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Engineering alumnus gives $4 million to support UB institute

Stephen Still gives remarks during a press conference announcing his gift of $4 million to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Photo: Douglas Levere

By MARY COCHRANE

Published October 5, 2017

“UB opened my eyes to the great impact that transportation can have on this planet.”
Stephen Still, UB alumnus and donor

A UB graduate who said the university changed his life has given $4 million to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Stephen Still graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1976, then earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Princeton University. While he says his passion has always been in transportation planning, he spent most of his career in the aviation industry.

Still, who lives in Reston, Va., co-founded, managed, then sold two successful companies: Seabury Airplane Planning Group LLC and Diio LLC. He considers the education he received at UB to be the foundation for his success.

“This university changed my life,” Still said. “I have been blessed far beyond my expectations, and the origins can be traced back to this very place. From the faculty who taught with passion and commitment, to the lifelong friends made here, this place was truly transformational.”

Still’s gift will create an endowment to support the Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics (ISTL), a center that unites the UB engineering and management schools to address the growing new field of transportation, logistics and supply-chain management.

In recognition of Still’s generosity, UB will rename the institute the Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics.

President Satish K. Tripathi, announcing the gift at a news conference today in the new Buffalo Room in Capen Hall, expressed gratitude to Still for his gift on behalf of the entire university.

“Early in his career, Stephen began giving back to UB, saying more than once that he supports us because UB gave him his start with a solid education,” Tripathi said. “Today, all of UB says thank you to Stephen Still. His devotion to UB will have a truly transformational impact — not only on the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, but also on students for generations to come.”

SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson noted that Still’s gift stands as a strong example of what SUNY works to give all its students.

“Stephen’s experience at the University at Buffalo embodies what we hope for all SUNY students — an opportunity to pursue their passion, to learn from faculty who challenge and inspire them, and to receive an education that leads to a rewarding career,” she said.

“The Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics will help us provide that same experience to many students in an emerging and critical field. SUNY is grateful to Stephen for his incredible generosity and continued engagement as a proud UB alum.”

Still said it was “an easy decision” to make this gift to UB.   

“My family was of modest means, and with state support I was able to attend for close to free,” he said. “Today, UB remains a tremendous value relative to the exceptional quality education it provides. So many young adults are given the chance to pursue their dreams in any field with the strong foundation provided here.”

Liesl Folks (left) and Stephen Still hold a framed decree renaming the Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics (ISTL) the Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics. Photo: Douglas Levere

Still serves on the SEAS Dean’s Advisory Council and on the Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board. He has volunteered and made gifts to the school, particularly to support scholarships and student clubs, for 17 years.

Still also serves on the ISTL advisory board, and said he directed his gift to the institute because “I’m a child of the 1970s environmental movement.”

“UB opened my eyes to the great impact that transportation can have on this planet,” he said. “To be a viable, efficient society, we need skilled planners to work with civic and business leaders to create livable, connected communities. When I arrived here in 1973, UB already had world-class academic leaders in transportation studies dedicated to these principles. It takes engineers of all types to design transport systems, but just as important, it takes visionaries in city planning, business administration, political science and nearly every field UB offers to produce a meaningful impact.”   

SEAS Dean Liesl Folks said Still’s gift will support the institute in many ways, funding research, program initiatives, equipment costs and the work of graduate students studying transportation.

“We are fortunate to have such a truly remarkable alumnus and friend,” Folks said. “And we look forward to watching all that Stephen Still’s gift will bring to UB’s engineering students. Thanks to his generosity, the Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics can offer the best in research programs and more meaningful collaborations with industry. It will serve as an even bigger umbrella that unites faculty across the university with interest in transportation, logistics and supply chain management.”