This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

44 years ago

Meyerson inaugurated as UB president

(From left) Kingman Brewster Jr., president of Yale; UB President Martin Meyerson; SUNY Chancellor Samuel Gould; and Clark Kerr of the University of California-Berkeley at Meyerson’s inauguration. Photo: UB Archives

  • The presidential medallion commissioned for Meyerson’s investiture featured the university’s new seal—a radial cluster of books symbolizing the integration of knowledge achieved through the diverse faculties of the university.

Published: September 15, 2011

On May 29, 1967, 1,000 guests were served 225 pounds of chicken salad, along with 250 pounds of asparagus, 1,200 tomatoes, 60 gallons of coffee, and 60 gallons of lemonade. The desert—strawberry shortcake—required 100 quarts of strawberries, 1,200 biscuits and 24 cups of heavy cream.

The luncheon was part of the festivities during the inauguration of Martin Meyerson, the first president appointed after UB’s merger with SUNY in 1962. Meyerson’s investiture was only the fourth such event in UB history. Prior to the appointment of Samuel P. Capen in 1922, the position of UB chancellor—the title used before UB’s merger with SUNY—was largely ceremonial. There were no inaugurations.

Buffalo’s Teck Theatre was the scene of the Capen investiture. Meyerson’s investiture took place in Kleinhans Music Hall, also the site of the ceremony for T. Raymond McConnell (1951) and Clifford C. Furnas (1955). Kleinhans also would be the venue for the investiture of Robert L. Ketter in 1971. The first such ceremony to take place on a UB campus was in 1982 when Steven B. Sample was inaugurated as UB’s 12th president in Alumni Arena.

A presidential medallion was commissioned for the Meyerson investiture. Featuring the university’s new seal—a radial cluster of books symbolizing the integration of knowledge achieved through the diverse faculties of the university—the medallion was created by Ivan Chermayeff, designer of the interior of the U. S. Pavilion at Expo 67. A new medallion reflecting a redesigned university seal was introduced in the early 1980s during the Sample administration.

In his inaugural address, Meyerson recalled Capen’s challenge for UB to be different. Meyerson called for “the courage to make our heritage of professional education even more humane and intellectual than it is.” By doing so, “we will have improved the profession, opened wholly new paths in the process to a liberal education which can be shared by all, and captured the sense of commitment and professing to which very many students and teachers aspire.” He felt that if there was the courage to take this path, UB would become a model.

Fifteen years later, Sample called for a reaffirmation of the “centrality of the liberal arts and sciences in the modern university” and also quoted from Capen’s inaugural address: “Universities depend upon shared values and the contributions of many, and that their progress is never the result of one person’s efforts.”

Furnas, Meyerson’s predecessor, stated in his address: “If this age of ours will be remembered, not for the automobile, nor atomic energy, nor wars, but for spreading the benefits once enjoyed by the few to all mankind, the application for universities is obvious. Expand and grow without loss of quality.”

In 1992, William R. Greiner used his inaugural address to ask the entire academic community to join in setting the course of the university for the 21st century. He told his audience that “if UB is to remain vital, vibrant and relevant, our university must be not just a leading institution…but a leadership institution, which learns from its past while daring to ask questions and look into the future.”

In the address following his investiture in 2004, John B. Simpson outlined his commitment to academic excellence, access to higher education and UB’s role in enhancing the quality of life in the region.

The investiture of Satish K. Tripathi as UB’s 15th president will be part of a larger Inauguration Week, a university-wide celebration from Sept. 19-24 that will honor the university’s proud past while celebrating its extraordinary present and vast potential for the future.

The formal investiture ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Sept. 23 in the Center for the Arts, North Campus.

Faculty and staff interested in attending the investiture should RSVP. Students also should RSVP.

As part of Inauguration Week activities, the University Libraries will present “Inaugurations, Anniversaries & Celebrations,” an exhibit featuring photographs and artifacts from the presidential inaugurations of Samuel P. Capen through John B. Simpson. The exhibit is on display in the Special Collections Research Room, 420 Capen Hall, through Sept. 27.

John Edens, University Archives