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WHEN I LEARNED about the retirement of UB President John B. Simpson last fall, I felt a mix of emotions. While my feelings of course ranged from disappointment at the university’s loss to happiness for the president to be able to spend more time with his family, I couldn’t shake the wariness I felt about the future of UB 2020.
Could the UB 2020 foothold slip with Simpson’s announcement or was the initiative larger than the visionary? And then I attended the president’s annual address to the community on Sept. 29 and was reinvigorated when he emphatically stated:
“UB 2020 does not have an expiration date.”John B. Simpson
“UB 2020 remains the university’s chief priority, and the commitment to achieving the goals of UB 2020 remains as strong as ever.”
“UB 2020 does not have an expiration date.”
“I want to reiterate that UB 2020 is not a short-term growth plan, but a longrange vision of this university’s sustained excellence and impact—one that will continue to guide this university and this community long after the year 2020.”
Still not convinced? Here’s one more:
“The vision we have created together is both farsighted enough to transcend leadership transitions and powerful enough to sustain setbacks from Albany. And although I am leaving, I know that UB will get the tools it needs to achieve the dream we share. This is too important, for too many people, for Albany to ignore. That day will come.”
As president of the UB Alumni Association, I implore you to take these words to heart. The plan has been set in motion, and now is the time for us to redouble our efforts to support it. UB 2020 belongs to us as alumni, friends and all those who have a vested interest in the success of this university. John Simpson’s successor will be tasked with seeing this plan to fruition, and that will require all of our support.
Finally, although President Simpson has departed, I want to acknowledge his success and thank him for setting UB on this course. His faith in and commitment to UB alumni were unparalleled, and on behalf of the UB Alumni Association, I wish him and his wife, Katherine, all the best.
Larry Zielinski, MBA ’77 & BA ’75
President, UB Alumni Association
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