Ask Your President

WIhat do you like most about Buffalo?

An undergrad chosen at random gets to pose a question to President Tripathi

President Tripathi and Maria Fritz.

President Tripathi and Maria Fritz. Photo: Douglas Levere


I’ve actually lived in various countries on three different continents at different points in my life—in India, where I was born and raised; in Canada (Toronto) and France (Paris), where I spent time as a graduate student and later as a visiting professor; and in the U.S., where I’ve spent the majority of my academic career and have lived in cities from coast to coast.

So I guess I speak with some authority when I say that you can travel all over the world and never find a community that is quite like Buffalo.

To me, living in Buffalo offers the perfect balance—the best of all worlds. It’s small enough to be a close-knit community, yet big enough to offer all the amenities of a major city, from big-time sports to world-class restaurants, theaters and museums. I also love that wherever you are in the city, you can get in your car and in less than 20 minutes be transported to an amazing natural setting that is also uniquely Buffalo-Niagara—whether it’s Niagara Falls, an old-growth forest in Cheektowaga or the rejuvenated harbor front.

But as amazing as Buffalo is as a physical place, it’s Buffalo’s people who make it truly unforgettable. People talk a lot about the resilience, grit and determination that Buffalonians have in common. And there is a lot of truth to that. But what I really love about Buffalo is that these are not individual values—they’re collective ones. There’s such a strong sense here that we all rise or fall together … that we pull together in good times and bad. We Buffalonians love to celebrate together, and in tougher times we put aside our own challenges to help others in need.

You see that sense of community in action during a Buffalo snowstorm, when Western New Yorkers put down their own snow shovels to help others—whether they’re bringing supplies to shut-in neighbors or rescuing stranded motorists and snowbound plow operators.

And you see it just as clearly in our beautiful Buffalo summers, when it seems as if every day something brings people outdoors to celebrate the season together, from the Allentown and Elmwood arts festivals, to fundraising events like the Ride for Roswell, to free concerts at Canalside and Larkinville.   

That sense of community is exactly why my wife and I immediately felt at home when we moved here from California 12 years ago. It’s no accident that Buffalo is known across the nation as the “City of Good Neighbors,” and we quickly found out how well-deserved that nickname is.  

As a Buffalo native, Maria, I am betting you will agree that this is a community that is warm, friendly, genuine and deeply generous to its core. And being part of it is something truly special.

Our Student: Maria Fritz

Bailey Radel.

A sophomore accounting major and Honors Scholar from Buffalo, Maria Fritz wants to obtain her CPA upon graduation and work for an accounting firm. Where she will settle down after graduation is unclear, but one thing she does know is she wants to travel and experience other cultures. To prepare, she’s learning Japanese and plans to study in Kobe, Japan, this summer. As a volunteer for UB’s English Language Institute (ELI), she also helps students from across the globe hone their conversational skills. “The students are from everywhere,” she enthused.

Among her most interesting chats with ELI students, Fritz told Tripathi during the photo shoot, are those about the cultural differences in higher education systems. “I learned that high school [in China] is super hard, but once you get into college, it’s a little less difficult,” she said. “It’s the opposite here.” Tripathi agreed with this characterization, noting that the contrast extends beyond China. “This is true in most of the Asian world,” he observed.