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Council salutes Gicewicz, introduces Koch


Published June 19, 2014

The UB Council welcomed a new member at its March 4 meeting while honoring the work and service of an outgoing member who had served UB’s primary oversight and advisory board for more than 15 years.

Chris Koch, a fourth-generation CEO of New Era Cap Company Inc., attended his first meeting after his appointment by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Koch replaces Edmond J. Gicewicz, a longtime UB faculty member and former star UB athlete who is founder and first medical director of the university’s Sports Medicine Institute. Gicewicz was UB team physician for 27 years.

Gicewicz will receive the President’s Medal at this year’s general commencement. President Satish K. Tripathi praised Gicewicz’s lifelong contribution to UB and the UB Council, saying Gicewicz was “richly deserving of this tribute.”

In other business, Tripathi also welcomed Liesl Folks, who joined UB in January as the new dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Tripathi called Folks “an extraordinary addition to our senior leadership team. SEAS and UB are very fortunate to have a researcher and leader of her caliber.”

Folks joined UB from HGST, a hard-disk drive company in San Jose, Calif., where she led the development and delivery of new media advanced technologies to the marketplace. She is an internationally recognized expert in nanotechnology and magnetism, holding 14 U.S. patents.

“She is truly the ideal individual to lead SEAS to even greater heights of excellence as it continues to explore new educational programs, innovative research and technology initiatives, and new partnerships,” Tripathi said.

Danny White, director of athletics, gave council members a presentation about the potential for athletics to break out as a national-caliber program. White spoke of the need for new facilities to support that ambitious plan, in particular a field house to attract student athletes and help make UB competitive nationally.

“The most important facility for us is the field house,” White told council members. “From the recruiting standpoint and the student athlete development standpoint, we have to make this project a reality.”

Council members also heard a presentation by Alex N. Cartwright, vice president for research and economic development, outlining the purpose and goals of the Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, a new center designed to stimulate regional economic growth in advanced manufacturing, life sciences and energy fields.

“We are excellent. We need to compete for the best faculty across the country,” Cartwright said. “And in order to do that, we need to put in the correct infrastructure and facilities.

“We also recognize we can be the leader in some areas. One of those areas is materials informatics. The only way we are going to be a leader in that is to put in the infrastructure, hire the excellent faculty we want to lead that and demand excellence from those faculty.

Dennis Black, vice president for student affairs, also outlined the latest results of a recent SUNY student satisfaction survey, conducted every three years.

“Quite frankly, we’re very pleased by the results,” Black said.

UB finished highest among all SUNY schools when students were asked about these issues: Would they choose to attend this school again? What was their overall impression of their education? And what was the level of satisfaction in general of their university experience?

The survey showed UB students said the university needed to improve its availability for parking, the campus’ student newspaper and the services at the bookstore.