Release Date: September 28, 2006 This content is archived.
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- President John B. Simpson today announced that the University at Buffalo is beginning a master planning process focusing on future campus and facilities needs in conjunction with plans to grow the university by 750 faculty members and 10,000 students over the next 15 years.
The planning will focus on UB's three locations -- North Campus, South Campus and in downtown Buffalo -- and, among other things, will assess how they link with their host neighborhoods.
"Making sure that we are more thoughtfully linked to the Amherst, University Heights and downtown communities is one of the very top priorities of this effort," Simpson said in comments prepared for a major address focusing on strengthening the partnerships between UB and the community that he delivered this morning in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Among those in the audience were representatives of neighborhood and faith groups, elected officials, business and educational leaders, and concerned citizens.
"This is an historic undertaking of major proportions," Simpson said. "It is the first time since the construction of the North Campus in the 1970s that UB has undertaken such an ambitious plan."
Simpson said the master planning process "will commit UB to providing safe, modern and attractive spaces to our current and future students, faculty and staff on all three of UB's major locations – North Campus, South Campus and downtown."
He stressed that the process will be an inclusive one and include input from community leaders, elected officials and municipal planning bodies. "We have already sought the advice and input from a range of local leaders, with many more to come," he noted.
Simpson announced that he has asked Robert Shibley, professor in the UB School of Architecture and Planning, to devote his time to the university's master planning process. Director of UB's Urban Design Project, Shibley is architect of the "Queen City Hub: A Regional Action Plan for Downtown Buffalo."
Outlining plans to expand UB's faculty and student enrollment, Simpson described UB's vision, an outgrowth of the UB 2020 planning process, to be a bigger, stronger institution. He said the benefits from that growth will accrue to Buffalo-Niagara.
"The vision for making UB a bigger and stronger institution is also a vision for how UB and Western New York can strengthen the vital partnership that binds them together," Simpson said. "What's good for UB is good for Buffalo-Niagara."
Simpson said UB's growth will be a catalyst in transforming the local economy.
Looking 15 years into future, he predicted: "There will be hundreds of new jobs, thousands of additional students and millions of dollars in annual economic impact."
Simpson stressed, however, that "UB cannot do it alone" and needs the active support of all stakeholders, including the entire Western New York community.
Simpson recalled that when he came to UB nearly three years ago, "I was in awe of how ingrained UB is in the community. I assure you this is not the case with all communities.
"I stand before you to assure you that UB will continue, and expand, its deep commitment to the community," he added. "I see today as the start of a dialogue between our university and our community on ways to be an even stronger, deeper partnership than we now have."
Simpson said UB's impact in Western New York extends beyond the economic, which is estimated to be $1.5 billion each year, or four times the funding the university receives from New York State.
"It's quite remarkable what a vast range of services, commitments and resources UB provides to Western New York and its residents," he noted. "Having a major research university located here is a real asset for the people of Western New York."
Simpson cited examples of how UB improves the quality of life in the region in the areas of economic development, health-care delivery, improving preK-16 education and strengthening neighborhoods, and referred his audience to the many more examples highlighted on the "Your UB" Web site at http://www.buffalo.edu/YourUB.
He described UB alumni as "the professional backbone of our local economy," with two-thirds of the 100,000 UB graduates in New York State living in Western New York. He noted, for example, that 9 out of 10 dentists, 8 out of 10 attorneys and 7 out of 10 pharmacists in the region are UB graduates.
Simpson said that while UB is a strong university, it aspires to be one of the nation's leading public research universities. To help it reach that goal, he explained, the university more than two years ago began its UB 2020 strategic planning process, identifying strategic strengths in which to invest and build academic excellence and reorganizing academic support services to align with academic goals.
"UB 2020 is our vision for achieving enduring academic excellence, and our roadmap for getting there," he noted. "I know of no other school that is undergoing such an ambitious transformation process.
"UB 2020 is about making UB a bigger and stronger university. Over the next decade-and-a-half we will increase the number of faculty and students on campus. This will allow us to achieve the level of excellence we strive for in all of our areas of study."
Simpson stressed that "in many ways, what is good for UB is also good for Buffalo-Niagara."
"A bigger UB, just like a stronger Western New York economy, will bring more new-economy jobs, more tax revenue, more research dollars, more exposure and more potential for the commercialization of innovations that take place right here in Buffalo-Niagara. UB's growth will be a catalyst in the transformation of the local economy from one based primarily on manufacturing to one based on knowledge and technology."
UB's vision to be a bigger, stronger university, Simpson concluded, "is also a vision for how UB and Western New York can strengthen the vital partnership that binds us together."
"I assure you, these are not separate concepts. In fact, they are very much linked to one another. If I can leave you with just one message this morning, convince you of one thing, it's that strengthening this partnership is a team effort that will benefit all of us. Our university and our community are in this together.
"There are no great cities without a great hometown university."