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Published October 24, 2011

A Tribute to Dr. Herbert Hauptman

“Dr. Hauptman embodied everything we mean when we speak of faculty excellence.”
Satish K. Tripathi, President
University at Buffalo

The University at Buffalo community is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Herbert Hauptman, one of the most eminent and influential faculty members in UB’s long history, and widely considered to be the most important scientist ever to have lived in Western New York.  Our heartfelt condolences and sympathies are with the entire Hauptman family.

Truly, Dr. Hauptman embodied everything we mean when we speak of faculty excellence—certainly by virtue of his international stature as a Nobel laureate and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, but on an even more profound level, by virtue of his deep and abiding devotion to our academic community over the course of a long and distinguished career.  For over forty years, he dedicated himself to enriching the world around him as a scholar, educator, and mentor.  Though especially well known for his research achievements, he had a lifelong dedication to students as well—not only the university students he mentored but also school children throughout our region and state who have benefited from his commitment to improving math and science education standards and encouraging interest in these fields.  Well into his nineties, he remained an active and influential researcher, and a deeply engaged member of our university community as well as our surrounding region.

As a brilliant scholar whose achievements in the laboratory have made possible longer and healthier lives, Dr. Hauptman has helped to lead the way toward a host of critical medical breakthroughs.  His groundbreaking work in the field of X-ray crystallography continues to have monumental implications for the design of therapeutic drugs to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases.

Through his pioneering contributions, he was instrumental in defining the field of biomedical research itself over the decades.  In the process, he also helped to establish our university and region as recognized leaders in this field worldwide. As President of the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, he helped to build it into a world-renowned research center, one that continues to enrich our university today through our vital institutional partnership on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

His impact on our university, on our Western New York region, and on the scholarly community worldwide is immeasurable.  He has left an indelible mark on the UB community over the past half-century—and it constitutes a lasting legacy for the future generations of scientists, students, and scholars whose own lives will be changed by his achievements and contributions, in turn.

Satish K. Tripathi

President