Executive Director, Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center

Published May 8, 2023

Dear Colleagues:         

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Benjamin Hilligas, LMSW, as executive director of the Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center (BEOC). Ben will begin his role as executive director June 12, 2023.  

Ben, who currently serves as executive director of the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY, brings to this role impressive leadership experience in government and non-profit 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.  

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. Prior to the 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. Ben received his Master of Social Work degree from the University at Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in social work from SUNY Buffalo State University.

I would like to extend my thanks to search chair, Cheryl Taplin, senior associate vice provost and director of student success and academic support, and the search committee for their service, which was vital to the successful outcome of the search. I would also like to thank interim executive director, Dr. Debra Thompson for her leadership and stewardship of the BEOC during the transitional period.  I am especially grateful that Dr. Thompson has agreed to continue to serve as Interim Executive Director through June 11, 2023.



A. Scott Weber                                                                                      Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs