Updated August 27, 2019
A founder of the University of Buffalo, lawyer and congressman Millard Fillmore was chancellor from 1846 to 1874. Additionally, during this tenure, Fillmore served as comptroller of New York State from 1848 to 1849, and Vice President of the United States, from 1849 to 1850. He served as President of the United States from 1850 to 1853. Fillmore died in March of 1874.
Since 1960, the University has co-sponsored a recognition ceremony at Fillmore's gravesite at Forest Lawn Cemetery on the anniversary of his birth, January 7th.
The University at Buffalo’s recognition of Fillmore is based on his role as a founder of the university and serving as its first chancellor, and is not an endorsement of his policies or legacy as President of the United States. As students and citizens across the nation weigh the merits of the historical legacies that conflict with contemporary norms of equity and inclusion, an informed understanding of Millard Fillmore’s career is more important than ever.
UB understands Fillmore’s complex role in the history of slavery in the United States, which includes the Fugitive Slave Act, which Fillmore signed as part of the Compromise of 1850. The university acknowledges this role publicly during the annual commemoration of Fillmore as a way to be true to our nation’s history and to Fillmore’s legacy as President.