Published April 6, 2020
Dear university community:
After much deliberation, we have determined that the University at Buffalo will hold our spring 2020 commencement ceremonies in a virtual environment this May. As with all decisions we have made during these uncertain times, the health and well-being of our entire UB community is our guidepost and our priority.
The planning for our virtual commencement exercises has begun, and further information about our graduates’ ceremonies will be communicated by their schools. At this point, we remain optimistic that we also will be able to recognize UB’s Class of 2020 during an on-campus celebration sometime later in the year.
Regarding our summer session: To the greatest extent possible, UB will maintain a distance-learning platform throughout the entirety of the 2020 summer session. Please stay posted for additional details.
Clearly, this is not the semester any of us had envisioned. From the first report of a “pneumonia of unknown cause” to the more-than 130,000 cases of COVID-19 in New York State, the pandemic has tested resolve, tapped reserves and toppled expectations.
And yet, at the same time, this crisis has shown UB at our very best—our resilience, our creativity, our innovation, our adaptability.
As I write to you, clinicians around the world are turning to international treatment guidelines co-authored by a UB faculty member. Our faculty and health care partners are launching a clinical trial into a potential treatment. Our staff has mobilized to collect and deliver desperately needed laboratory supplies for local testing. Our alumni, friends and university community are supporting an emergency fund for students with limited access to food, housing, technology and other resources.
And, across the disciplines, our faculty have transitioned to a remote-learning model, ensuring that our students continue to receive the world-class education that will prepare them to lead in complex times.
Although this public health crisis has profoundly altered our lives, I am heartened to see our university community responding to adversity with great intellect, resourcefulness and humanity. As we navigate our ever-changing situation, it is important not to lose sight of one critical fact: The University at Buffalo—whether through our research, our academic programs or our public-service mission—has always been focused on solving society’s most vexing problems. From our founding nearly 175 years ago, we have harnessed our intellect and our creative energy to tackle societal challenges here in Western New York, across New York State and around the world. We will continue do so because this is who we are as a university community.
As we look hopefully toward a brighter future, let me reiterate how appreciative I am of the incredible work and accomplishments of our faculty, students and staff.
Our embrace of diverse perspectives, our evidenced-based quest for answers, our commitment to positively impact the communities we serve and our sense of purpose are what bind us as a university community. This is UB. Together, we are UB.
To our entire university community, near and far, please accept my best wishes for your good health and well-being. As always, we are here to support you in all of your endeavors
Satish K. Tripathi