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Ask Your President

An undergrad chosen at random gets to pose a question to President Tripathi

What is UB’s future in downtown Buffalo beyond the medical campus?

President Tripathi and Brenna Riordan

President Tripathi and Brenna Riordan

The university has a central role to play in our city’s progress in many ways. For example, we attract young talent and entrepreneurial investment from around the globe, we partner with business and industry leaders to drive economic growth, and we serve as the heart of a vibrant arts and cultural scene. This isn’t just our vision for the future—we’re doing it right now.

I’ll bet you’ve already noticed a difference from the quieter downtown scene you might have found when you arrived as a freshman last year. Cranes are in the air, and the sidewalks are bustling with people day and night.

It wasn’t long ago that every national news story about Buffalo cast us as the stereotypical down-on-its-luck Rust Belt city. But now, it’s Buffalo’s resurgence that is making headlines. Great things are happening across our city and region, and the world is taking notice.

This is a very exciting time to be in Buffalo, and UB is a big part of the reason. As your question makes clear, the university is already a major player on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and the new medical school building will bring 2,000 more faculty, staff and students downtown every day.

But the medical campus is just one example. Progress is moving forward in many key sectors all at once—health care, advanced manufacturing and materials science, arts and culture, information technology, and more. As a world-renowned research university, UB provides the intellectual capital and innovation that help drive all of this progress.

To me, what is especially exciting about this momentum is how it’s changing the dynamic of our city. More young, talented people like you are flocking to Buffalo—and more students are staying here because they are finding great educational and professional opportunities in the area. That’s a major change for our city. After decades of “brain drain,” we are now home to one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations of college grads.

Buffalo is increasingly a magnet for entrepreneurs, artists and other innovators who recognize the tremendous energy gathering here. And our UB community plays a prominent part in this thriving culture of innovation and creativity—from collaborative ventures like the Science & Art Cabaret event series to Silo City, where UB faculty, students and alumni in the arts and architecture fields are helping to transform Buffalo’s abandoned grain elevators into a reinvigorated waterfront center for arts and commerce.

UB is also a key leader in the statewide START-UP NY program, which allows SUNY campuses to designate tax-free zones to foster economic growth. UB’s leadership in this venture has attracted dozens of new companies to our region and is creating new internship and entrepreneurship opportunities for our students; more jobs that attract global talent and create new professional avenues for our graduates; and new pathways for our faculty to lend their expertise to industrial research and development.

All this progress is literally changing the skyline and the atmosphere of Buffalo. So, to answer your excellent question, Brenna, I think Buffalo’s future is very bright. And I am proud to say that our UB community is a big part of that.

Brenna Riordan

A sophomore Honors Scholar and nursing major from Oceanside, N.Y., Brenna Riordan is leaning toward a career as a nurse practitioner. She is currently studying substance-abuse treatment for older adults with her faculty mentor, Yu-Ping Chang. At the photo shoot, she and President Tripathi were discussing research opportunities when the conversation veered to Parkside Candy on Main Street. Riordan, now living off campus, discovered the vintage candy store as a freshman residing in Goodyear Hall. “You’re not living above the store now, are you?” Tripathi asked with a smile, referring to apartments on the second floor. “No,” she laughed. “I’d have a lot more cavities if I were!”