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Many Thanks to Chuck Dunn

Thanks to Chuck Dunn

When Chuck Dunn began his career at UB, mainframe computers like this one were the standard.

Published March 4, 2013

By Rick Lesniak, lesniak@buffalo.edu

After nearly 43 years working in Computing and Information Technology (CIT), Chuck Dunn has decided to accept an appointment to the Emergency Planning team in University Life and Services. Chuck leaves a large imprint on CIT having been part of the senior leadership team since 1983, most recently in the role of UB’s Information Security Officer.

“For more than four decades, Chuck Dunn has played an instrumental role in keeping UB at the forefront of Information Technology.”
Tom Furlani, Interim Chief Information Officer

Chuck started working in computing at UB after his military service back in the days of tabulation equipment, large mainframe computers and the ubiquitous spinning tape drives. At a time when computing was chiefly the domain of mathematicians and engineers, Chuck was a member of User Services, the team of programmers and analysts assigned to help faculty and students with their computational chores.  Early on, Chuck impressed CIT leadership with his superb technical acumen and sound reasoning.  

It wasn’t long before Chuck was tapped to lead the User Services group, and he helped plan the rapid expansion of computing center staffing required to address the burgeoning field of computing and networking. Upgrades to computers in the 1970’s and early 80’s were very costly, so comparison-shopping between vendors was a serious undertaking.  Working to develop requests for proposal (RFP) and benchmarking standards became Chuck’s focus, and he was instrumental in developing the RFP for all SUNY university centers to adopt the same computing systems. Known as the “5 Center RFP,” the project charted the course to standardize SUNY University Centers’ computing for decades to come.

Chuck’s penchant for the technical made him the natural candidate to lead CIT’s Technical Services department (now known as Enterprise Infrastructure Services). During his directorship, Chuck led UB’s migration from “big iron” mainframe computing to a next-generation distributed computing environment that embraced personal computers interacting on highly available networks.  IT leadership eagerly awaited Chuck’s schematics of UB’s computing architecture with their ever-increasing complexity. Without these roadmaps, and faith in the chief architect, UB could not embrace excellence in the Information Age. There is a long list of technical innovations and strategic advancements introduced under Chuck’s direction.

Our current understanding of an always-connected and global Internet posed substantial challenges to protecting UB’s information and computing infrastructure. Rapid increases in the level of threats born through the Internet coupled with rapid increases in access demands required careful and systematic thinking about information security. In 2006, Chuck was again tapped to become UB’s first Information Security Officer. Under his guidance, UB developed sound and consistent information security policy, standards and practices to protect and secure our valuable data and computing assets, and a staff of security professionals keeping watch. 

Although moving on to a new position with Emergency Planning, UB Information Technology will continue to benefit from his many years of experience as he will be working with the Office of the CIO to help formulate CIT’s long-term strategic plan.

Tom Furlani, UB’s Interim Chief Information Officer, states, “For more than four decades, Chuck Dunn has played an instrumental role in keeping UB at the forefront of information technology. On behalf of all of UB, I want to thank Chuck for his many years of exceptional service in IT and wish him the best in his new position. I look forward to working with him to help develop CIT’s long-term strategic plan.”