Published June 24, 2022
Members of the UB community gathered with elected officials on Friday to thank Gov. Kathy Hochul for her support of a new building that will accommodate the continued growth of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The governor, who was not able to attend the event, earlier this year announced that the state will commit $68 million toward the planned $102 million facility. UB will fundraise the remaining $34 million.
In the past 10 years, undergraduate enrollment in the engineering school has grown 60% and graduate student enrollment increased 110%. Last fall, the school enrolled a record 7,401 students.
To meet this growing demand — and to further solidify UB’s place among the nation’s premier public research universities — UB will is planning a five-story building on the Furnas parking lot adjacent to Lee Loop.
“A new engineering building has long been one of my foremost priorities, as it will have a transformative impact not only on our scholarly community, but the many communities we serve,” President Satish K. Tripathi said.
“By virtue of the technologies developed there — which will create growth and vitality in business and industry — and the students educated there — who will contribute their expertise to the highly skilled workforce — the economic benefits will extend to the region, state and well beyond,” Tripathi continued. “We are extremely grateful to Gov. Hochul and our Western New York delegation for their steadfast commitment to UB’s mission of excellence.”
State Sen. Tim Kennedy praised Hochul’s commitment to UB, including her designating UB and Stony Brook University as flagships of the SUNY system.
“This state commitment is a reflection of the confidence we have in the University at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the unparalleled education it offers students seeking opportunities in STEM industries,” said Kennedy. “With this funding, we are not only investing in Buffalo's student experience, but in our greater workforce and in sustainable, innovative and research-driven careers.”
UB leaders and Kennedy acknowledged Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who was unable to attend, as well as other lawmakers in attendance, including state Sen. Edward Rath III and Assemblymember Karen McMahon, in whose districts UB resides, as well as Assemblymember Monica Wallace.
The building will help UB increase and diversify the state’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce, and drive innovation and economic development in artificial intelligence, quantum science, advanced materials and other fields.
The building will feature an “engineering commons” that will include collaborative spaces for student clubs, as well as maker space, student support services and programs that support the formation of startup companies and other entrepreneurial activities.
“Everything about the new building will be designed to enhance the student experience,” said engineering Dean Kemper Lewis. “It will be a central gathering point where all students are welcomed and supported in a space that encourages them to pursue their intellectual curiosity and tackle the grand challenges that we as a society face.”
The $68 million in state funding is part of a broader investment by Hochul and state lawmakers in the SUNY system, which includes a $255 million increase in operating aid, and more than $660 million in additional capital for SUNY.
At UB, such investments will help the university achieve its ambition to be among the nation’s top 25 public research universities.
Imani Muhammad-Graham, who received his BS in computer engineering from UB last month, and is enrolled in the master’s program in electrical engineering, also spoke at the event.
Of the new building, he said: “Different people, with different backgrounds, with different expertise, will be encouraged to collaborate, fostering a community focused on creating a positive difference, a difference that embraces diversity and collaboration as a means to innovate and transform.”