Published January 3, 2014
The 214th anniversary of the birth of Millard Fillmore, UB’s first chancellor and 13th president of the United States, will be celebrated at a ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 7 at Fillmore’s gravesite in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn cemetery.
Claude Welch, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Political Science, will deliver the memorial address at the annual observance, which honors Fillmore, who played a major role in the founding of numerous cultural, civic and community organizations in Erie County.
Hosted by UB, Forest Lawn and the Buffalo Club, the event is free and open to the public.
“The annual Millard Fillmore commemoration is a time-honored tradition that celebrates the life of a man who made monumental contributions to Buffalo, and who served the United States from its highest office,” says William J. Regan, director of special events at UB.
Col. Robert G. Kilgore of the 107th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard based at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station will place a wreath from the White House at the gravesite.
William J. Koesler, president of the Buffalo Club; Dean Jewett, chairman of the Forest Lawn Board of Trustees; and Larry Gingrich, associate dean for Millard Fillmore College, also will be on hand to present wreaths.
Jeannette M. Ludwig, UB associate professor of romance languages and literatures, and a representative of the Buffalo Zen Dharma Group, will provide an invocation. The UB Police Color Guard will present the flags. To close the ceremony, UB student Matthew J. Caputy will play taps.
A reception will follow immediately in the Forest Lawn Chapel.
Born on Jan. 7, 1800, Fillmore was instrumental in founding the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, the Buffalo Club and The Buffalo General Hospital. His activities also led to the creation of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy and the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences.
This year’s commemoration marks the 49th consecutive year UB has organized the ceremony, a tradition that dates back to 1937.
From 1937 until 1965, the anniversary ceremonies were a cooperative staging by the city of Buffalo and the Buffalo Board of Education.