This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

McCombe, Fatta to receive President’s
Medal at general commencement

President Satish K. Tripathi will deliver remarks and confer degrees at UB’s general commencement ceremony on May 13. Photo: STEVE MORSE

  • Bruce McCombe

  • Angelo Fatta

Published: April 26, 2012

Interim Provost Bruce McCombe and Angelo Fatta, chairman of the UB Foundation’s board, will receive the UB President’s Medal in recognition of extraordinary service to the university at UB’s 166th general commencement ceremony, to take place at 10 a.m. May 13 in Alumni Arena, North Campus.

During the ceremony, SUNY honorary doctorates will be presented to Paula Allen-Meares, BS ’69, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Ronald H. Coase, Nobel laureate and Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School.

More than 5,800 students are candidates to receive degrees during general commencement and 15 other commencement ceremonies to be held April 27 through May 22.

Tripathi will deliver remarks at the general commencement ceremony; Brittany A. Sager is the student speaker.

Forty-three students will receive special recognition during the ceremony.

Mahima Gupta will receive the Student Affairs Senior Leadership Award.

Students receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence are Kristina N. Blank, Mara C. Deckard, Allison P. Funk, Emily Gargiulo, Emily Gibson, Taylor M. Hiller, Bridget K. Hughes, Andrew D.G. Hunt, Lauren M. Little, Jasmine L. May, Madeline T. Morcelle, Shannon E. O’Leary, Mary K. Scheda, Thawab Shibly and Shanté L. White.

Graduates receiving the Outstanding Senior Award from the College of Arts and Sciences are Lauren M. Little, Anthropology; Karina Galinskaya, Asian Studies; D. Jamieson Brady, Biological Sciences; Nicole E. Kendel, Chemistry; Christina N. Caucci, Classics; Emily Gibson, Communication; Jenna L. Goldsmith, Communicative Disorders and Sciences; Kevin M. Foltmer, Economics; Sonia F. Hassan, English; Joseph J. Tamborski, Environmental Geosciences; Linda Schmidt, Geography, Rachel L. Kolenko, Geology; Robert E. Murphy, History; Matthew C. Goehrig, Linguistics; John P. Susice, Mathematics; Catherine J. Boatman, Media Study; Lisa K. Waltzer, Music, Seokman Kang, Philosophy; Katherine A. Spoth, Physics; Michael D. Rudroff, Political Science; Bryan Sim, Psychology; Ute K. Inselmann, Romance Languages and Literatures; Samantha J. Barone, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary; Stacy C. Katzman, Sociology; Carly M. Rehac, Special Major; Taylor M. Hiller, Theatre and Dance; Kayla L. Williams, Transnational Studies; and Caitlin R. McLeod, Visual Studies.

Vocalists are Emily E. Croft and Kara R. Tripoli, both music theatre majors.

The UB President’s Medal, first presented in 1990, recognizes “outstanding scholarly or artistic achievements, humanitarian acts, contributions of time or treasure, exemplary leadership or any other major contribution to the development of the University at Buffalo and the quality of life in the UB community.”

Since joining the UB faculty in 1982, Bruce McCombe has served the university in numerous academic and administrative leadership roles. Appointed interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs on Jan. 1, 2012, he holds the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor of Physics, and has served as associate chair and chair of the physics department.

He was director of the Center for Advanced Photonic and Electronic Materials, as well as the Center for Spin Effects and Quantum Information in Nanostructures. He also has served as associate dean for research and sponsored programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School, and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

As CAS dean from 2006-11, he oversaw substantial growth in the college’s faculty and increased fundraising activity that served to strengthen the teaching and research activities of the college during a time of unprecedented budget cuts.

After stepping down as dean to focus on scholarship, he agreed to serve as interim provost during a critical period of leadership transition for the university.

An internationally recognized scholar in his field, and a gifted and dedicated teacher, McCombe has remained active in research, scholarship and mentorship, even while holding numerous administrative posts. A fellow of the American Physical Society, he is a former editor of Physica E: Low Dimensional Systems and Nanostructures.

A longtime university volunteer and dedicated community leader, Angelo Fatta has played a vital role in helping to advance UB’s mission and strengthen its ties with its broader communities. He was appointed a trustee of the UB Foundation in 2004 and named chairman of the board in 2008.

Fatta has been a catalyst and champion for the region’s innovation economy. He served on the advisory board for UB’s Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach; as a director for the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute; and was instrumental in the formation of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

From 2001-06, he served as president of BuffLink Inc., a not-for-profit initiative he co-founded to promote regional development in the life sciences. Previously, he was owner and chief executive officer of ACTS Testing Labs, a consumer-products testing and consulting service with offices in Buffalo, Hong Kong and other international locations. He currently serves as CEO of ANSECO Group, a global leader in the field of product safety.

A member of UB’s 2010 presidential search committee, Fatta has served as a valued adviser to President Satish K. Tripathi and his predecessor, John B. Simpson, and has been integral to a multitude of regional arts, cultural and educational initiatives. A longtime chair of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra board of directors, he currently is its treasurer. An officer of The Fatta Foundation, a charitable foundation supporting child welfare and development, Fatta also has served the community through his leadership and volunteer service with many other organizations, including Canisius College, Cradle Beach Camp and the Buffalo Transportation Museum.

In addition to the general commencement ceremony, UB will hold 15 other commencement ceremonies:

  • School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, 2 p.m., April 27, Center for the Arts. Jeremy M. Berg, visiting professor in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is the speaker.
  • Biomedical Sciences (graduate and undergraduate), 6 p.m., May 10, Center for the Arts. James H. Wyche, professor of chemistry at Howard University, will speak.
  • Graduate School of Education, 9 a.m., May 11, Center for the Arts.
  • College of Arts and Sciences (graduate), 1 p.m., May 11, Center for the Arts.
  • School of Management (undergraduate), 1 p.m., May 11, Alumni Arena.
  • School of Architecture and Planning, 5 p.m., May 11, Center for the Arts. John P. Eberhard, founding dean of the school, is the speaker.
  • School of Management (graduate), 5 p.m., May 11, Alumni Arena.
  • School of Nursing, 9 a.m., May 12, Alumni Arena.
  • School of Social Work, 9 a.m., May 12, Center for the Arts. Nancy A. Humphreys, professor of policy practice at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, will speak.
  • School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 1 p.m., May 12, Alumni Arena. James P. Smist, BS ’80 in chemical engineering, President of Dean and Company, and recipient of the SEAS Dean’s Award, will speak.
  • School of Public Health and Health Professions, 1 p.m., May 12, Center for the Arts. Nirav R. Shah, New York State commissioner of health, will speak.
  • School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 1 p.m., May 12, Slee Concert Hall.
  • School of Dental Medicine, 5 p.m., May 12, Center for the Arts. William R. Calnon, president of the American Dental Association, is the speaker.
  • Law School, 3 p.m., May 19, Center for the Arts. Martha Minow, dean and Jeremiah Smith Jr. Professor at Harvard Law School, will speak.
  • Educational Opportunity Center, 7 p.m., May 22, Slee Concert Hall.