Our History

Since 1971, the Institute has played a key role in supporting UB students, faculty and staff.

The ELI's History

The ELI opened in 1971, and since that time, it has welcomed over 30,000 students through its doors. The institute’s first classes offered non-credit, intensive English training and academic orientation for international students preparing to study in the U.S. The institute then expanded to offer credit-bearing ESL classes for international students enrolled at UB. A later addition was the institute’s Evening Program, which serves professionals and researchers who need part-time language instruction for their work. Through the 1970s and 1980s, the ELI developed several programs to assist refugees and immigrants to the Buffalo area, including newcomers from Vietnam, Poland, and the former Soviet Union. In the 1980s and 1990s, the ELI work helped establish UB’s successful overseas presence. The institute’s instructors partnered with other UB departments to create programs in countries around the world, including Bosnia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, the People’s Republic of China, and Taiwan.

Now, well into the 21 century, the ELI is receiving applications from the children of former students! Non-credit, intensive language training and academic orientation continue to be offered through the Intensive English Program (IEP). Credit-bearing English classes are the focus of the English as a Second Language Program (ESLP). The ELI maintains its joint administration of language programs in colleges in Japan and Taiwan.