Faculty fight for survival at annual Life Raft Debate


Published February 24, 2021

If the earth were to be hit by an apocalyptic asteroid strike, which UB professor would you select to rebuild our society?

Five UB faculty members from different disciplines will use their persuasive skills and plead their cases that they are worthy of the coveted final spot in an imaginary raft that will transport the survivors of the asteroid strike to safety so they can carry on the human race.

The 10th annual Life Raft Debate, sponsored by the UB Honors College, will take place from 6:15-7:45 p.m. March 3 via Zoom.

After the five faculty members argue their case, those in attendance will decide the victor.

This year’s contestants:

  • Kenneth Hoffmann, professor of neurosurgery, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
  • John Atkinson, professor of civil structural and environmental engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
  • Elizabeth Mazzolini, associate professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Craig Centrie adjunct professor of Africana and American studies, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Jacob Neiheisel, associate professor of political science, College of Arts and Sciences.

The winner of the 2020 debate, Shira Gabriel, professor of psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, will return to play the role of devil’s advocate.

The master of ceremonies will be Debora Grossman, clinical assistant professor of marketing, School of Management.

Those who RSVP for the debate by 4 p.m. March 1 will receive Zoom coordinates prior to the start of the debate.