Skip to main content
University at Buffalo

UB Today

A publication of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association

Fall 2010





Join the Alumni Association

UBAA on Facebook

To stop receiving the print version and read UB Today online, > click here

Or to download a PDF version of this issue > click here

Alumni News

UB Coast to Coast NYC

Abbe Raven BA ’74 “Telling a story in a new way resonates with viewers. I learned how to tell great stories from great professors at UB like Saul Elkin.” —Abbe Raven, BA ’74

Passion was the tone of the weekend as more than 40 UB alumni—all highly successful entertainers, writers, producers, directors and performers–shared their wisdom with UB students and recent graduates at the second annual UB Coast to Coast (UB C2C NYC), this time held in New York City on July 23–25. “Success is about passion,” said keynote speaker Abbe Raven, BA ’74, president and chief executive officer of AETN (Arts and Entertainment Television Networks) and one of the most powerful women in television.

As part of the event, approximately 200 participants visited museums, production companies and media outlets, attended workshops and were personally mentored by industry experts at Macaulay Honors College/CUNY in Manhattan, steps away from Lincoln Center. The event was sponsored by AETN, Bergamot Station, Canoe Ventures, Community Preservation Corp., Macaulay Honors College/CUNY, Variety Media Careers, Patrick Kennedy, BA ’78, and Eileen Silvers, BA ’70.

Alan Zwelbel BA ’72 Teaching a comedy writing workshop Alan Zwelbel BA ’72 teaches a comedy writing workshop.

In a ceremony that preceded Raven’s keynote address, the AETN CEO was presented with the UB Alumni Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Introduced by her mentor, Saul Elkin, SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Theatre and Dance, Raven received the award from UB President John B. Simpson and Jay R. Friedman, EdM ’00 & BA ’86, associate vice president for alumni relations. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors Raven for “achievements as a leader in the entertainment industry; for being a distinguished alumna of the University at Buffalo who readily shares her talents with the university community; for inspiring UB students; and contributing to one of UB’s strategic strengths, Artistic Expression and Performing Arts, addressing the deepest human realities, the most complex human emotions, and the radical human concerns of body and spirit.”

To view photos of the event, visit

The Main Event

The little engine that could

LIKE THE LITTLE ENGINE that could, the University at Buffalo Alumni Association has been gaining momentum and inching ever closer to realizing a number of goals. “When I became president of the UB Alumni Association in 2009, my primary goal was, and remains, increased membership,” says Larry Zielinski, MBA ’77 & BA ’75. “What we’ve achieved to date is that and so much more. We’re at a pivotal point in our history, and we are determined to continue the trajectory we’re on so that we can expand even further the services, benefits and programs our alumni want.”

Since its beginnings serving medical school graduates in 1875, the association has had to reinvent itself with the times. Service to alumni has remained constant, however, “and in being mindful of that, we’ve created a partnership with our alums that has enabled us to build a stronger, more relevant association,” Zielinski adds.

Three main facets of the UBAA are membership, events and communication, the following snapshot shows a number of milesones the organization has achieved recently.


Membership in the UBAA is the highest in its history:


The UBAA hosts more than 100 alumni events annually in Western New York and in the 24 chapters around the country, as well as internationally. Events this fiscal year have achieved record-setting attendance, with 108 events and more than 12,500 alumni, students and friends attending.


In addition to engaging alumni via UB Today and @UB, the monthly e-newsletter, our newly launched, award-winning alumni website ( is drawing more visitors than ever. Our social networking sites, meanwhile, are becoming a primary source for two-way communication with alumni and friends.

“We can see this synchronicity beginning to take shape.” —Larry Zielinski, MBA ’77 and BA ’75

“These impressive statistics are the result of tremendous effort from the alumni office staff, constituent alumni officers and other colleagues from the Division of Development and Alumni Relations,” Zielinski states. “There is a relationship between increased membership and the services the UBAA is able to provide. When alumni support the association, the association is then able to enhance its services. We can see this synchronicity beginning to take shape, and I think it bodes very well for the future.”

And in chapter news...

Alan Zwelbel BA ’72 Teaching a comedy writing workshop Melissa Dolan, MS ’00, and her husband, Kevin Dolan, BS ’94, at the Sabres–Hurricanes game in Raleigh on March 21.

Career Conversations events bring students and young alumni together with seasoned alumni professionals for an evening of networking for jobs, internships and insights into various fields. The popularity of these events, which previously were held only in New York City, led the UB Alumni Association to expand them into Rochester and Albany.

The New York City Career Conversation was held Jan. 7 in the Union League Club. Among the 150 attendees were current and former UBAA board members; chapter president Eric Katzman, BA ’01; and UB representatives from Student Affairs and Career Services.

On March 9, the Genesee Valley Club was the venue for 40 volunteers and approximately 50 students from the Rochester area; in Albany, 34 alumni and friends volunteered to represent their industries while networking with approximately 40 students in the Marriott on March 11.

Hey that's Me! From left: Keith Gorgos, JD ’09, Eric Vanderbeck, BS ’07, Sonia Sconiers, BS ’83, and Michael Wilson, BA ’89, at the Army-Navy Club in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 17.

Chapters in Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix, Raleigh/Durham, the San Francisco Bay area and Tampa hosted alumni at pre–game receptions at Buffalo Sabres games when the team played on the road in those cities. In total, the six events attracted 260 alumni, family and friends, including former Sabre John Tucker, who was on hand to greet alumni in Tampa.

Hey, that’s me! To see photos of other alumni and friends from recent chapter meetings, click here.

A San Diego wine tasting at four vineyards in Temecula, with transportation via limo bus, attracted 29 alumni on Jan. 31. Another 31 alumni and friends attended a special performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) in Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse on March 12. JoAnn Falletta, the acclaimed conductor and music director of the BPO, visited with attendees for 30 minutes during a private UB reception before the performance.

Two 2009 Alumni Association Achievement Award winners were guest speakers for alumni events. Nicole Lee, JD ’02 & BA ’00, executive director of the advocacy group TransAfrica Forum, spoke to 35 alumni at the Army–Navy Club in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 17, a short time after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The following evening in the Cornell Club in Manhattan, Vikki Pryor, JD ’78 & BA ’75, president and CEO of SBLI USA, spoke to a gathering of 55.

UBAA By The Numbers

Where are UB alumni?

Steven B. Telzak, JD ’76 & BS ’73, of New Rochelle, N.Y., died 03.24.2010. He was a longtime social justice attorney and director of Legal Services NYC-Bronx, a program of Legal Services NYC. “We were incredibly fortunate to have had such a talented, dedicated advocate leading our Bronx program,” said Andrew Scherer, executive director and president of Legal Services NYC. For listings of other alumni deaths since our last issue, please go to

UB alumni world wide
countries represented
Western New York
New York State
U.S. alumni chapters
International chapters

Association Billboard

I Love UB

Hey that's Me!

Whether you want to volunteer, buy some UB alumni gear or partner with the UB Alumni Association, check out how to do it on The page is a centralized site for UB alumni, friends, staff, students and the community to show their UB pride. Learn about membership benefits–and great deals and discounts—all in one place. The resources will grow over time, so be sure to bookmark it for future reference.

UB Student Alumni Association

The University Student Alumni Board (USAB), the student affiliate of the UB Alumni Association, now will be known as the UB Student Alumni Association, or UBSAA. The change from USAB to UBSAA reflects the trend in colleges and universities across the country, says Patty Starr, assistant director for student and volunteer programs. “We felt that ‘UBSAA’ was not only a more natural title for this group, but easier to understand as well,” she says. “It’s also the title that the majority of college and university alumni associations use to denote their student groups.”

Click here to show your pride and join the UBAA.

The UBSAA promotes UB pride and tradition on campus. In fact, UBSAA has teamed up with True Blue, the largest student club on campus, which already has a strong foothold in supporting athletics and the campus community. Membership is free and open to both undergraduate and graduate students; an optional $10 membership may be purchased by students who want a True Blue T-shirt.

In addition to spirit, pride and tradition-building, UBSAA provides networking opportunities with alumni, leadership activities and connecting with other UB students. “Through UBSAA, we’re striving to enhance the student experience, as well as encourage them to stay connected to UB and to each other when they become alumni,” Starr says. “Our goal is for UBSAA participation to parlay into UBAA membership when students graduate.”

As for Oozefest, UBSAA’s best–known student tradition, “it will live on under the new moniker,” Starr says.

Diverse topics: football and transplants

The UB and School of Management alumni associations presented two UB Downtown programs in early 2010. Some 125 UB football fans were introduced to the team’s new head coach, Jeff Quinn, Feb. 24 in the Buffalo Club. See the article..

Upstate New York Transplant Services (UNYTS) President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Simon, BS ’81, was the guest speaker May 5 for 55 attendees at Chef’s Restaurant. He outlined the services UNYTS provides, as well as the details, intricacies and sensitivities that surround blood, tissue and organ donations.

School–Based News

Two honored for contributions

Hey that's Me! Joseph Rutowski, BS ’84, (left) and Donald Pritchard, BS ’53

Donald Pritchard, BS ’53, and Joseph Rutowski, BS ’84, were honored April 15 during an awards ceremony for the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the pharmacy alumni association.

Pritchard received the Willis G. Gregory Memorial Award for personifying the profession of pharmacy and for his longstanding history of contributions to professional organizations, the community and the university. Rutowski was honored with the Orville C. Baxter Memorial Professional Practice Award for demonstrating high ideals of professionalism and genuine concern for patients.

Engineering Honors

Engineering Honors

Scott D. Stevens, BS ’79, (top photo, center, with award), founder and CEO of Dimension Fabricators Inc., received the 2010 Engineer of the Year award during a reception Feb. 18. With Stevens (from left) are Dean Harvey G. Stenger Jr.; Michael Dray, BS ’04; Coleen Stevens, BS ’79; Brian Peer, BS ’05; and Michelle Barker, MS ’07 & BS ’99. Bottom photo, second from left: Engineering students Ron Heichman, Kelly Duval and Wesley Burkman received scholarships during the spring reception. Flanking them are Michael Dray, BS ’04, UB Engineering Alumni Association (UBEAA) scholarship committee chair, and Brian Peer, BS ’05, also with the UBEAA.

Recognition for a revered professor

The School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has named Andrew A. Gage, MD ’44, professor emeritus of surgery, as the 2010 Distinguished Medical Alumnus. The honor will be conferred at a dinner Oct. 1 in the Buffalo Club.

Hey that's Me! Gage

A faculty member in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences for more than 40 years, Gage served in a variety of posts, including interim chair of the UB Department of Surgery, chief of staff at the VA Medical Center and deputy institute director for clinical affairs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Gage has received many awards for his contributions in leadership, advancement of programs and service to his profession, and has held editorial positions with leading journals.

Alumni interested in attending this event or nominating a peer for a future award are asked to visit, or call (716) 829-2773 for more details.

UBAA Member Spotlight

Why did they join the UBAA?

Raquel and Gustavo Lima Raquel Lima, MS ’91, and Gustavo Lima, MArch ’88

Raquel joined to give back to the UB community. “As an immigrant, I know how hard it is to adapt and assimilate to a new country and culture,” she says. “I’ll never forget the people who helped us when we just arrived. It is now our turn to ‘pay it forward.’” Her husband, Gustavo, says he became a member “to contribute to the continuous progress of UB, to remain in touch with the academic community and colleagues.”

Raquel and Gustavo Lima close–up

Members since 2009; Gustavo and Raquel are both natives of Argentina. He is a principal at Cannon Design, responsible for development and coordination of construction quality initiatives for the firm’s 17 offices, as well as oversight of the firm’s construction–related performance throughout North America. Raquel works as a researcher in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Daughter Cecelia is a 2006 UB alumna; daughter Alex is a student in the UB School of Architecture and Planning.

UB Travel

Where do you want to go today?

Treasures of South America

FEBRUARY 6–18, 2011

South America

For more information, including cost and travel dates, click here. Bon voyage!

Explore the majestic natural and architectural diversity in Argentina and Chile! Begin in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, Argentina, and see the Teatro Colón, the Casa Rosada and the city’s European–influenced barrios. Then journey to the Iguazú Falls. Marvel at the splendor of the falls as they thunder into tumultuous cauldrons, and admire the beauty of the surrounding rainforest. Continue to San Carlos de Bariloche, your gateway to Patagonia and Nahuel Huapi National Park, with its spectacular scenery. Embark on a cruise of the turquoise Andes lakes to Puerto Varas, nestled in Chile’s Lake District. Learn about national culture with a visit to a working ranch and thrill to an exciting rodeo before concluding in Santiago, Chile’s fascinating capital, to discover its many highlights. Don’t miss this unique travel experience–a perfect blend of picturesque land and cityscapes, authentic South American cuisine and luxurious accommodations.

Treasures of Morocco

APRIL 1–10, 2011


Located on the northwestern corner of the African continent, the Kingdom of Morocco is a peaceful constitutional monarchy with a fascinating history. A country of red earthen kasbahs with arabesque arches, shaded souks brimming with brass lanterns and hand-woven carpets, camel caravans and couscous, Morocco has long been synonymous with romance and adventure. Discover the magic of this storied land with an exciting travel program that takes you to Rabat, Morocco’s capital; the UNESCO World Heritage List site of Meknes; and Fez, an important spiritual and cultural center. Visit bustling Marrakech and the Ourika Valley, nestled in the heart of Berber country. Conclude your journey in the romantic city of Casablanca. Tour its many highlights and browse its lively markets. Join us on this special program showcasing the many historic sites and interesting culture of this unique land.

Cradle of History Cruise: Crete, Athens and more

SEPTEMBER 18–October 1, 2011


Sail through thousands of years of history as you cruise the Mediterranean on Marina, Oceania Cruises’ newest ship. Lose yourself at sea in the comfort and luxuries of fine cuisine, upscale amenities and lavishly appointed staterooms. Immerse yourself in the ancient legends, traditions and cultures of Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, each destination with a different story to tell. From pyramids to palaces, discover the cradle of history.

The Culture and Arts of Sicily

NOVEMBER 11–20, 2011


As a cultural crossroads of the ancient world, Sicily abounds with enchanting natural beauty, fascinating folklore and incomparable cuisine. Discover its many treasures from your base in the storied city of Syracuse, one of the most important cities in the ancient world. Admire its Piazza del Duomo, one of the most elegant squares in Sicily, and the impressive Archeological Park. Immerse yourself in Sicily’s scenic splendor during a drive to the volcanic crater of Mt. Etna. Admire the Greek theater at Taormina and the baroque architecture of the town of Noto. Travel back in time with a visit to the necropolis at Pantalica and marvel at the Villa Romana del Casale near Piazza Armerina, known for its spectacular mosaics. Visit the remains of the Greek colony at Agrigento, described by the Greek poet Pindar as “the most beautiful city built by mortal men.”