Volunteer, Fan Stretches to Make Gift Commitment to UB Athletics

By Jed Nitzberg

Release Date: April 23, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- "If UB had a tiddlywinks team, Rick Friend would be there cheering them on."

That description of one of the university's most ardent fans makes it understandable why Richard L. Friend, '70, of Williamsville pushed his ability to give to the limit and made a $250,000 gift commitment to the Division of Athletics. The commitment establishes an endowed scholarship fund in honor of Friend's parents, Dick and Doris Friend.

"This is a great way to honor my Mom and Dad," said Friend. "It feels really good to be able to do this for them and university athletics."

What makes this commitment even more special is how UB was able to tailor it to Friend's personal needs. Under the plan, Friend will make cash contributions to the scholarship fund throughout his lifetime. Then, using an irrevocable agreement known as a "commitment to make a bequest," the remaining balance will be paid from his estate as a bequest.

Friend attributes his ability to fulfill his wishes to honor his parents and help athletics to UB's ability to structure such a plan.

"Because I don't have the resources to give the full amount at once, this option allows me to make a sizable contribution to help athletics at UB right now," said Friend. "When this plan was presented to me, everything clicked. I recommend planned giving to anyone who wants to make this kind of contribution to the university."

A supervisory compliance officer with the National Labor Relations Board office in Buffalo, Friend has been an avid supporter of UB and the athletic department since graduating. He attends many intercollegiate athletic events, including football and basketball, women's volleyball matches, swimming meets and wrestling matches. A frequent traveler to UB's away football and basketball games, Friend also is a fan of professional and amateur hockey, and attends the NCAA Final Four hockey tournament each year.

Of UB's upgrade to Division I competition, Friend says, "I think they're doing a great job, and I support wholeheartedly the upgrade to Division I. I also appreciate the strong support for academics the program offers its athletes."

According to Friend, his commitment will encourage others to support the athletic department while providing funds to help UB recruit the talented athletes necessary to compete at this elite level. "In order to progress to the next level, the department needs money for scholarships," Friend said. "It's not enough to say you support the program. You have to give them the money to do the job."

The $250,000 commitment is in addition to funds Friend already has contributed. He recently purchased 100 season tickets for next year's UB Bulls football games, part of the university's ongoing effort to meet NCAA attendance requirements. The tickets will be distributed to charitable organizations, which will use them to allow people who could not otherwise afford to attend an opportunity to see the team play.

In addition to his generous financial support, Friend also is an active athletics volunteer. As a member of the Blue & White Club, he helps solicit funds from other alumni. "It's not easy calling people to ask for money," said Friend, "but it has to be done, and it's certainly rewarding. We raised more than $200,000 in the last campaign -- well over our goal of $175,000."

Friend also will serve as a volunteer at the NCAA Track and Field Championships to be held at UB on June 3-6, 1998. "My Dad and I are taking a week to volunteer for this event, and I'm really looking forward to it," Friend said. "We'll be seeing the Carl Lewises of the future in competition here. It will be a fun time to take off from work and enjoy the meet."

A member of the UB Alumni Association Board of Directors, Friend will serve as vice president and chair of the Athletics Committee for 1998-99. "It was an honor to be accepted as a member of the board and as chair of this committee," said Friend.

Along with his support for UB athletics, Friend has contributed to the School of Management (he received his MBA in 1970), WBFO 88.7 FM, and the Center for the Arts, where he is a volunteer usher.

"I realize how much UB has done for me. It gave me a quality education and the extra things that go with it," said Friend. "It's time for me to give something back."

For information on how you can help support the University at Buffalo, go to http://www.buffalo.edu/giving