BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo School of Engineering
and Applied Sciences will name its new building Barbara and Jack
Davis Hall to honor the Western New York couple who has given $5
million toward the construction and enhancement of the
Davis, a well-known industrialist and 1955 graduate of the UB
engineering school, said he and Barbara also will give a portion of
his estate to the school upon his death and the balance when
Barbara dies. He said he is inspired to give back to UB because of
how his education prepared him for a successful career.
"I have greatly benefited from the opportunity UB gave me to
become an engineer," Davis said. "What I am doing now is preparing
my estate and that includes taking care of UB in return for the
education the university gave me."
The Davises, who gave $1.5 million to the school in support of
the new building in 2008, have given another $3.5 million to the
project, for a total of $5 million, the largest donation by
individuals in the engineering school's history.
UB Engineering Dean Harvey G. Stenger Jr. said the school is
grateful to Davis not only for this generous gift, but also for his
longtime support of the Western New York economy by providing good
jobs at his Akron-based company, I Squared R.
"Jack knows from personal experience what it means to work your
way through college and build your own business," Stenger said. "As
a result, he knows the value of strong companies to producing
economic growth in our region. He has spent his career creating
good-paying jobs for graduates. And he has hired many of our
graduates and given them the chance of a lifetime: to work at what
they know. For that, and for his very generous support of this
outstanding facility, we thank him."
UB President John B. Simpson added his thanks to Davis, who he
hailed as a true believer in UB and in public higher education.
"Jack Davis is the personification of the American dream, as
well as a fierce believer in the power of public higher education
to improve people and regions," Simpson said. "We are indebted to
him for his investment in UB Engineering and for his giving back by
hiring the UB graduates who follow in his impressive
Davis, who served in the Marine Corps and as a deck officer in
the U.S. Coast Guard, worked for large corporations, including GM
and Carborundum, following graduation from UB.
In 1964, he founded I Squared R, the nation's only manufacturer
of silicon carbide and molybdenum disilicide heating elements. I
Squared R products are used in the manufacturing of other products
such as flat-panel display glass, fiber optics and solar
Known for his generous employee profit-sharing plans, Davis said
in addition to taking care of UB, he also is making arrangements to
ensure his business and staff will continue to succeed.
"I think this company is an asset to Erie County and New York
State, because we are the only manufacturer of this product. The
best way to have this survive is to give it to the people who can
run it best. So when I die, by trust I am giving the company to the
employees," he said. "The company has been an asset to UB, too,
because without this source of income that I've had over the years,
I wouldn't be able to make this gift to UB Engineering."
Designed by Perkins+Will architects, the new engineering
building -- a significant milestone in the UB 2020 strategic plan
to transform UB into a premier 21st-century public research
university -- is under construction on the North Campus and slated
for completion in September 2011. Located just north of Bonner
Hall, it will serve as the engineering school's front door to a
quad-like campus setting for UB Engineering.
The 130,000-plus-square-foot Barbara and Jack Davis Hall will be
home to departments and centers now scattered among several UB
buildings, including computer science and engineering; electrical
engineering; the Center of Excellence in Document Analysis and
Recognition (CEDAR); and the Center for Unified Biometrics and
Sensors (CUBS). The new building will feature five signature
spaces, several of which already have been funded by generous
▪ The Bansal Atrium -- Funded through a gift from loyal UB
friends and business acquaintances Ravinder K. Bansal, PhD, and his
wife, Pratibha Bansal, MD, the first-floor atrium will serve as a
central entrance to welcome all visitors: students, faculty, staff
and friends. The light-filled space also will be used for special
▪ The Electrical Engineering Clean Room -- This
5,000-square-foot room will allow for the intricate work of
fabricating nanodevices. Within this highly controlled atmosphere,
pollutants and airborne particles are minimized through an
extensive filtration system. "Vibration-free" facilities will allow
faculty researchers to conduct the sensitive measurements needed
for nanotechnology research.
▪ The Agrusa Auditorium -- A gift from UB alumni Russ and
Paula Agrusa will fund this technologically advanced, first-floor
cybertorium, to be equipped with sophisticated communication
devices to accommodate interactive classes, multi-media
presentations and video conferences. Session leaders may access
communications that can be shared through a rear-projection screen
and sound system.
▪ The Stevens Courtyard -- Engineering alumnus and
business owner Scott Stevens and his wife, Colleen, named this
picturesque courtyard through a significant gift. Adjacent to the
new building, it will provide a natural outdoor setting to be
enjoyed by students, faculty and all visitors to the new UB
▪ The Smart Room -- The concept of "smart" logic will be
showcased in this computer science laboratory that exhibits
intelligent behavior and the capability of understanding spoken
languages. The advanced learning environment will include
technologies -- sensors, computers and wireless communications --
that incorporate security and safety. Smart technologies have
current and future real-world applications in homes, hospitals,
assisted-living communities, airports and battlefields.
The state-of-the-art facility being built by Turner Construction
features numerous sustainable building strategies, qualifying it
for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold
certification. It will enable UB Engineering to take engineering
education into the next century, with updated classrooms and
laboratories that support instruction and research in
nanotechnology, pattern recognition and bio-based security systems.
Total costs of the building are estimated at $75 million; New York
State has provided $49.6 million of that amount.
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.