By JAY REY
Published June 14, 2023
Whether it was in research or the state budget or student and faculty recognition, the past academic year saw UB continue to make progress toward reaching its goal of becoming among the Top 25 public research universities in the U.S., President Satish K. Tripathi said this week.
“As I look back on the past academic year, I’m so pleased with the outcomes we have achieved in both our research enterprise and our academic experience,” Tripathi told members of the UB Council at Monday’s meeting, the last of the academic year.
In fact, more students than ever are graduating from UB. Some 10,349 graduate and undergraduate students earned degrees during the 2022-23 academic year, the largest number in the university’s history.
“These outcomes track with the goals we have set to achieve our Top 25 Ambition,” Tripathi said. “What’s more, they align perfectly with UB’s mission of excellence.”
In his report to the council, the president reflected on several highlights from the past year:
New research dollars. Among the highly competitive federal grants UB received was a $4.8 million award to apply UB’s concussion protocol to active-duty military; a $5 million grant to help older Americans identify online scams; a $7.8 million collaborative grant to explore the influence of the oral microbiome on cancer; a $15 million collaborative grant to support entrepreneurship in rural areas and small cities; and a $20 million National Science Foundation grant to create the AI Institute for Exceptional Education.
The university’s research expenditures continue to rise year after year, topping more than $200 million last year for the first time in UB’s history, the president noted.
“All told, these awards — and many more — affirm UB’s expertise in providing innovative solutions to a wide range of societal issues,” Tripathi said. “And clearly, the nation’s most selective funding agencies are taking note of the meaningful research we are undertaking.”
State budget. The president thanked Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Western New York delegation for supporting UB’s Top 25 Ambition in the current state budget, which includes $100 million to invest in the governor’s vision for UB as a flagship university.
“This funding will enable us to extend the benefits of our research throughout the region, state, nation and the world,” Tripathi said.
The budget also includes $163 million in additional operating aid for SUNY state-operating campuses; $650 million for critical-maintenance projects for SUNY campuses; $60 million for SUNY campuses to create transformational interventions focused on improving student experience and outcomes; and a state-matching fund for endowment contributions for the four SUNY centers.
“This year’s budget is truly an investment in UB’s academic and research innovation that will expand student access and success, and further build upon our research impact,” Tripathi said.
Faculty recognition. The president noted two-time Fulbright Scholar Daniel Hess, a professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning; Guggenheim Fellow Eduardo Mercado, professor in the Department of Psychology and one of just 171 scholars nationwide selected for the fellowship; and Deborah Chung, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, who was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Chung was one of only 11 selected under the academy’s engineering and technology section. Seven UB faculty also were named SUNY distinguished professors this past academic year.
“It’s wonderful to see our faculty’s meaningful contributions to society affirmed with these noteworthy honors,” Tripathi said. “Here again, the world-class reputation of our faculty is fueling our Top 25 Ambition.”
Academic excellence. UB remained deliberate in providing students transformative educational experiences and developing new academic programs that address contemporary issues, Tripathi said. UB, in fact, was just one of five universities nationwide chosen for funding to pilot a curriculum that addresses medical misinformation.
Other new programs included a master’s degree in computational earth science that enables students to model climate change; an advanced certificate in affordable housing; and a master’s and PhD in engineering education.
The president also noted accomplishments among UB students, including two Goldwater Scholars; a Marshall Scholar; the university’s second-ever Truman Scholar; and five who were selected for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program.
“Here again, what I share is not a comprehensive view of our students’ accomplishments, but it speaks volumes about their commitment to take full advantage of the enriching opportunities we are providing,” Tripathi said.
“And it’s clear that our students are succeeding — on the national and international stage,” he said.