Published August 27, 2012
Welcome to all the new students, faculty, and staff joining us this fall—and welcome back to all of our returning UB community members! On this first day of classes, I wanted to be one of the first to greet you as we begin a new semester.
The start of the academic year is always a time of great energy and enthusiasm. Across UB’s campuses North, South, and Downtown, we are meeting new colleagues and fellow students and welcoming back old friends. Our faculty, students, and staff are launching new projects and returning to works-in-progress with renewed vigor and a refreshed perspective.
What’s true for each of us as individuals is also true for our university as a whole. This is a time of tremendous vibrancy and momentum at UB. Across the university, we are investing in faculty and student excellence, and in creating the innovative campus climate for a premier research university to thrive.
With the recruitment of internationally renowned scholars across the disciplines, our core of outstanding faculty continues to grow in size and stature, led by our new Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles “Chip” Zukoski, a member of the National Academy of Engineering. We continue to bring more of the best and brightest students from across the nation and around the world as well, and these students are competing with increasing success for major national honors like Fulbright, Udall, and Goldwater scholarships.
To support our outstanding faculty and students to the fullest, we have also been working hard to create the world-class campus climate that fosters the best in educational excellence and research innovation. Last April, UB opened the UB Solar Strand, which will generate enough renewable energy to power hundreds of student apartment units per year while also serving as a testing ground for breakthrough solar technology research and a natural classroom for both UB and local K-12 students to learn about sustainable energy. In May, UB dedicated Barbara and Jack Davis Hall, a state-of-the-art new home for our engineering school on the North Campus.
The momentum continues this fall. On September 20th, we will celebrate the grand opening of UB’s innovative Clinical and Translational Research Center downtown, and on the South Campus, we will open a world-class pharmacy building, John and Editha Kapoor Hall on September 28th. Later this fall, we will open the Crossroads Culinary Center, a revitalized student dining hall in the Ellicott Complex—just one of many ways UB is enriching the student experience. Our Undergraduate Academies, designed to create more opportunities for students to work closely with world-class faculty on timely, interdisciplinary social issues like civic engagement and global perspectives, are also expanding the student experience with a new academy focused on entrepreneurship.
More progress is on the horizon. Downtown, the medical school is actively planning for its new home, where it will be strategically aligned with area hospitals and research partners. And plans are moving forward with our newly designated New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, a research center that will establish UB as a worldwide hub for the discovery and commercialization of new materials.
Collectively, these developments are creating the 21st century environment that brings our exceptional faculty and students together in powerful ways and allows their excellence to achieve its full impact. All of this exciting progress adds up to a research university that is clearly on the move, and making a profound impact.
Now comes the truly exciting part. It’s time for all of us to roll our sleeves up and get to work in these dynamic new spaces, doing what we do best—making new discoveries, contributing new ideas, and generating new knowledge that enriches the world around us. As members of a vibrant academic community, each of us works to advance that mission of excellence every day through our efforts in the classroom, library, and laboratory; on the playing field; and in our larger communities.
I hope your days ahead at UB are filled with exciting new revelations and insights, and I look forward to all the creativity and innovation you will bring to our academic community. Best wishes for a rich and rewarding fall semester!