From the University President

Believe in the UB 2020 vision

Creating a premier public research university for the 21st century requires community support

John B. Simpson

John B. Simpson
President, University at Buffalo

IN RECENT ISSUES of UB Today, I have been updating you on critical aspects of the UB 2020 vision, from our plans for new academic enterprises—our strategic strengths—to grow the university by as much as 40 percent in our enrollment, faculty and staff, and capital investments, to the major comprehensive campus planning process we have embarked upon to provide the physical support that will help realize this transformation for UB.

UB 2020 is a vision for creating a truly dynamic, thriving public research university that serves as the cornerstone and catalyst for the communities it serves. UB’s growth and success will, in turn, support increased job growth in our surrounding region, improved quality of life for the communities we serve, the creation of new companies and provision of strategic assistance to hundreds of existing ones, and a reversal of the brain drain in our region.

If you’ve returned to your university recently, you will have already seen tangible signs of UB 2020’s success. We have broken ground with our physical planning process with projects that include the restoration and landscaping of Founders Plaza at the heart of our North Campus, and improvements to the border between the South Campus and its surrounding neighborhoods. We are seeing marked increases in research funding, and our plans to develop our core academic strategic strengths also are bearing fruit with the arrival of the second group of premier faculty hired as a result of these plans. And the promising group of students joining us this fall will benefit from an undergraduate experience that is being increasingly enriched and expanded.

With each new step forward, the UB 2020 vision is steadily becoming a reality. But to realize this vision fully, and to maximize its impact on our communities, we need the support of all the constituencies we represent, as we pursue the wise public policies, strong and consistent state funding, and philanthropic support that will enable UB 2020 to become our future reality.

This is the motivation that guides “UB Believers,” a newly formed group composed of community members who recognize the positive impact of UB on its communities, and who are dedicated to raising awareness of its value among elected officials and other policymakers. This group represents the full spectrum of the extended UB community, including faculty, staff and students, as well as growing numbers of alumni, university friends, community members, parents and others who believe in UB’s vision and are committed to helping to bring it to fruition.

Over the past three years, I’ve greatly enjoyed speaking with alumni and other university friends across the nation and around the globe about how UB’s growth and excellence will enable our university and our communities to reach their full potential. In each of those conversations, I’ve been enormously gratified by the large numbers of individuals who ask how they can help realize this vision. We think that UB Believers provides the answer to precisely that question—it is the perfect forum for getting involved in building UB’s future.

You will read more about UB Believers later in this issue, and I encourage you to get involved in this powerful effort by visiting

As alumni, you are UB’s most powerful and knowledgeable advocates, as well as our most inspiring ambassadors. Whether you’re one of the thousands of UB graduates who have settled in Western New York, or if you’ve joined an alumni chapter on the other side of the country or in another nation, your voice and your vision have a powerful role to play in helping to build a bright future—not only for your university, but, by extension, for our surrounding region and for every community we serve, from the local to the global.

John B. Simpson

President, University at Buffalo

For more about “UB Believers” and ways to get involved, you can view President Simpson’s fall welcome video at

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