IBM, Volker, Tokasz to be Honored at UB Business Partners Day

By Arthur Page

Release Date: May 18, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- IBM, State Sen. Dale M. Volker and New York State Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz will be honored at the University at Buffalo's Business Partners Day 2006 luncheon to be held at noon June 15 in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.

IBM will receive the Vital Partners Award from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in recognition of its longtime support of the school and the university.

Volker and Tokasz will receive Igniting Ideas Awards from UB for their leadership in obtaining state funding for UB initiatives, including the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences and close to $50 million for a new state-of-the-art facility for the school of engineering.

Nick Donofrio, who leads IBM's global technology strategy as executive vice president, innovation and technology, will be guest speaker at the luncheon.

Named Industry Week magazine's Technology Leader of the Year, Donofrio is a fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The holder of seven technology patents, he is the recipient of Syracuse University's highest alumni honor, the George Arents Pioneers Medal, and CNBC's Overall Technology Leadership Award.

Coordinated and organized by SEAS, the annual luncheon celebrating UB's partnerships with business and industry will be hosted by Satish K. Tripathi, UB provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Mark H. Karwan, dean of SEAS. This year the luncheon is one in a series of special events that are part of the grand opening of the Center of Excellence.

Tripathi noted that business and industry are looking to research universities like UB "to ensure that our nation is developing a cadre of leaders so that we may continue to be competitive nationally and at the forefront of innovation and commerce internationally."

Karwan cited the close ties that SEAS has with business and industry. "Today, more than ever, we are vital resources for each other," he said. "Our mutual enterprise in discovery, innovation and education are major assets for the region, state and nation."

The Vital Partners Award being presented to IBM will be accepted by Michael J. Cadigan, general manager of sales and solutions, IBM Systems and Technology Group/Technology Collaboration Solutions. A 1979 graduate of SEAS, Cadigan is a member of the school's Dean's Council.

An active recruiter and employer of SEAS graduates, IBM is a corporate member of the university's Million Dollar Roundtable; its financial support has included donation of hardware and software for SEAS laboratories. IBM has collaborated with the university on research in areas such as biometrics, language models and parallel computing. It has recognized and supported professors, including as IBM Fellows; advocated on behalf of the university; provided advice through membership on volunteer committees and the SEAS Dean's Council; and was an initial investor in the Center for Computational Research.

Tokasz was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1988 during a special election and in 2001 Speaker Sheldon Silver named him majority leader. He serves as the floor leader in the Assembly, setting the daily agenda and overseeing debate and voting on all legislation in that chamber.

Volker, a 1966 graduate of UB Law School, was elected to the state Assembly in 1972 and three years later to the state Senate in a special election. Today he leads the Western New York delegation in the Senate, responsible for overseeing major legislative affairs that have an impact on the future of the region.

Other initiatives in which Volker and Tokasz have been supportive of UB are the Pioneers of Science Initiative, in which $10 million will be shared by UB and its academic partners in the Center of Excellence, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, and the designation of $10 million for infrastructure improvements on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Additionally, Volker has championed UB's Institute for Local Governance and Regional Growth, affiliated with UB Law School, while Tokasz has supported UB's women's athletics programs.