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UB Today

A publication of the University at Buffalo Alumni Association

Fall 2011






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Alumni News

The Main Event

The Board’s a Busy Bunch

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For many, “board of directors” conjures up images of a stuffy, smoke-filled room with an imposing rectangular table, around which sit older men in three-piece suits poring over financial statements. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, when it comes to UBAA’s busy and diverse board members.

In fact, they are health care administrators, bankers, lawyers, marketing executives, journalists and social workers. They live in Buffalo, Washington, D.C., Boston and Charlotte, among other locales. And their graduation dates span 49 years—from 1960 to 2009. They count among them PhDs, DDSs, MBAs and bachelor’s degrees in diverse fields. Some are multiple UB degree-holders.

From location to gender to degree to age, the 51-member UBAA board composition intentionally mirrors that of the alumni population as a whole. “When we are seeking new board members, we do our best to be inclusive and reflective of the people we are working for,” says Tim Lafferty, BA ’86, UBAA president. “Our board provides strategic direction on the overall alumni program, and the alumni staff provides the execution,” adds Jay Friedman, EdM ’00 & BA ’86, associate vice president for alumni relations.

Board member input is invaluable and is tapped extensively from the professional expertise represented around the table. “From developing new programs to implementing a change to our bylaws, we can usually resolve the majority of business during our working session because of the talent in the room,” Lafferty states.

To learn more, visit

Passion for UB is a commonality—as students they thrived, so joining the UBAA board is one way to give back as alumni. Showing this commitment, for example, is Kenneth M. Jones, MA ’84, CFO and vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, who chairs the audit committee and holds additional degrees from Boston University and MIT. “As an alumnus, I feel that my career would not have been the same without my UB experience,” Jones observes. “The cost of the program vs. the value of the education is a major return on investment. As a board member, I want to give back and ensure that UB keeps its stature as a world-class university.”

The board is a reflection of the broader alumni community and so takes its responsibility seriously, Lafferty says. “UB means so much to each one of us, and it is our honor to represent the collective needs of the greater alumni community to the university in any way we can.”

To learn more about the UBAA board of directors and its members, visit


And in chapter news...

Ron and Christina Shrewsbury at UB at Noon presentation Members of the Boston alumni chapter strike a pose at a recent gathering.

Tickets went quickly to watch the Sabres-Bruins game from a suite in TD Garden in Boston on March 30. Thirty watched the Sabres score an overtime victory and enjoyed food and drink throughout the entire game.

On April 9, nearly 50 attended a boat tour of the Port of Houston, then took part in a networking reception with appetizers and drinks at Brady’s Landing.

In conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, an event was held on the state of the global economy featuring Isaac Ehrlich, SUNY and UB Distinguished Professor, and Bill Strauss, BA ’80, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago. Approximately 60 attended the March 29 event at the Union League Club in New York City.

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

The NHL Eastern Conference playoff race and the presence of the Buffalo Sabres helped attract some 50 to a pregame tailgate. Attendees then watched the Sabres post an overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes April 3 in the RBC Center in Raleigh.

The St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco was the setting on April 28 for a panel discussion and networking. Held in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, Dean Bruce McCombe and 75 guests were on hand to hear five successful alumni who found their way to the Bay Area. Panelists were Joe Abrams, BA ’72, specialist in small technology and ecofriendly consumer products companies; Roger Choplin, BA ’72, founder of Whiskey Hill Studios; Pamela Gray, BA ’78, screenwriter for several Hollywood studios; Bob Swan, BS ’83, senior vice president, finance and CFO for Ebay Inc.; and John Walker, BA ’71, medical technology and biotechnology director and consultant.

Authentic Spanish food was highlighted during a reception April 27 in the Spanish Embassy hosted by the Washington, D.C. chapter. Colleen Culleton, assistant professor in UB’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures; and Diego Alberdi, counselor for education in the U.S. and Canada, were the evening’s presenters.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles and South Florida are two areas that have shown great interest in formalizing alumni chapters. Vince Lo-Russo, BS ’07, has taken the lead in Los Angeles ( Maria Tomaino, BA ’04 (, and Al Royston, BS ’73 (, are the contacts in South Florida.

UBAA By The Numbers

Online and social network numbers as of June 2011

[Facebook page “Likes”]

“As an alumnus, I feel that my career would not have been the same without my UB experience.” —Kenneth M. Jones, MA ’84

[LinkedIn alumni–verified members]
[Twitter followers]
[Flikr photo views]
[UB Connect registered users]
[UB Connect email addresses]

Association Billboard



Thanks to a major expansion this year, Oozefest is now officially the largest single-day, double-elimination collegiate mud volleyball tournament in the nation. The addition of eight new courts to the Mud Pit on St. Rita’s Lane meant that 64 more teams were invited to play, for a grand total of 192.

“We’ve had a lengthy waiting list for several years, so we were confident that we could increase the capacity,” says Patty Starr, assistant director for volunteer and student programs in the UB Office of Alumni Relations. “We hated turning anyone down who wanted to participate.”

Sure enough, the 2011 event was once again a sellout, with 1,400 players, including students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members, along with more than 200 volunteers who supported the event.

Taking home the tournament trophy and bragging rights was 7 ½ White Men. The prize for best costume, sponsored by alumni team Poached Trout in a White Wine Sauce (notable for its 22 consecutive years of play), was “The Mighty Morphan Power Rangers,” who will receive a free team registration in 2012. Also in the mud were two other longtime alumni teams, The Sheepherders, celebrating 17 years, and Smart Like Chicken, 15 years.

Oozefest 28 is slated for April 28, 2012. Mark your calendars now!

UB Downtown

Striking Similarities


Two Western New York corporate CEOs with striking similarities headlined the UB Downtown luncheon series this spring, a program co-presented by the UB and School of Management alumni associations.

Each is an alumnus of the School of Management and a member of the UB Alumni Association. Their companies are both located in Akron, N.Y. (they even share a railroad siding) and each brought plenty of tasty samples of their products.

George Stege, MBA ’86, president and CEO of Ford Gum & Machine Co., the only large-scale manufacturer of gumballs in the U.S., spoke on April 14 to a sellout crowd of 63 in UB’s Jacobs Executive Development Center. A past member of the UB Alumni Association board of directors, Stege described the process of making chewing gum and how his company is staying relevant after 98 years of manufacturing gumballs. Ford’s newest hot product, for instance, is Big League Chew, a shredded bubble gum in a pouch.

A month later, UB Downtown featured Bob Denning, EMBA ’00, president of Perry’s Ice Cream, who spoke to a crowd of 113 about the success of his company. Perry’s is one of the top regional ice cream manufacturing companies in the United States, the country that consumes the largest amount of the frozen treat.

Founded in 1918, Perry’s remains a family-owned and-operated, fourth-generation ice cream manufacturer with frozen distribution services. The company makes more than 13 million gallons of ice cream annually and won two prestigious awards in March 2011 from the International Dairy Foods Association for most innovative flavor and most innovative novelty. Red Velvet, the winner of the 2011 innovative flavor award, was served to the crowd at Chef’s restaurant on May 18.

Alumni Connections

Wanted: Your email address

Erin Lawless

Last year, the UB Office of Alumni Relations alone sent out more than 600 email messages to various groups of alumni constituents. More and more communication is being done electronically, not only for convenience but also because of the high cost of printing and postage.

Don’t miss out on any important communiqué, contest opportunity or other electronic update from the university, your school or the alumni association! To encourage you to “go green,” we’re holding a drawing for two Kindle e-readers. To be eligible, you must submit your email address to us by midnight on Oct. 31, 2011.

Verify your email in your alumni profile on UB Connect (, email it to us at, use the QR code above or call the alumni office at 1-800-284-5382.


UB at Noon

Preserving the Heights

Alva Randall Royston

Though typically held on the North Campus, the March 29 UB at Noon lecture was in Allen Hall, South Campus, in keeping with the topic: preservation of the University Park Historic District, a neighborhood bordering the South Campus. Kerry Traynor-Albert, adjunct instructor in urban and regional planning, discussed the history and unique features of the neighborhood, and its recent listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

UBAA Member Spotlight

Why did you join the UBAA?

image Vince LoRusso, BS ’07, Los Angeles, Calif. Member since 2007

Being a member of the UBAA means always having a piece of Buffalo nearby. The UBAA is one of the best ways to establish and build relationships when you move to a new city, and that’s why I’m leading the effort to begin a Los Angeles chapter. Everyone should leverage the benefits of your UB Alumni Association!

LoRusso close–up

After graduating, I worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Buffalo within their audit practice. I moved to LA to expand my network and business opportunities within technology and entertainment. After working for Cornerstone OnDemand, then as an independent CPA at Lionsgate Entertainment, I recently established my own firm, CPA for Startups LLC, to offer business planning, accounting and cash-budgeting services for startup ventures.

Fond UB memories

My involvement with the UB Accounting Association—we had such great times between studying together, mentoring each other, socializing and uniting to make our club great. I also miss the campus events within the School of Management, such as the annual “Meet the Professionals” night.

UB Travel

Where do you want to go today?

Whether by land or by sea, the UB Alumni Association has five amazing trips planned for 2012 in conjunction with our two travel partners, Alumni Holidays International (AHI) and GoNext cruises.


MAY 7-17, 2012

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In addition to the landscapes immortalized in the film “The Sound of Music,” this trip includes a stop in Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, where you’ll hear his beautiful works during a chamber concert at Mirabell Palace. You’ll admire artistic wonders at Admont Abbey and visit the farm that breeds Lipizzaners, Vienna’s Spanish Riding School’s famous white stallions. We conclude in Vienna, a stunning city of opulent palaces and the magnificent opera house.

London to London Cruise

JUNE 5-18, 2012

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This 12-night cruise aboard Oceania Cruises’ Marina reveals the rich history and dramatic scenery of the British Isles, a wonderful journey filled with the echoes of castles, clans, ancient customs and so much more. Depart from England’s port city of Dover, cruise the North Sea to various ports and towns in Scotland and Ireland, including the Isle of Skye, Belfast and Dublin, before returning to Dover.

Alaskan Discovery Cruise

JUNE 13-20, 2012

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Discover America’s last frontier from the elegant decks of the Seven Seas Navigator, a remarkable cruising experience in which everything is included. Depart from cosmopolitan Vancouver, British Columbia, and cruise through the scenic inside passage to Ketchikan, the former “salmon capital of the world.” Follow the Alaskan coast to Sitka, the former capital of Russian possessions in North America, and continue to the immense Hubbard Glacier, the longest of its kind in Alaska, before ending your cruise in the picturesque harbor of Seward.


OCTOBER 10-18, 2012

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The Tuscany region’s charming village of Cortona will be your base as you discover Montepulciano, set in the heart of Chianti country; Siena’s narrow cobblestone streets lined with Gothic buildings; and Duomo’s Piazza del Campo, one of the loveliest squares in Italy. Experience the brilliant artistic and architectural heritage of Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. In the Umbria region, explore medieval Assisi, home to the exquisite Basilica of St. Francis, and Perugia, an ancient Etruscan city-state.

UB in the News

Can we treat schizophrenia in the womb?

11/21/2017 A Newsweek article reports on a study led by Michal Stachowiak , a professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, that uses cerebral organoids, or mini brains, to understand the cause of schizophrenia.

Should mass shooting videos be public?

11/17/2017 NPR?s The Takeaway talks to Matthew Grizzard , assistant professor of communication, about the debate over whether the public should have access to footage of mass shootings.

Are face scans leading to bad science?

11/14/2017 An article in The Atlantic about artificial intelligence and the potential to use facial scans to infer personality traits and behaviors interviews Mark Frank , professor of communication, about this controversial area of research.

More of UB in the News