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Engineering alumnus Stephen Still gives $4 million to support UB institute


Thu, Oct 5th 2017 10:10 am
A graduate who said the University at Buffalo changed his life has given $4 million to the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).
Stephen Still graduated with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1976, then earned master's and doctoral degrees at Princeton University. While his passion has always been in transportation planning, he said, he spent most of his career in the aviation industry.
Still, who lives in Reston, Virginia, co-founded, managed, then sold two successful companies: Seabury Airplane Planning Group LLC and Diio LLC. He considers the education he received at UB to be the foundation for his success.
"This university changed my life," Still said. "I have been blessed far beyond my expectations and the origins can be traced back to this very place. From the committed faculty who taught with passion and commitment to the lifelong friends made here, this place was truly transformational."
Still's gift will create an endowment to support the Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics (ISTL), a center that unites the UB engineering and management schools to address the growing new field of transportation, logistics and supply-chain management.
In recognition of Still's generosity, UB will rename the institute the Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics.
UB President Satish K. Tripathi announced the gift at a news conference today, expressing gratitude to Still on behalf of the entire university for his gift.
"Early in his career, Stephen began giving back to UB, saying more than once that he supports us because UB gave him his start with a solid education," Tripathi said. "Today, all of UB says thank you to Stephen Still. His devotion to UB will have a truly transformational impact - not only on the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, but also on students for generations to come."
State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson noted Still's gift stands as a strong example of what SUNY works to give all its students.
"Stephen's experience at the University at Buffalo embodies what we hope for all SUNY students: An opportunity to pursue their passion, to learn from faculty who challenge and inspire them, and to receive an education that leads to a rewarding career," she said. "The Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics will help us provide that same experience to many students in an emerging and critical field. SUNY is grateful to Stephen for his incredible generosity and continued engagement as a proud UB alum."
Still said it was "an easy decision" to make this gift to UB.
"My family was of modest means and, with state support, I was able to attend for close to free," he said. "Today, UB remains a tremendous value relative to the exceptional quality education it provides. So many young adults are given the chance to pursue their dreams in any field with the strong foundation provided here."
Still serves on the SEAS dean's advisory council and on the civil, structural and environmental engineering advisory board. He has volunteered and made gifts to the school, particularly to support scholarships and student clubs, for 17 years.
Still also serves on the ISTL advisory board, and said he directed his gift to the institute because "I'm a child of the 1970s environmental movement."
"UB opened my eyes to the great impact that transportation can have on this planet," he said. "To be a viable, efficient society, we need skilled planners to work with civic and business leaders, to create livable, connected communities. When I arrived here in 1973, UB already had world-class academic leaders in transportation studies dedicated to these principles. It takes engineers of all types to design transport systems, but, just as important, it takes visionaries in city planning, business administration, political science and nearly every field UB offers to produce a meaningful impact."
Liesl Folks, SEAS dean, said Still's gift will support the institute in many ways, paying for research, program initiatives, equipment costs, and the work of graduate students studying transportation.
"We are fortunate to have such a truly remarkable alumnus and friend," Folks said. "And we look forward to watching all that Stephen Still's gift will bring to UB's engineering students. Thanks to his generosity, the Stephen Still Institute for Sustainable Transportation and Logistics can offer the best in research programs and more meaningful collaborations with industry. It will serve as an even bigger umbrella that unites faculty across the university with interest in transportation, logistics and supply chain management."

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