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Bullish Bookends: AP sports reporter Jim Militello, BA ’79, who leads the Washington, D.C., alumni chapter, is flanked by former Bulls Jamey Richard, BS ’08, and Drew Willy, BA ’09 (both play for the Indianapolis Colts) during Super Bowl XLIV media day Feb. 2 in Miami.
Question: What organization serves
more than 208,000 people, yet
receives support from less than
6 percent of them?
Answer: The UB Alumni Association.
Out of more than 208,000 alumni worldwide, a mere 12,000 UB graduates have made a commitment to support their alumni association by becoming dues-paying members of the UBAA. “It’s no secret that UB alumni have pride in their alma mater,” says UBAA President Larry Zielinski, MBA ’77 & BA ’75. “Unfortunately, that pride hasn’t been translated into membership like we find at other large universities. For as long as I’ve been involved with the alumni association, this disconnect between alumni and membership has prevailed … and it’s time for that to change.” Although there are likely many reasons for the disconnect, three commonly held myths arise in conversations with alumni, according to Zielinski. No. 1 is the “magazine myth,” he says, which relates to the fact that many alumni believe they are members of the UBAA simply because they receive UB Today. “That’s understandable in a way because many universities reserve their magazine only for dues-paying members,” adds Jay R. Friedman, EdM ’00 & BA ’86, associate vice president for alumni relations. “But not at UB. We believe it should go to all alumni, so we’ll just have to continue banging the drum that it doesn’t equate to membership.”
Next is the “local myth,” in which alumni who live outside Western New York believe there are no benefits for them. “We purposely create a members–only benefits package that provides numerous perks for out–of–town members,” explains Kristen Murphy, BA ’96, assistant director, membership. “And we’re always reevaluating to be sure that what we’re offering is of a higher value than the cost of an annual membership. To do otherwise doesn’t make sense.”
And finally, the myth about eligibility. Contrary to popular belief, anyone—whether a UB parent, spouse, UB Believer, neighbor or Bulls fan in Western New York or around the world–is welcome to officially join the UBAA network. “We opened up our membership in 2009. We felt that anyone who cares about UB should have a way to show it, and UBAA membership is a win-win option,” Friedman says.
“No. 1 is the magazine myth.” Larry Zielinski, UBAA President
Academically, UB is in the big leagues, yet ranks among the lowest when it comes to alumni association membership, as revealed by the Council of Alumni Association Executives 2009 member survey. Penn State, Iowa State, the University of Michigan and the Ohio State University vastly outpace UB, with up to 48.3 percent of addressable alumni belonging to their associations.
Universities with strong alumni associations have a base of support that is called upon to shape policy and advocate on behalf of key initiatives, like UB 2020. “In UB’s last public campaign, 62 percent of alumni donated, the largest contingent to do so—isn’t that powerful?” Zielinski says. “Imagine our strength if we were to harness that energy into one unified group, into the UB Alumni Association.”
“Show your pride and support an organization whose purpose is to provide support for you,” Zielinski urges. Readers may use the envelope provided in the print edition, or call the alumni office at 1–800–284–5382 or join online at www.alumni.buffalo.edu/how-join-renew.
On Nov. 10, UB Bulls football fans packed into Blondies Sports on the Upper West Side of New York City for the chapter’s annual wings night and watch party event, as UB took on Ohio.
The Washington, D.C., chapter reprised its 2003 Alumni Media Panel event on June 16 before an audience of 185 in the National Press Club. Headlining the panel were CNN’s Wolf I. Blitzer, BA ’70, and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Tom Toles, BA ’73, of The Washington Post.
Watch a summary of the June 2009 DC Media Panel on YouTube
Other journalists comprising the panel were Pamela Benson, BA ’76, senior producer, national security for CNN; Jo Ann Armao, BA ’74, The Washington Post editorial writer; and John Schiumo, BA ’93, Emmy Award-winning anchor for 24-hour cable television station NY1 in New York City.
Moderated by Jim Militello, BA ’79, Associated Press sportscaster, president of the Washington, D.C., chapter and UBAA executive committee board member, the panel discussed such topics as coverage of the H1N1 virus and the future of news reporting.
On July 21, the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C., hosted 150 UB alumni and guests at La Maison Française, the cultural center on the grounds, for a reception and presentation by John Wood, UB associate vice provost for international education. The D.C. chapter also held a pregame party and hockey game when the Buffalo Sabres played the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center Dec. 23.
(Left to right) Ken Warner, BS ’77, Paolo Dizon, BS ’92, Michele Wozniak, BA ’95, and Jen Wozniak, MBA ’96 & BA ’92 (former president of the UB Alumni Association), mingled during the pregame party before the Denver Rockies game on July 3.
Baseball provided the backdrop for alumni events in Colorado, Michigan and North Carolina. The Denver chapter’s third annual alumni pregame party and Rockies baseball game with fireworks on July 3 was a sellout; 30 UB alumni and friends were in Comerica Park July 12 as the Detroit Tigers battled the Cleveland Indians; and the Raleigh chapter hosted an alumni night at the ballpark on July 25 as the Durham Bulls faced the Norfolk Tides.
Hey, that’s me! To see photos of other alumni and friends from recent chapter meetings, click here.
The Rochester, N.Y., chapter, led by Kourtney J. Gagliano, BS ’02, welcomed spirited groups of alumni for a networking happy hour at Murphy’s Law on July 23, as well as a Buffalo Bills watch party on Nov. 15 at the Rochester Anchor Bar.
The Albany chapter hosted a day at the races for 41 alumni and friends at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 1, while the Houston chapter hosted a performance of “Sherlock Holmes and the Crucifer of Blood” at the Alley Theatre on Aug. 13.
The Cleveland chapter held a regional event on Aug. 14, bringing 54 alumni together for some Buffalo–style food.
A pregame tailgate party and Buffalo Bulls vs. UCF Knights football game were offered by the developing Orlando chapter on Sept. 19.
A sunset cruise around San Diego Bay attracted 35 alumni and friends on Sept. 25, while alumni in Philadelphia caught the UB football team in action on Sept. 26 against the Temple Owls.
I loved my UB experience and didn’t want it to end after my four years as a student. There is no better way to stay connected than to be a part of the alumni association. It helps me maintain personal and professional contacts with people I knew at UB, as well as alumni whom I’ve met since graduating. I also enjoyed attending UBAA chapter events when I lived in northeast Ohio, and now I am involved in planning events for the New York City chapter. I was invited to join the UBAA Board in 2009, which further helps me network professionally while serving fellow UB alums.
Ruth Kleinman, BA ’05, Port Washington, N.Y.
Lifetime member since May 2005 (received after serving as president of the University Student Alumni Board); currently serves as co-director of Hillels of Westchester, youth group director of Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-El, and counselor/staff member of Camp Echo Lake; also an active volunteer in the UB Alumni Ambassador program, recruiting high school seniors to attend UB.
On April 9, the UB Alumni Association will present achievement awards to 11 deserving individuals and an association during a gala event in the Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall on the North Campus. Held each spring to honor UB alumni and friends for bringing distinction to themselves and the university, the event is returning to campus after being held offsite for a number of years. Another departure is that instead of a sit-down dinner, the evening will include premium food stations, an open bar and entertainment following the awards ceremony in the Center for the Arts Atrium.
The highest honor of the evening, the Samuel P. Capen Award, will be presented to Gordon R. Gross, JD ’55, of Eggertsville, N.Y. Read more about Gross here.
Click here to show your pride and join the UBAA.
Distinguished Alumni Awards, given in recognition of exceptional career accomplishments, community or university service, or research and scholarly activity, will go to Richard J. Ablin, PhD ’67, of Tucson, Ariz.; Laura L. Aikin, BFA ’86, of Basiglio, Italy; Wolf I. Blitzer, BA ’70, of Bethesda, Md.; and Margaret G. McGlynn, MBA ’83 & BS ’82, of Flourtown, Pa.
The Clifford C. Furnas Award, presented to engineering, natural sciences or mathematics alumni who have distinguished themselves in a field of science, will be given to Norman R. McCombs, BA ’68, of Tonawanda, N.Y.
Gary A. Baker, PhD ’02, of Knoxville, Tenn., is slated to receive the George W. Thorn Award, given to alumni under 40 in recognition of outstanding national or international contributions to their career field or academic area.
Reserved for non–alumni who have made notable and meritorious contributions to UB, the Walter P. Cooke Award will be presented to Janet H. Sung and John J. Sung of Clarence, N.Y.
The Dr. Richard T. Sarkin Award for Excellence in Teaching will be presented to William G. Wild Jr., MS ’87, MA ’85 & BS ’83, of Buffalo, N.Y.
Dennis W. Elsenbeck, ME ’96, of Orchard Park, N.Y., will be given the Community Leadership Medal.
The Dr. Phillip B. Wels Award, given to individuals and groups whose achievements have greatly enhanced the quality of life of the entire UB community, will be given to the University at Buffalo Dental Alumni Association.
Also that evening, four students will be awarded J. Scott Fleming Scholarships and five individuals will receive Volunteer Recognition Awards. Full bios and photos of 2010 awardees are available here.
More than 200 members of the Pillars Society, graduates of 50 or more years ago, were treated to three inspiring UB at Noon programs last semester.
On June 18, artist and art collector Gerald Mead, MFA ’08, talked about works of such Buffalo artists as James Allen and William West. Mead, a professor at Buffalo State College, also talked about his own works, which are small–scale collages and assemblages created from photographs and found objects.
Health care was the topic Oct. 9 with a presentation by David Dunn, UB’s vice president for health sciences, who discussed the role that the university’s Academic Health Center will play in transforming health care services and education in Western New York, New York State and the nation.
And finally, Jody Kleinberg Biehl, director of the journalism certificate program and adjunct instructor in the Department of English, concluded the 2009 program on Nov. 4 with a lively discussion of journalism and the future of newspapers with the rise in electronic communication.
Former international students Gustavo Lima, MArch ’88, principal, Cannon Design (gesturing), and Gaurav Shringarpure, ME ’04, of SLR Contracting & Service (far right), meet UB international students during International Week in November.
UB President John B. Simpson has met with countless alumni across the United States and around the world, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. In September 2009, Simpson met with alumni in the Turkey chapter of the UB Alumni Association. Forty UB alumni and friends welcomed Simpson; his wife, Katherine; and Stephen Dunnett, PhD ’77 & BA ’68, vice provost for international education, during a reception in Istanbul.
Chapter president Zeynep Uluer Aytekin, MA ’93 & BA ’91, and co-president Basak Kizildemir, MA ’88, helped to coordinate the evening at the Turkish Cultural Foundation in Istanbul. “It was wonderful to be together … to welcome our special guests,” Aytekin says. “We were so happy to see everyone, ranging from the grads of 1986 to the newest grads from 2009.”
Also during their trip to Turkey, Simpson and Dunnett visited Bilkent University in Ankara, the first private, nonprofit university in Turkey, and Istanbul Technical University (ITU)–a state university founded in 1773 that specializes in architectural and engineering education–to renew UB’s exchange agreement with that institution.
On October 21, President John B. Simpson and Warde Manuel, athletics director, met with nearly 90 UB alumni who work for HSBC Bank in downtown Buffalo for an afternoon presentation and reception. The event was held as part of HSBC’s afternoon lecture program created by its Buffalo Business Council.
President Simpson spoke about UB 2020 and its impact in the Buffalo–Niagara region and across the state. Meanwhile, Manuel talked about ways in which alumni and members of the community can show their support for UB, not only in the athletics arena, but also by becoming advocates through the UB Believers program, by volunteering, and simply by attending events.
UB and HSBC have a longstanding partnership in that UB has educated many students who, as alumni, have gone on to assume leadership roles within the bank. For example, Joseph Saffire, MBA ’95, is HSBC’s executive vice president and regional president for commercial banking. Countless other alumni work for the bank around the world.
The School of Management’s Center for Global Business Leadership (HSBC Center) was established through an endowment from HSBC. Since its inception, the HSBC Center has helped to prepare students for future leadership roles in international business and to promote awareness and understanding of international business.
Nancy Battaglia and Andrew Wilcox are new members of the Office of Alumni Relations staff.
Two new staff members joined the Office of Alumni Relations in September.
Nancy M. Battaglia, MBA ’96 & BS ’89, is associate director, special projects. Formerly with UB’s human resources department, she focuses on programs and services for nontraditional alumni. She is also the liaison for several chapters.
Andrew J. Wilcox is associate director, strategic partnerships. His primary responsibility is strategic marketing, advertising and forging revenue–generating partnerships. Wilcox was previously director of marketing and special events for UB Athletics.
Wende Hall, one of the original buildings on UB’s South Campus, is now home to the School of Nursing. Comprising seven classrooms, a center for nursing research, three specialized instructional laboratories, faculty offices, study space, and student and employee lounges, the historic building received a $7.1 million facelift, transforming it into a state–of–the–art learning, teaching and research facility. In addition, a number of green elements have been incorporated, including energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.
The building features a clinical skills laboratory with nine hospital beds separated by curtains. Each station comes with equipment for tasks, such as suctioning and delivering oxygen. Students can further hone their nursing skills in two simulation rooms in the laboratory that house mannequins capable of exhibiting “symptoms” of illnesses.
A high-tech physical assessment laboratory will include 10 exam rooms, each double the size of similar spaces in Kimball Tower, the nursing school’s previous home. Each room will be equipped with cameras, enabling faculty members to converse with students, and watch and record them at work. Students can then review and learn from the recordings.
An operating suite for the school’s anesthesia program will come equipped with a simulation mannequin. From a “mission control” room next door, faculty members will be able to monitor students, manipulating the mannequin to respond to their actions.
According to Jean Brown, dean of the School of Nursing, “Kimball Tower, with its long hallways, was built as a dormitory, so it did not enhance faculty collaboration.” In Wende Hall, Brown notes, “faculty will be closer together, and I think that’s going to be a real plus. We also have a little bit of room to grow.”
We all know that professional networking can bring many benefits to your career—sometimes a personal connection is what it takes to land that new job.
By the same token, a personal introduction from a UB alumnus can be just what it takes for high school students to choose UB. If you would like to help UB recruit the best and brightest students to your alma mater, the UB Alumni Ambassador Program offers a number of opportunities across the country.
Whether you have two hours to give or 20, there’s a recruitment activity to fit your schedule. For example, some ambassadors represent UB at college fairs, some “adopt” their former high school to boost UB visibility and others make phone calls or send e-mails to prospective students. If you have an undergraduate degree from UB and live in the continental U.S., you have what it takes to be an ambassador.
For more information, click here.
UBAA member Pat Herberger, MBA ’85 & BS ’79 (center), speaks with students during the Hump Day Hangout in the Student Union Social Hall on Oct. 21.
“Take a slice, take a turn” is the one phrase you need to know for our newest student outreach activity, Hump Day Hangout (HDHO) with the UB Alumni Association. Held one Wednesday (“hump day”) a month in the Student Union, HDHO gives students a way to unwind with free pizza and Wii games while honing their networking skills with alumni volunteers. “We wanted to raise awareness among students of all the programs the alumni office has for them, but in a way that was casual and fun,” says Patty Starr, assistant director, volunteer and student programs. “It’s been a huge success–we’ve had about 300 students at each of these monthly events since September.”
Dewane Harris, BA ’93, presents an “Alumni in Training” T-shirt to a UB student during the Oct. 21 Hump Day Hangout in the Student Union Social Hall.
Alumni interested in volunteering for an upcoming HDHO may find dates on the alumni Web site.