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As we enter the final weeks of the spring semester here on campus, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the past academic year and envision what lies ahead. Fall 2009 was a time of considerable progress at UB. We welcomed the most academically accomplished freshman class in UB history, unveiled our comprehensive master plan and saw members of our faculty earn significant national honors.
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In February, our community came together to pay tribute to the late President Emeritus William R. Greiner. His enduring legacy is everywhere apparent, from major buildings that changed the face of the campus to the interlocking “UB” that adorns our Division I athletes’ uniforms and is used in countless other applications besides. The stories told of his unselfish mentoring, help and encouragement to so many have been quite moving. Click here to read more.
Just as Bill’s vision shaped much of the UB that we know today, UB 2020 carries with it the promise of tomorrow. That promise can be seen on the faces of current UB faculty like SUNY Distinguished Professor Esther S. Takeuchi, who received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama. It was there when our women’s rowing team and students from the Department of Rehabilitation Science, School of Public Health and Health Professions, joined together to combine their unique skills for the benefit of our community.
While a struggling economy has impacted us all, UB remains true to the promise and vision of our plan. We have softened the impact of an estimated $55 million in state budget cuts (representing a 27.2 percent cut in state support) over the past two years by making operational improvements and tapping institutional reserves, nearly depleting this resource. Even with these efforts, however, the economic challenges facing New York have eroded the financial base of UB 2020 and pushed back its timetable. Ironically, never has New York needed more to build a future economy based on innovations that emerge from the state’s research universities.
In January, Governor David A. Paterson responded to this need with a proposal that if adopted by the Legislature will grant more flexibility to all SUNY and CUNY campuses—in effect, extending statewide the policy reforms we have been seeking. His proposal also will do away with the sudden tuition increases of the past that have dealt a severe and unpredictable blow to students and parents. We are supporting the governor’s proposal because these reforms will be a critical step toward enhancing UB’s ability to compete among the best public research universities in the nation.
Mindful of where we have been and where we aim to be, we move forward with purpose in 2010. The efforts of our dedicated alumni and every UB Believer have brought us closer to achieving the UB 2020 vision. Let’s continue to work toward that promise.
John B. Simpson, President
University at Buffalo
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