From the University President

Making progress, building momentum

John B. Simpson

John B. Simpson
President, University at Buffalo

THIS PAST OCTOBER, at my second annual community address, I had the pleasure of speaking with more than 400 Western New Yorkers about UB today and the enormous impact it will continue to have on our communities. We are at a pivotal moment of opportunity in pursuing the goals of UB 2020, our vision for achieving sustained excellence as one of the nation’s great universities. The greater UB becomes, the greater is its cultural, intellectual and economic influence on our region and far beyond it.

Last year, we announced that to optimize UB 2020’s implementation, we plan to increase significantly the total number of our faculty, staff and students. This year, I was happy to report that we are well on our way, and already are seeing the tangible impact of our efforts.

Let me highlight a few examples I shared with those in attendance:

Recent analysis has shown that our projected 40 percent growth by 2020 will increase UB’s regional economic impact from $1.5 billion to $2.6 billion per year.

We already are seeing clear evidence of our growth plan in action. Our plans to enhance our strategic strengths are bearing fruit with the arrival of the second group of premier faculty hired as a result of these plans. Of the 270 tenure-track faculty hired in the past three years, we have seen a net increase of nearly 100 new faculty positions.

This fall, 3,263 freshmen, chosen from a record-high 20,000 applicants, began their college education at UB, representing the most competitive and talented class we have ever had. We have just launched a four-year Honors College. And as you will read about in more depth in this issue, we are implementing “learning academies” that correspond with our strategic strengths, as well as introducing primary research experiences that are among the most unique and transformative available anywhere.

We continue to work hand-in-hand with our broader communities to make these first-rate educational opportunities as accessible as possible. In the past year, we have launched a historic partnership between UB and the Buffalo Public Schools that focuses on dramatically increasing the number of students who graduate from high school ready for college and for the demands of the 21st-century knowledge economy.

Meanwhile, as part of our continuing campus development process, UB recently acquired the former M. Wile building, which will be our sixth building in downtown Buffalo. We are renaming it the UB Downtown Gateway—a literal and figurative doorway connecting the university and its host city. We also have announced plans to construct a new Educational Opportunity Center adjacent to the UB Downtown Gateway—a modern and much larger location that will serve even more individuals through its educational and job-training programs.

Additional commitments by UB to a more vibrant presence in downtown Buffalo include the recent opening of the Ira G. Ross Eye Institute on Main Street and the upcoming move of fund-raising staff to the Jacobs Executive Development Center on Delaware Avenue. These are just a few of the major developments under way at UB, and I hope they give you a flavor of the tremendous sense of momentum fueled by UB 2020.

Upon reading these latest achievements, I hope you’re inspired to become a more vocal proponent of the university. In the previous issue of UB Today, I wrote about UB Believers, the rapidly growing group of university supporters dedicated to raising awareness among elected officials, policymakers and the community at large about the importance of UB’s plans for the future, and about the policy changes that we will need to achieve our goals. If you haven’t already added your voice to this effort, I encourage you to do so now by registering as a UB Believer at

I look forward to continuing to talk with you and with members of the extended UB family everywhere about how to realize our tremendous collective promise and to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities that we now have within our reach.

John B. Simpson

John B. Simpson
President, University at Buffalo