Published August 16, 2013
When President Barack Obama addresses an audience at UB on Aug. 22, it will mark the first time since 1853 that a sitting U.S. president has spoken at the university.
“President Obama’s visit to the University at Buffalo will be a historic occasion for our university and our community,” says President Satish K. Tripathi, “and we are happy to provide a forum for the president to address issues important to our nation.
“On behalf of the entire Buffalo-Niagara region, we look forward to welcoming the president of the United States to our university and our community.”
Obama’s address to the nation from the UB campus is expected to focus on issues important to America’s middle class, such as the rising cost of higher education. As a major public research university and a leading voice in the national conversation about issues vital to higher education, UB is an appropriate setting for such a discussion, Tripathi says.
A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), UB was praised this year as a national model for higher education reform by the New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy institute.
The New America Foundation report highlighted UB as one of six “next generation” universities nationwide, citing the university’s innovative approaches to controlling costs and expanding student access while improving the quality of education. UB was noted, in particular, for working with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to enact the historic NYSUNY 2020 legislation, and the report praised UB’s “Finish in 4” graduation pledge to students.
The university also is at the forefront of other issues important to the Obama administration, including health care, improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, and economic revitalization through development of university research.
For example, the university is building a new medical school in downtown Buffalo to strengthen the region’s health care, pioneer new medical treatments and fuel job creation. And last year, UB launched the New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics, modeled after the Obama administration’s Materials Genome Initiative, to spur discovery and development of new materials important to national security and essential to the manufacture of innovative products and technologies.
“Fostering a public space for discussing these and other pressing societal issues is vital to our mission as a leading research university focused on advancing the greater public good,” Tripathi says. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to host such a timely and meaningful conversation here at UB.”
Millard Fillmore, who served as the nation’s 13th president, was university chancellor from 1846-74, h0lding the title even while serving as U.S. vice president from 1849-50 and as president from 1850-53. Since then, four former presidents have spoken at the university.
Further information regarding the timing, location and topic of Obama’s address at UB will be forthcoming from the White House, as well as additional details about the availability of tickets for this event.