Published January 2, 2019
The 219th anniversary of the birth of Millard Fillmore, UB’s first chancellor and the 13th president of the United States, will be celebrated at a ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 7 in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.
The program will begin at Fillmore’s gravesite with brief remarks, a prayer by Rev. Joan Montagnes of the United Universalist Church in Buffalo, and the presentation of wreaths by representatives of the White House, Millard Fillmore legacy organizations and the Forest Lawn Group.
Col. Eric L. Laughton, medical group commander for the 107th Attack Wing, New York Air National Guard in Niagara Falls, will present a wreath on behalf of the White House.
SUNY Fredonia music performance student Jodie White will play taps to conclude the gravesite ceremony.
The program then will move to the cemetery’s Margaret L. Wendt Archive & Resource Center for a reception hosted by Forest Lawn and the Buffalo Club. Bill Parke, a member and historian for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, will speak about “Millard Fillmore and His Debtor Legislation.”
The gravesite ceremony and reception are free and open to the public; while not required, RSVPs are strongly encouraged.
The Millard Fillmore legacy organizations, which Fillmore helped found, include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo Club, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo General Medical Center, Buffalo History Museum, Buffalo Public Schools, Buffalo Science Museum, Hodgson Russ LLP, SPCA serving Erie County, Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo and UB.
The university recognizes that Fillmore played a complex role in the history of slavery in the U.S., which includes the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act, and acknowledges this role publicly during the annual commemoration as a way to be true to our nation’s history and to be true to Fillmore’s legacy as president of the United States.
This year’s commemoration marks the 54th consecutive year UB has organized the event, a tradition that dates back to 1937. From 1937 until 1964, the anniversary ceremonies were organized by Charles Templeton, a UB alumnus who worked with the city of Buffalo and the Buffalo Board of Education to program the annual events.