Submitted by the University at Buffalo
Citing remarkable fundraising success and record engagement with its alumni, friends and community partners, the University at Buffalo announced it is extending its “Boldly Buffalo” campaign goal to $1 billion.
With an original goal of $650 million, donors have committed more than $711 million to date. Through the campaign, funds are being raised for student support, faculty research and innovative programs that benefit the world – with a particular emphasis on the Western New York community.
“Since its launch, the ‘Boldly Buffalo’ campaign has had a transformative impact on our university and the many communities we serve,” UB President Satish K. Tripathi said. “Now – thanks to the incredible support and engagement of our alumni, campaign volunteers, friends and community partners – we are able to set our sights even higher.”
The “Boldly Buffalo” campaign plays a pivotal role in Tripathi’s aspiration to situate UB among the top 25 public research universities in the nation within the next decade.
“The public research university is increasingly being called upon to solve the most complex issues of our time,” he noted. “Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to propel UB forward – that we accelerate the pace of discovery, that we make world-class education even more accessible, and that we prepare our students to lead in a rapidly evolving world. As we celebrate UB’s 175th anniversary this year, the extension of our ‘Boldly Buffalo’ campaign positions us to enhance our societal relevance and impact for the next 175 years – and well beyond.”
Through the “Boldly Buffalo” campaign, donors have supported more than 300 new scholarships and fellowships to help make college more affordable for undergraduate and graduate students, with a focus on attracting high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds. Investments in faculty – with 32 newly endowed faculty positions – help advance research and academic output and elevates the university’s standing among its peers. Campaign gifts also allowed UB to build or renovate 15 buildings or spaces.
Even during the COVID-19 crisis, UB alumni and friends continued to show their support for the university by contributing nearly $715,000 toward student and health science emergency funds last year. In 2020 alone, UB alumni, donors and friends contributed more than $96 million to the university.
“Despite challenges presented during the past year, we continue to set new fundraising records” said Rodney M. Grabowski, vice president for university advancement. “More than 74,000 alumni, faculty, staff and friends have already raised their hands to support the ‘Boldly Buffalo’ campaign and the future of the university. As we realize a truly bold vision for UB, for our students, and for our broader society, I am energized by the outpouring of support our university continues to receive from our graduates and community partners.”
Volunteer leadership plays a key role in the campaign’s success. Jerry Jacobs, Class of 1960, chairman of the UB Council, and his wife, Peggy, honorary campaign co-chairs, shared, “Our family has been part of the University at Buffalo community for more than 50 years. The impact that the ‘Boldly Buffalo’ campaign has had on UB to date has been simply remarkable. We thank everyone who has contributed so meaningfully to UB’s rise.”
Beyond dollars raised, the campaign has achieved other important objectives, including opportunities for UB graduates to reconnect with each other and the university. Since fiscal year 2014, more than 95,000 alumni worldwide have engaged with the university, through volunteerism, young alumni gatherings, mentorship programs, community service activities, UB Bulls watch parties, virtual events and webinars, as well as new programs like "Winter College in Florida” and a virtual Alumni Academy.
“We have been so inspired by the UB alumni and friends we have met, each with their own story to tell about how UB made a difference in their lives,” said campaign co-chairs and UB graduates Dan (MD, ’99 and BA, ’95) and Gail Alexander (BS, ’87). “As we embark on this next chapter in this historic campaign for one of the nation’s great public universities, we are excited to hear even more accounts of how a UB education can help to transform the world.”
The campaign has inspired donors all over the world, including supporters Nikki and Callum McKeefery, who made a $1 million gift despite not being graduates. Their son, Hudson, suffers from a rare disorder, FDXR genetic mutation. The couple, who reside in the U.K., learned Taosheng Huang, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the division of genetics in the department of pediatrics at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, is the nation’s leading expert in the study and treatment of the disorder.
“The best way for us to help our son, and other families like ours, is to support Dr. Huang and the science. He is our main source of hope,” Nikki McKeefery said.
“We feel a great sense of gratitude to the university, because our educations there made such a huge difference in our lives,” said Scott Stevens (BS, ’79).
He and his wife, Coleen (BS, ’79), serve on the ‘Boldly Buffalo’ campaign committee and recently established The Scott and Coleen Stevens Chair in Engineering Sustainability in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
“We learned to communicate; we learned to problem-solve; we learned who we were in the world – and that shaped our lives to this very day,” Scott Stevens said.
Achieving the goals of the “Boldly Buffalo” campaign will enable UB to respond to new challenges and opportunities that arise in higher education and beyond.
“Extending the campaign gives the university the opportunity to launch new initiatives, bolster distinctive programs and update facilities,” Grabowski said. “From expanding our role as a leader in interdisciplinary education; to amplifying diversity, equity and inclusion efforts; to reviving Buffalo’s vibrant art scene; UB will continue to be a world-class destination for education, knowledge generation and service.”
More about 'Boldly Buffalo'
Donors and alumni are supporting and improving every facet of life at UB. Read more about the campaign, as well as some of the remarkable donor stories and the inspiring work their gifts support, at buffalo.edu/campaign.