still taking care of people she knew,” and that the highlight of her long life was the day she graduated from UB. When Dave visited her, he would read to her from the latest issue of UB Today, or from our monthly electronic newsletter, @UB.
Dave did this because he knew that “Mom enjoyed UB more than you will ever know, and often told us stories of her college years.” He went on to tell me that, at his mother’s memorial, she was surrounded by the pictures that defined her life. In almost every one of them, there was a UB connection—whether it was from her days as a student, after graduation when she was working with fellow alumni, or in retirement when she was mentoring students. UB was more than just a part of her life.
Also very meaningful is the overwhelming number of responses we received from the cover story of the winter 2005 issue of UB Today, “A Stormy Spring.” In letter after letter, alumni passionately recounted their personal experiences during this tumultuous time at UB; the feelings of the day resurfaced in their writings. And the feedback was not only in written form; I spoke personally to many alumni at various events, and listened to their reminiscences. Overall, no matter their viewpoint, alumni expressed their appreciation that UB Today recalled this historic time.
And, some memories came from perspectives that were most unexpected. For instance, one alumnus, who was 12 years old at the time, lived next to the Main Street campus and remembered having dinner while the stench of tear gas invaded his home. Another alumnus, who was also a youngster then, spoke to me about riding his bike to campus and having to hide when the demonstrators marched past. “I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there,” he said, “but I knew this was history, and it was a defining moment.”
For me, the letter and the personal stories demonstrate the strength and endurance of the UB connection with its alumni.
Robert O. Davies