Four to Receive SUNY Honorary Degrees at UB

Release Date: March 26, 2010

Related Multimedia

UB alumnus Robert Vince, a pioneering leader in drug discovery, will receive a SUNY honorary degree in science at UB on May 9.

Composer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Steve Reich will receive a SUNY honorary degree in music at UB on June 1.

UB alumnus and MapQuest founder Barry Glick will receive a SUNY honorary doctorate in science at UB on May 9.

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi will receive a SUNY honorary doctorate in humane letters at UB on May 25.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A visionary who developed the world's most popular mapping Web site, an internationally beloved spiritual leader and humanitarian, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and a pioneering leader in drug discovery have been selected to receive honorary degrees from the State University of New York.

University at Buffalo alumni Barry Glick, founder of MapQuest, and Robert Vince, whose work has had a transformative impact on the treatment of AIDS/HIV and other critical diseases, will receive SUNY honorary doctorates in science May 9 at UB's 164th general commencement ceremony.

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, founder of a charitable foundation and founder and chancellor of Amrita University in India, will receive a SUNY honorary doctorate in humane letters at a special ceremony to be held May 25. Steve Reich, widely considered to be among the world's major living composers, will receive a SUNY honorary doctorate in music in a special ceremony to be held June 1. Details of those ceremonies are still being determined.

Glick's groundbreaking achievements have transformed the field of geographic information science and radically changed the way the world thinks about travel, transportation and navigation.

He launched his first mapping-systems company in the 1980s, but it is his work to develop a faster, more efficient, more reliable means of orientation and navigation, particularly when driving, for which he is best known. Glick and a partner launched MapQuest on the Internet in 1996, and it was an immediate success, earning roughly 1 million hits in its first month. Today, that number has grown to more than 40 million hits per month, making MapQuest the world's most popular mapping Web site.

An active participant in UB alumni activities, Glick is a member of the UB College of Arts and Sciences Dean's Advisory Council, and a recipient of the CAS 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award. He received the university-wide Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. He holds bachelor's and doctoral degrees from UB, as well as a master's degree from Cornell University.

Professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Minnesota, Vince's achievements include the development of "carbovirs," carbocyclic drugs used in Ziagen, the leading anti-HIV drug in the world and one that has brought some $250 million in royalties to the University of Minnesota. It was at UB that he began work developing the acyclonucleoside family of drugs that would lead to the development of Acyclovir, the standard treatment for herpes.

A leader in the fields of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery, Vince serves on several National Institutes of Health study sections and on the editorial board of the journal Nucleosides and Nucleotides. He has been widely honored by higher education and by industry, earning recognitions that include University of Minnesota Scholar of the Year, a certificate of commendation from the Minnesota governor and a National Institutes of Health Career Award. In 2000, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Vince holds bachelor's and doctoral degrees from UB.

A distinguished and beloved spiritual leader and humanitarian, Amritanandamayi Devi is known throughout the world as "Amma" and esteemed internationally for her tireless efforts on behalf of global peace, for her commitment to education and for the far-reaching impact of her charitable organizations in relieving poverty and human suffering in India and around the world.

Her renowned charitable foundation, Mata Amritanandamayi Math, leads and supports humanitarian projects and services ranging from housing assistance, medical care, financial assistance and legal advice for the needy, to support for schools, orphanages and educational institutions. She is founder and chancellor of Amrita University in India, a prominent institution that UB has partnered with since 2006 to offer dual degree programs at the master's level in management and computer science, with additional programs in medicine, social work and photonics in development.

She is the recipient of numerous honors, including the James Park Morton Interfaith Award of the Interfaith Center of New York and the Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence presented by the World Movement for Non-Violence.

With a pioneering career spanning more than four decades, Reich has consistently earned international acclaim for his inventive pairing of tone and rhythm, his innovative incorporation of new technologies into his compositions and his influence on a wide array of musical forms and genres.

One of the first concerts of UB's Center for 21st Century Music featured Reich's "Tehillim," and he has served on the faculty of UB's June in Buffalo music program on numerous occasions. His accolades include two Grammy Awards for best contemporary composition, and election into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts.

Reich earned the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition, Double Sextet, a work designed for two identical sextets, either as a live performance by 12 musicians or as a single sextet playing against a recording of its own work. His compositions have been performed on stages all around the world, and his accomplishments within and impact upon the field of musical composition, as well as his achievements and contributions, have influenced generations of music students, composers and performers.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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