Release Date: June 2, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo has appointed Benjamin Hilligas executive director of the Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center (BEOC).
The State University of New York-affiliated agency, located on UB’s Downtown Campus, provides quality workforce development, academic training and college preparatory programs to meet the needs of disadvantaged students.
Hilligas currently is executive director of the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of Western New York. He received a master’s of social work degree from UB and a bachelor’s degree in social work from SUNY Buffalo State University.
Hilligas begins his role of BEOC executive director June 12.
“Ben brings to this role impressive leadership experience in government and nonprofit human services, a broad network of community partners, and a deep commitment to improving the lives of people in the Buffalo community through transformative educational opportunities,” said A. Scott Weber, UB provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, when announcing Hilligas’ appointment.
“As executive director of the Matt Urban Center, Ben leads an anti-poverty organization focused on revitalizing neighborhoods, serving families, and improving lives through a broad array of services,” according to Weber. “Prior to his position at Matt Urban Center, Ben served as senior director of Erie County Youth Services and in leadership positions for Say Yes Buffalo and Compass House youth shelter.”
The BEOC strives to equip students with industry-recognized skills that enhance their employability, and pathway preparation programming leading to college entry and degree attainment.
“I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to lead the Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center,” said Hilligas, who lives in Buffalo. “The BEOC is a bedrock institution in the City of Buffalo with a legacy of service that stretches across generations.”
Hilligas’ appointment follows the late Julius Gregg Adams, executive director of the BEOC since 2012, who retired in 2022.
Weber acknowledged the work of the search chair, Cheryl Taplin, senior associate vice provost and director of student success and academic support, and the search committee for their service.
“I would also like to thank interim executive director, Dr. Debra Thompson for her leadership and stewardship of the BEOC during the transitional period,” said Weber.