Published August 30, 2016
Dear University Community:
UB is a vibrant hub of activity, conversation, and creativity on any given day. But I always think there’s something special about the opening of a new academic year.
On my walk across campus this morning, I overheard excited conversations in a dozen languages as friends reconnected and greeted new arrivals. I talked with students who’d just completed high-powered internships from coast to coast, new faculty and staff excited about joining UB and contributing to Buffalo’s resurgence, and long-time faculty members returning from field work overseas and full of exciting plans for bringing that work into the classroom this fall. Last week, I met dozens of new undergraduates and their families in the residence halls, and it was wonderful to hear the excitement in their voices as they begin the academic year.
As a new fall semester begins, UB is buzzing with the excitement generated by thousands of new and returning students, faculty, and staff. UB has the population of a small city, with some 30,000 students and thousands more faculty, staff, and visitors on our North, South, and Downtown campuses. We draw people from over 100 nations around the world, and thousands more UB students, faculty, and staff can be found around the globe—studying abroad, conducting research overseas, and partnering with institutions and organizations around the world.
But to be a truly great university, it’s not enough simply to bring the best and brightest from around the world into a central place. A great university must actively work, every day, to foster a thriving academic community—an intellectual home that supports, challenges, and inspires its members to reach higher and dig deeper. That’s exactly what we do at UB. Every day, together, we work to build and strengthen the community ties that connect us across geographic, cultural, and ideological borders.
We build community through enhancing the research enterprise: building faculty expertise and fostering a culture of scholarly collaboration so we can better address the key challenges facing our world.
We build community through transforming the educational experience: creating learning and research communities that bring classroom learning to life and provide a truly global perspective. That’s the essence of the UB Curriculum, launching this fall as a unique program of general education for all undergraduate students at UB.
And we build community through invigorating the physical environment and 21st century learning landscape. As just one great example, last week we celebrated the grand re-opening of the beautiful Silverman Library in Capen Hall—the first milestone in the Heart of the Campus project, a UB 2020 initiative focused on enhancing the student experience by integrating modern library spaces with teaching, technology, and student services. It’s exciting to imagine the endless possibilities for student exploration, discovery, and collaboration that will take place there.
Most of all, we build community through our daily interactions with each other—sharing, questioning, and building upon each other’s ideas, innovations, and discoveries.
So to every member of our UB community—new and returning—thank you for the intellectual passion, curiosity, and engagement you bring to our university each day. Best wishes for a new academic year filled with the promise of uncharted territory, untested ideas, and fresh perspectives.