Press conference announcing President Tripathi's appointment, April 18, 2011
Good morning! I am deeply honored to be appointed as the University at Buffalo’s 15th president.
I extend my thanks and gratitude to SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman Carl Hayden, SUNY Trustees, Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, UB Council Chairman Jeremy Jacobs, UB Council Members, and the University at Buffalo search committee – faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members. Thank you for your expressions of confidence in my leadership.
I also wish to extend my heartfelt appreciation to John Simpson for his mentorship and his leadership of our university over the last seven years. Because of John’s leadership, our university’s vision for academic excellence, UB 2020, was, and is, embraced by our community. I thank John for moving UB onto this trajectory of excellence.
I am privileged and humbled by the opportunity to lead this remarkable university. Today, we —as a university community— proudly honor our past while celebrating our extraordinary present and vast potential for the future.
One hundred and sixty-five years ago, the University of Buffalo was established as a small local medical school, with a mission to serve the citizens of Buffalo. While remaining true to that core mission of public service, a great deal has changed for UB over the decades. Today, the University at Buffalo is recognized as one of our nation’s most internationalized universities, as well as the largest and most comprehensive university in the SUNY system. And, as a testament to our university’s stature, the University at Buffalo is a proud member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.
In part, it was this reputation for excellence that drew my interest to UB seven years ago when I was then a dean at UC-Riverside, and a candidate for the Provost position here in Buffalo. But the UB community I came to experience first-hand impressed me even more greatly by its determination to build on this foundation—by its commitment to continually seek out new paths for pursuing excellence, and new ways of making a positive difference in the communities it serves— from the local to the global.
I believe strongly that this is the essence of our mission as a public research university. My definition of that mission is very ambitious, but it is also very simple: We exist to make the world a better place. It is why we do what we do as scholars, researchers, and educators—to change the world for the better.
These are all goals that resonate deeply with me on a personal level. I am a fourth-generation educator, and a proud product of public higher education at every stage of my academic career— as a student, as a faculty member, then as chair, and eventually as dean. And so it was with great pride and enthusiasm that my wife Kamlesh and I decided to join the UB community in these pursuits.
My pride and enthusiasm for UB have only continued to grow over the years in my role as Provost. Throughout the last decade, we have built steadily upon our university’s tradition of excellence. And I am confident that UB’s national prominence can, and will, rise— bringing our university into the upper echelon of public research universities.
But this goal is not an end in itself. We pursue this level of excellence to fulfill our core mission as a public research university. We have a responsibility to bring the benefits of our research and education mission to our community and to citizens across the globe. Our university significantly contributes to the cultural, social, economic vitality of our region and state. And as we fulfill our potential to advance into the upper echelon of the nation’s great research universities, our impact will be even stronger than it is today.
I fully believe we will fulfill this promise. I believe this because I know the impact of our faculty’s transformative research and creative work. I know our students are among the most accomplished and intellectually ambitious students in the world. I know our staff have dedicated themselves to advancing UB’s vision through their own commitment to excellence. And I know our larger communities—from our Western New York neighbors to our partners around the world— share our great pride in UB and believe strongly in its future.
We all recognize that challenges lie ahead, and it will take the entire UB community and our dedicated partners working together to overcome these difficulties. But I speak confidently when I say that we will overcome these challenges, and UB will be recognized as “a leader among leaders.”
And, since I have some familiarity with the university, we can get to work right away!
Thank you for joining me in this exciting work. And thank you for the extraordinary opportunity to lead this great university – the University at Buffalo!