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‘UB Impact Tour’ highlights university’s regional reach

MBA students were greeted by tour co-organizer Cynthia Shore, senior assistant dean for alumni and external relations at the School of Management and then boarded buses on the North Campus for the Buffalo Impact Tour. Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

By MICHAEL ANDREI

Published August 28, 2017

“This is an exciting time to be in Buffalo and UB is a big part of the reason why.”
Cynthia Shore, senior assistant dean for alumni and external relations
School of Management

There are fewer construction cranes reaching into the sky, but as new MBA candidates saw Tuesday, Buffalo’s renaissance continues in a big way, with UB programs, people and research remaining at the forefront of the region’s growth.

Highlighted by a booming medical corridor — including construction of a new home for UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; a hip and lively waterfront; a slew of new businesses and downtown residential units; a rapidly-growing tech sector; and thriving arts and culture — the region’s resurgence continues unabated.

UB continues to drive change throughout the region, including advanced manufacturing and materials science, building on Buffalo’s legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship and attracting research funding and global talent to Western New York.

On Tuesday, new MBAs were given a firsthand look at UB’s reach into the region on a specially designed bus trip, the UB Impact Tour.

“This is an exciting time to be in Buffalo and UB is a big part of the reason why,” said tour co-organizer Cynthia Shore, senior assistant dean for Alumni and External Relations at the UB School of Management.

“We wanted to find a way to communicate this story in a comprehensive and memorable way,” Shore said. “So we assembled a group of senior administrators from the School of Management and began brainstorming ideas with members of University Communications and Alumni Communications.”

The university then approached Explore Buffalo, a not-for-profit organization providing tours and opportunities to discover Buffalo’s history, neighborhoods and exceptional architecture, to tell the story in a visual way.

“In May we designed a UB Impact Tour for UB’s Volunteer Leadership Summit, so we were able to collaborate with School of Management administrators to rework the tour for the MBAs,” said Brad Hahn, Explore Buffalo founder and executive director.

That morning’s tour for participants in the Volunteer Leadership Summit, Hahn said, was designed to show how “UB is everywhere, doing everything, throughout our region.”

Among key points:

  • UB’s Center for the Arts and the Solar Strand, on UB’s North Campus.
  • Hayes Hall, home to the School of Architecture and Planning and UB’s signature building — which recently underwent a complete renovation — a highlight on the South Campus.
  • Also on the South Campus, the School of Dental Medicine — home to the UB Dental Clinic. Service to the community results in over 140,000 annual visits by patients to UB’s dental clinics.

“UB is central to so much of what is going on with Buffalo’s resurgence, said Hahn. We point out UB links on our other tours in so many of the neighborhoods we go through… among the Delaware Avenue mansions, for example, there is Thomas Lockwood’s home.

Thomas Lockwood's home, photographed by Michael Andrei during the bus tour.

“When he remodeled, he made the library the largest room in his house. Now he is remembered chiefly for his 1935 gift of the Lockwood Memorial Library and his book collection to UB.”

“You hear people say, ‘UB is everywhere,’” said Shore. “It’s true. We couldn’t be prouder of UB’s role in Buffalo’s rebirth and the School of Management’s legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Additional downtown locations connected to UB highlighted during Tuesday’s tour focused on the roles UB graduates, faculty and innovators are playing in Buffalo’s thriving startup culture. Among the places visited:

  • UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences — It serves as a hub for life sciences innovation and technology-based economic growth. And it houses UB’s supercomputing facility, the Center for Computational Research, which created a 3-D model for plans to turn the Richardson Olmstead Campus into the Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center.
  • UB Educational Opportunity Center — It provides educational support and vocational training and health education programs to the community. Community partners include but are not limited to the Buffalo City Mission, United Way and M&T Bank.
  • UB Clinical and Translational Research Center-Gates Vascular Institute — The state-of-the-art health care center places clinicians adjacent to clinical and translational researchers — one of only a handful of such buildings in the nation.
  • IBM Innovation Center — Funded by the Buffalo Billion, the center is led by UB graduate Jay Goodwyn. The goal of the center is to create 500 technology and support jobs by 2020.
  • UB Downtown Gateway — Serves as home for UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL), UB’s Regional Institute, Millard Fillmore College and administrative offices. More than 1,300 CEL alumni employ over 22,000 Western New Yorkers and their businesses are worth more than $2 billion to the local economy. Also, the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences departments of Anesthesiology, Biomedical Informatics and Family Medicine are housed here, in addition to four Department of Medicine researchers working in geriatric and palliative care.
  • Campus Labs — Founded by UB School of Management classmates Erie Reich and Michael Weisman in 2001. The winning submission for Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC) at UB competition, the company now employs 150 people. Connecticut-based Higher One Holdings acquired Campus Labs for more than $40 million, making the student-founded company one of Western New York’s most successful startups.
  • The original location of UB, now Coca-Cola Field — A historical point on the MBAs’ UB Impact Tour, UB began operations in a leased building at the corner of Seneca and Washington streets with 66 registered students and a faculty of seven physicians. The first classes were held on Feb. 24, 1847.

Coca-Cola Field — the original location of UB — photographed by Michael Andrei during the bus tour.

After winding through the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and downtown tech and startup sites, the tour concluded at the waterfront.

UB connections there, the MBA candidates learned, include School of Management alumnus and Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation President Thomas Dee, and Synacor, a tech company started by UB graduates George Chamoun and Darren Ascone.  Headquartered in Buffalo with offices around the world, Synacor employs approximately 400 individuals.

Taku Yamamoto, an MBA candidate from Japan who also holds a civil engineering degree, was among the students on the tour.

Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

“It was really interesting to see all that UB does in Buffalo,” Yamamoto said. “It is quite a lot. It is also impressive to see the buildings, here in Buffalo, designed by such famous architects as Wright and Richardson.”

“The downtown medical campus is very impressive,” said Vipul Pandit, a candidate from India. “There is a lot going on with how UB supports the tech companies … that is exciting to see.”

“We have a great story to tell,” said Shore. “It is especially important for our students to get to know it.

“We feel this is an excellent way to learn about all that is happening between Buffalo and UB — by seeing some of the most important elements of it.”  

The UB Impact tour will be offered on Oct. 7 during Homecoming and Family Weekend. Additional information can be found online.