UB Today Alumni Magazine Online - Fall 2004
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suitcaseRepeat the question*

For many, graduating from UB is just the beginning of the journey — How far have you traveled to pursue your dreams?


Laura Gabiger, BA ’81
Probably the farthest I’ve lived from Buffalo is Volgograd, Russia, where I taught at Volgograd State University from 1994 to 1996. I also did work that took me to Tbilisi, Georgia, and Baku, Azerbaijan.

Kuang Soon-Lee, BS ’82
I graduated with a BS in civil engineering. I revisited Buffalo and the campus in May 2005 after 23 years. It was like walking down memory lane seeing familiar campus buildings such as Parker Hall and Hayes Hall. I am currently residing in Melbourne, Australia, and would like to reestablish contacts with all former classmates and friends in Buffalo from 1980 to 1982.

Donn Chown
Since leaving UB, I have literally been around the world twice, once by air and once by sea. I have lived in Japan, Indonesia, Hawaii and Alaska, and traveled extensively on all the continents. I’m now building a new home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, and will retire there this year to build custom furniture in my garage (that will never see a car in it as long as I’m there!).

James J. Scerra, BS ’81
Right after graduation, I established a career with a Fortune 500 global manufacturer in the Buffalo-Niagara region and moved upward and onward within the organization. After living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and traveling extensively for five years, I was given an opportunity to return to our [Western New York] region. There are many exciting areas of our nation, and the world, but it’s very good to be home again. This area has its share of problems, but makes up for it with our friendly people, character, charm and an ease that most cities can’t [offer].

Yvette Smetana, BA ’00
After graduation, I moved to Philadelphia for a job. I stayed in Philadelphia until October 2004, when I moved to Switzerland. I now live and work in Basel—the meeting point of Switzerland, Germany and France. It’s an unbelievable experience and I am so happy I made the decision to follow my dream “across the pond!”

Paul Sharratt, JD ’91 & BA ’77
New York City was my first port of call after leaving UB and the Buffalo area in 1977. While [based] in New York, I explored Britain, Ireland, Yugoslavia, France, Italy, Greece, Hong Kong, Japan and China. I returned to UB for three years from 1988 to 1991; then it was on to Washington, DC. I now make my home in Takoma Park, Maryland, with my wife Patty, daughter Evelyn, and our Chinook sled dog, Koda.

Ralph C. Gatrone, PhD ’80
After graduation, I spent a year in California, at Stanford University. I returned to Western New York for six years, spent eight years at Argonne National Lab in Illinois, three years in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, three years in Montgomery, Alabama, and two years in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I moved to Virginia three years ago to chair the department of chemistry and physics at Virginia State University.

Alva R. Royston, BS ’73
[The farthest I’ve traveled was to] the French Alps to ski at Chamonix, France, the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924—quite an achievement for an African American from New York City who as a child dreamed of skiing one day. This trip, in 2001, [accompanied by] my wife and a group of seven other African Americans, was the pinnacle of a 30-year skiing hobby.

Donald Gary Brown, BA ’90
I have gone from New York City, “The Big Apple,” to Alabama, “The Heart of Dixie,” and am now working as a professor in Kentucky, “The Bluegrass State.” All along my journey, I have met fellow UB graduates and native Buffalonians.

W. V. (Buzz) Williamson, MS ’67 & PMCRT ’66
I retired and built a beach house on the Pacific Ocean in Nicaragua, which, according to CNN World Report, is the safest country in the Western Hemisphere. I couldn’t agree more. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

*Responses to a question posed “In My Opinion,” a feature of the monthly electronic newsletter @UB. To subscribe, go to the UB Links menu at www.alumni.buffalo.edu. Additional responses at www.buffalo.edu/UBT/moreresponses

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