UB Today Alumni Magazine Online - Winter 2002
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President's Message

Housing initiatives transform the campus

 

Since our university was founded in 1846, UB has grown from a small, private medical school into New York State’s largest and most comprehensive public research university; developed from a modest plot of land into a thriving, extensive two-campus community; and deepened from a concentrated slate of medical courses to a diverse curriculum of more than 300 degree programs preparing students for every field from aeronautics to zoology.

Over the past decade, especially, we have focused our energies on completing this transformation by redefining UB as a comprehensive residential university community. UB now boasts a higher ratio of full-time to part-time students than ever before—a trend we expect will continue to accelerate in the years ahead. To accommodate these students, we have completed four new student housing projects since 1998 on the North Campus: Flickinger Court, Hadley Village, South Lake Village and Flint Village. Work has already begun on another apartment-style complex, Creekside Village, and we are planning a 3,000-bed student village, to include retail and recreation space, on Lee Road in the very heart of the North Campus.

Housing  
South Lake Village offers students comfortable apartments of varying sizes.
Photo by Frank Miller  

Plans are also in the works for substantial housing renovations on the South Campus, the permanent home for four of the five health science schools: the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the School of Nursing, the School of Health Related Professions and the School of Dental Medicine—and we hope to move the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to the South Campus in the near future. The South Campus is also the proud and historic home of our School of Architecture and Planning, and will continue to house that school for at least the next decade. Since 1990, $200 million has been invested in capital projects on the South Campus. As we continue to shape this campus into a research and residential center for health-related programs, we plan to invest as much as another $100 million in the South Campus over the next five to 10 years.

Our building endeavors have made a profound difference for the students who benefit from them—undergraduates, graduate students and professional students alike. Apartment-style residences create warm, inviting and manageable communities within the larger university; they ensure that UB is a wonderful place in which to live, as well as to learn. These innovative housing initiatives are fast becoming a model for other institutions of higher learning: UB is leading the way among university communities nationwide in the building of privately developed campus housing projects.

But a university is much more than the structures that house its classrooms, resources and students, and support its faculty, staff, alumni and volunteers. Our commitment to fostering a strong residential campus community reflects our conviction that students are our greatest asset and most promising resource for future growth, not only for the university but also for our regional community. UB brings thousands of bright, talented young people into Western New York each year; we hope that they always think of their alma mater and, by extension, the entire Buffalo-Niagara region, as their home away from home.

Having a reputation as a warm and vibrant campus community attracts the best and brightest students—not only from within New York State, but from across the nation and around the world—to become part of the UB family. The breadth of the international student body demonstrates this point: With 12 alumni chapters in other countries and exchange agreements signed with more than 60 overseas universities in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa, UB is increasingly connected to the global community.

For our students, perhaps the most important element in this equation remains financial accessibility. UB is committed to seeking ways to help students pursue their studies at our university and achieve the first-rate education many of them might not otherwise be able to afford. The University Honors Program, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary, offers scholarship support for outstanding UB students, and the Academic Excellence Scholars Program and Minority Academic Achievement Program also provide special assistance to our most academically talented students. The Distinguished Honors Program, which provides full scholarships to UB’s most exceptional undergraduates, was founded in 1995 by the generosity of one anonymous donor who has provided more than $7 million in funding for this initiative. With the generous support of other UB family and friends, scholarship initiatives such as these enable us to recruit and support outstanding students who enrich our entire university community.

Over the past 156 years, the student body has grown considerably—from an initial incoming class of 67 medical students to the current combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment of nearly 26,000 students. Throughout the years, one constant has been central to this transformation and continues to fuel our drive for excellence in the years ahead: We are a student-focused and student-powered university, committed to giving our graduates the tools they need to succeed in a rapidly changing future.

William R. Greiner
President, University at Buffalo


 
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