BUFFALO, N.Y. — “Ready for President @BarackObama's visit to
week! A historic event in the making!”
Those are just a couple of the hundreds of comments that have
appeared on Twitter as the University at Buffalo prepares to host
President Barack Obama, who is scheduled
to address the nation from the UB campus this Thursday.
On Aug. 16 and over the weekend, following the White
House’s announcement of Obama’s visit, UB students,
faculty, staff and alumni took to social media to spread the word
and welcome the president. On campus this Saturday, students
settling in for the start of the academic year were elated to learn
that the semester would begin with such a monumental event.
“The excitement’s definitely spread.
I’ve had friends who aren’t back at school text me from
all over asking me to get them tickets,” said Jori
Breslawski, an international studies student from Brockport,
“It’s really exciting, and I bet it’s going to
be really inspiring,” said mathematics student Min Jung Shin,
who is from Long Island. “It’s a good way to start the
year off. I can’t wait for him to visit and hear what he has
The president’s address to the nation from UB is expected
to focus on issues important to America’s middle class,
including the rising cost of higher education.
UB is a fitting venue for a discussion on such matters as a
major public research university that has been recognized for
offering a quality education at an affordable price. The nonprofit,
nonpartisan New America Foundation highlighted UB’s
innovative approaches to controlling costs and expanding student
access in a
report on “next-generation universities” that the
public policy institute released earlier this year. In addition,
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked
UB 33rd in the magazine’s 2013 list of the 100 Best
Values in Public Colleges.
UB is also at the forefront of other issues important to the
Obama administration and the future of the United States, including
health care, improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and
mathematics) education, and economic revitalization through
development of university research.
Information on the exact timing, location and topic of President
Obama’s speech at UB will be forthcoming from White House, as
well as details about the availability of tickets for the
Members of the UB community are eager not only to host the
president, but to hear what he has to say.
“I’m completely excited, so excited. I think
it’s pretty cool for him to come here,” said Jason
Chan, an aerospace and mechanical engineering student from Fresh
Meadows, N.Y. “He’s going to talk about a few things
that we really want to know about. The affordability of college is
definitely one of the big problems we have in this country.
It’s going to be interesting how he talks about
More than 1,000 people around the world have liked, shared or
commented on posts announcing Obama’s visit on UB’s
official Facebook page since Friday. Some social media users aired
criticisms of the president, but many others expressed pride in the
fact that UB was selected as the forum for such an important
“UB continues to do a great job of bringing the most
important and impactful individuals to campus,” one
Facebooker wrote. “I for one would love to hear the president
“Pres. Obama to speak at my alma mater, the University at
Buffalo, this coming Thursday!” an alumna said on Twitter.
“A very proud day for UB!”
Breslawski, the international studies student from Brockport,
echoed the thoughts of many members of the UB community in saying
she was impressed that the university would be hosting such a
The university’s annual Distinguished
Speakers Series regularly draws luminaries to campus, with
presenters including past presidents and cabinet members. This
year’s headliner will be Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S.
Secretary of State.
But Obama’s visit will mark the first time that a sitting
U.S. president has spoken at UB since 1853, when UB Chancellor
Millard Fillmore was serving as U.S. president.
“I’m really excited to see him in person because
I’ve never heard him speak before,” Breslawski said of
Obama’s forthcoming address. “And I was already really
excited about Hillary coming, and so the fact that Obama is coming,
too, last minute like this, is really exciting.”
Tickets for Thursday’s program are free and open to the
public, but tickets are required for entrance. One ticket per
person will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis while
supplies last, starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, in the Alumni
Arena Box Office on the UB North Campus.
Obama will speak in Alumni Arena on Thursday. Doors will open to
the public at 9 a.m. All attendees will go through airport-like
security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No
bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids or signs will be allowed in
Alumni Arena. Cameras are permitted.
For more information, go to http://www.buffalo.edu/home/feature_story/obama-speech.html.