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Conversation with the President

Published April 12, 2012

UB President, Satish Tripathi addressing the audience.
Video of the Forum
Video of the Q&A
“We’re not just planning; we are doing. We have been making a great deal of collective progress. Now we need to sustain and build on this momentum.”
Satish K. Tripathi
UB President

For UB President Satish K. Tripathi, Wednesday’s “Conversation with the President” was an opportunity to reflect on major moments of the past 12 months while looking ahead to the excellence UB will achieve in the coming years.

Tripathi’s forum took place one week before the one-year anniversary of his appointment as president by the SUNY Board of Trustees. Tripathi said the past 12 months have been “an amazing year” and cited the following as highlights:

  • Legislation that cleared the way for a rational tuition plan, which has allowed UB, for the first time, to plan on a five-year horizon.
  • The $35 million NY SUNY 2020 Challenge Grant that UB received and which will help kick start the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ move to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus while strengthening UB’s faculty across the disciplines. Tripathi noted that this grant will not be applied toward building construction.
  • The most academically talented undergraduate class the university has seen in decades.
  • Moving forward with faculty and staff hiring plans as part of UB 2020.
  • The opening of several new or remodeled buildings and facilities enhancing the physical environment across all three campuses, including William R. Greiner Residence Hall, the UB Solar Strand, Barbara and Jack Davis Hall, the Clinical and Translational Research Center, Red Jacket Dining Hall and John and Editha Kapoor Hall.
  • A surge in philanthropic contributions, including a $40 million gift from an anonymous alumnus, the largest individual gift in UB’s history.

“These things don’t happen by chance,” Tripathi told the crowd gathered in the Center for the Arts Mainstage Theatre. “They are a product of our long-range vision—UB 2020—and the outcome of all of the hard work we’ve done together over the last several years. Everyone plays a part.”

In addition to touching on his “Three Es” of academic excellence, engagement and efficiency, Tripathi also talked about four major goals on which UB is focused: building upon the university’s foundation of research excellence; enhancing the educational experience for students; elevating UB’s stature both nationally and globally; and sharing its innovations with local and global communities for the greater good.

“At its heart, our vision is about academic excellence,” Tripathi said. “It begins with our faculty, who drive the research enterprise, contribute the discoveries and ideas that change the world around us for the better and educate the students who represent the future of these pursuits.”

That’s why, Tripathi said, it’s important to invest in UB’s faculty and the campus learning spaces that support their teaching. Growing the university’s faculty by between 250 and 300 over the next five years will bolster UB’s research, make the university more competitive, yield better faculty-to-student ratios, and create more course sections, which will allow students to graduate on time, according to Tripathi.

During his remarks, Tripathi also briefly addressed the topics of development and fundraising, faculty and student excellence, the state designation of the new Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, and UB’s role as a catalyst for economic development in the Western New York region.

Specifically, Tripathi noted the accomplishments of three students: Esther Buckwalter, who won the 2012 Udall Scholarship; Dan Salem, who won the 2012 Goldwater Scholarship; and Matthew Zambito, who won the federally funded Critical Language Scholarship to study Turkish.

In addition, Tripathi highlighted UB’s commitment as a leader in campus sustainability, as evidenced by the opening of five Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designed projects in the past two years.

“We’re not just planning; we are doing. We have been making a great deal of collective progress,” Tripathi said. “Now we need to sustain and build on this momentum.”

Tripathi stressed that UB’s successes are the result of the efforts of the entire campus community, and that future progress will rely heavily on the contributions of everyone, from the facilities team to the faculty.

“All of this … is a testament to the collective work and commitment of the entire campus community,” Tripathi said. “This is a pivotal time for UB. As UB grows in quality and stature, so will our impact.”

Added Tripathi, “As an institution, UB will continue to invest in excellence for our faculty, staff and students across the disciplines. In turn, every individual has an equally important part to play in this commitment.”