From the University President

UB’s Master Plan

Comprehensive strategy for university growth is historic undertaking

John B. Simpson

John B. Simpson
President, University at Buffalo

THIS FALL, I had the pleasure of addressing a group of community, government and business leaders about the importance of building a strong university-community partnership to the greater benefit of the larger region and state we serve. That event has initiated a fruitful conversation about where UB is going and how we think that direction will benefit the region and the communities beyond it—statewide, nationally and globally.

In this community address, I announced the extensive master planning process that UB is currently launching—a comprehensive framework to guide our physical development in support of the academic enterprise that we’ve outlined as part of UB 2020, our strategic vision for the university’s future. Developing a new campus master plan will lay the foundation for UB’s emergence as a great public research university in the 21st century. To achieve our ambi-tious goals, UB needs to grow—and to plan thoughtfully and strategically for this growth. Our comprehensive master planning process is the most viable means to this end.

Over the next 15 to 20 years, we will significantly increase the number of faculty and students on campus by approximately 750 full-time faculty and 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. These plans represent about a 40 percent increase overall in the size of our campus community, bringing with it a substantial increase in our economic impact on the region and state.

To accommodate this growth, and to provide our growing campus community with the safe, attractive and welcoming physical environment that will allow it to flourish, we plan to substantially increase our usable built space, while better utilizing and enhancing our existing facilities and landscaping. We are looking carefully at ways of modernizing aging facilities, seeking out environmentally sustainable building practices and energy alternatives, and reconceptualizing aspects of campus design to make our built spaces more welcoming and more accessible.

This comprehensive master planning process is the first such undertaking since UB’s Amherst Campus was designed more than three decades ago. Today, UB includes three major campus centers—South Campus on Main Street, North Campus in Amherst and the university’s growing presence downtown, where a number of UB facilities are located on or near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. A major guiding principle of the master plan will be to ensure the unfettered flow of ideas and collaboration across these three distinct, yet seamlessly interconnected, university campus centers. As we continue to expand and strengthen our university-community partnerships, an important focus of our campus master plan will be to explore strategies for linking our campus centers more effectively to our surrounding communities.

Our alumni and other university friends, both here in Western New York and around the world, have a vital role to play in these plans, and I hope that you will contribute your insights and perspectives.

When I speak to members of our UB extended family about our ambitious plans for the future, I am often asked, “How can I help support this vision for UB’s growth?” My answer is that I hope that all of you will serve as advocates and ambassadors for the university, helping us to ensure that UB is recognized widely as a model 21st-century public research university—one that sets the standard for forward-looking approaches to learning, innovation and discovery in today’s knowledge-based global community.

I welcome your thoughts about this historic undertaking, and look forward to the role that you and other university community members around the world will play in realizing UB’s great promise.

John B. Simpson

President, University at Buffalo

COMING SOON: For more campus news, and a closer look at what’s on the horizon for UB, stay tuned for the president’s spring video message, arriving on his Web site in late January: