Published December 20, 2017
The following is a statement from UB President Satish K. Tripathi on Robert G. Wilmers, longtime chairman and chief executive officer of M&T Bank, who died Saturday.
"Our University at Buffalo community mourns the passing of Robert G. Wilmers and extends our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Elisabeth Wilmers and the entire Wilmers family.
It is impossible to quantify Bob’s impact on our university and our community. For decades he was a true friend and dedicated champion of UB who embraced our university’s vision of excellence and appreciated the pivotal role it could play in the health of our community. His belief in our institution guided his support of UB, which greatly helped us advance as a premier public research institution while inspiring others to follow his lead.
In addition to his generous philanthropic spirit, Bob demonstrated his commitment to our university by giving generously of his time. He served UB in numerous capacities over the years, including as chairman of the UB Foundation’s Board of Trustees in the early 1990s, co-chair of our institution’s comprehensive campaign in the late ‘80s and early ’90s and, most recently, as co-chair of the “Build the Vision” campaign for the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
In 2015, we at UB had the distinct pleasure of awarding Bob our institution’s highest honor, the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal. This annual award recognizes an individual who has, in Norton’s words, “performed some great thing which is identified with Buffalo” — an ennobling act that “dignifies Buffalo in the eyes of the world.”
Thanks to Bob’s dedicated civic-mindedness, there were many such acts over years. He was well ahead of his time in recognizing Buffalo’s great potential long before its remarkable resurgence. And he not only recognized this potential – he did everything in his power to help this region achieve it. That was clear in his incredible ability to build up a small bank into a financial powerhouse that, through his clear-eyed leadership, emerged as one of the area’s most steadfast champions of cultural organizations and education.
On behalf of the entire University at Buffalo community, we are so very grateful for Bob’s longtime friendship and support, which has had a resounding impact on our institution, as it has had on numerous vital institutions across Western New York. With the passing of Bob Wilmers, UB and the greater community has lost a dedicated advocate and a loyal friend. My wife, Kamlesh, and I treasured our longtime friendship with Elisabeth and Bob. We will miss him dearly."