By Lauren Newkirk Maynard
The UB Alumni Association threw its largest local bash ever this
past fall at the Pierce-Arrow Museum in downtown Buffalo. The
vintage transportation museum—the lifelong dream-come-true of
alumnus Jim Sandoro Jr. (BS ’71)—drew 800 Bulls through
its doors on the evening of Sept. 12. Amid gleaming antique cars
and motorcycles, alumni ate, drank and listened to high-powered
speakers including UB President Satish K. Tripathi and new
Athletics Director Danny White.
“My life is about UB,” Sandoro enthused after the
event. He grew up on Pelham Drive adjoining the South Campus.
“I was one of the ones living close by. This university meant
a lot to a little guy growing up in North Buffalo.”
Sandoro, who opened the museum in 2001, studied history at UB
and earned a business education degree. He spent the next 40 years
building his auto empire and traveling the world as a business
consultant. His dream of creating a museum dedicated to cars began
with his very first restoration—a rusted Model T Ford he
discovered in a garage off Michigan Avenue.
The Pierce-Arrow Museum now features a copper
reproduction of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s only gas
station design. Sandoro is gearing up for a second major expansion
to turn the museum into a “mini-Smithsonian” that will
include more than 15 buildings on the property.
“I like teaching people history, so this was a
thrill,” said Sandoro of the alumni event. “We’re
Buffalo through and through, and the letters we’ve gotten
about this have been incredible.” He and his wife, Mary Ann,
plan to donate the museum to the city to “leave a blueprint
for future generations to follow.”
Alumni Association President Carol Gloff (BS ’75) emceed the party. Similarly enamored with her alma mater, she told guests, “I may live in Boston, but I try to get back to Buffalo as often as I can.” She said it was an honor to introduce the other speakers, who, in addition to Tripathi and White, included head football coach Jeff Quinn, baseball coach Ron Torgalski and women’s basketball coach Felisha Legette-Jack.