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D e a n S e n e c a , B A ’ 9 0 | T a m a r a B r o w n , ME ’ 0 3 | G r e g o r y M i c h a e l i d i s , MA ’ 9 4 & B A ’ 9 2

spring 2013

a p u b l i c at i o n o f t h e u n i v e r s i t y at b u f fa l o a l u m n i a s s o c i at i o n

Bon appétit!

newly opened Crossroads Culinary Center serves up a whole new take on dining in the dorms



Hayes Hall Redux

Photo by Douglas LeverE, BA ’89

The original granite block walls, timber frame and window lintels are visible from the fourth floor of historic Hayes Hall on the South Campus. The space has been hollowed out to make room for a secondary stairwell in the building’s north wing. Home to the School of Architecture and Planning, Hayes was erected in 1874 as part of the Erie County Almshouse. Its makeover is part of a $50.5 million comprehensive restoration of the school’s facilities in Hayes and Crosby halls that will preserve the exteriors of these iconic structures, make them more efficient and sustainable, and reimagine their interior spaces to create opportunities for interactive learning. The Hayes phase of the restoration is slated for completion in August 2014.

a publication of the universit y at buffalo On the cover: Chef Seth Williams of UB’s Crossroads Culinary Center presents grilled scallop tostada with corn and black bean salsa, finished with an avocado cream sauce, the evening’s premier menu choice on Monday, Feb. 11. Photo by Douglas Levere, BA ’89

Cooking is king

alumni association

spring 2013



Campus culinary center reveals dramatic changes in the way students dine, not to mention the array of gastronomic choices



Provost Charles Zukoski reflects on profound changes in the delivery of higher education, and how UB plans to address the future

Science in the Arctic 28 Geology professor investigates glaciers and other phenomena at the top of the world, opening up new vistas for his students Online exclusive

Startup savvy


Young entrepreneurs share what it was like to launch successful companies or social enterprises while still UB students

Thinking local Buffalo First founder Amy Kedron, JD ’08 & BA ’99, starts with her hometown in efforts to support Main

alumni profiles

Dean Seneca, BA ’90


Street America

Senior health scientist with the CDC

Tom Occhino, BS ’07


Engineer at Facebook

icon legend

Tamara Brown, ME ’03


Founder of Tech Savvy for young girls

Gregory Michaelidis, MA ’94 & BA ’92

More photos online


Speechwriter for Janet Napolitano

Video/multimedia online Alumni Association member

D e pa r t m e n t s


More content online

UB websites


Seen Read Heard




Alumni News


In my opinion

48 UB social media channels

Reachi ng ot he rs

Spring 2013, Vol. 30, No. 2 UB Today is published twice annually by the UB Alumni Association, in cooperation with the Office of University Communications, Division of University Life and Services, and the Office of Alumni Relations, Division of Development and Alumni Relations. Standard rate postage paid at Buffalo, New York. Editor Ann Whitcher-Gentzke, Art Director Rebecca Farnham, Production Coordinator Cynthia Todd-Flick, Alumni News Director Barbara A. Byers, Development News Director Ann R. Brown, Class Notes Editor Marcene Robinson DIVISION OF DEVELOPMENT AND ALUMNI RELATIONS Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Nancy L. Wells Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Jay R. Friedman, EdM ’00 & BA ’86 Associate Directors Nancy Battaglia, MBA ’96 & BS ’89; Barbara A. Byers; Michael L. Jankowski; Erin Lawless; Andrew Wilcox Assistant Directors Gina Cali-Misterkiewicz, MA ’05; Kristen M. Murphy, BA ’96; Patricia A. Starr DIVISION OF UNIVERSITY LIFE AND SERVICES Vice President for University Life and Services Dennis R. Black, JD ’81 Associate Vice President for University Communications Joseph A. Brennan, PhD ’96 & MA ’88 Associate Vice President for Marketing, Web and Creative Communications Jeffrey N. Smith UB Today editorial offices are located at 330 Crofts Hall, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14260. Telephone: (716) 645-6969; Fax: (716) 645-3765; e-mail: UB Today welcomes inquiries, but accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, artwork or photographs. 13-ALR-001


from the

Campus renewal merits alumni support I complete my tenure as your UB Alumni Association president, I can’t help but be amazed at what an exciting time it is to be part of the UB community! I know that my successor, Carol Gloff, BS ’75, will share in this positive energy as she stewards the UBAA for the next two years. So much of what is happening in Buffalo and Western New York in an economic sense has been spearheaded by our university’s UB 2020 plan. Complementing our plans for a new medical school, the level of interest and investment among research, health care and commercial sectors around the downtown medical campus is unprecedented and has our entire region buzzing. It truly feels like the Buffalo Renaissance has begun. The same feeling of revival has also been experienced on campus. In just over a year, UB has opened six major facilities on our three campuses. And our team of incredible faculty is growing in number, as we prepare for more students, new course offerings and continued growth in research. During this exciting time when we are realizing UB 2020, I’d like to offer some suggestions on what you, as a UB alumnus, can do to help the university realize its full potential: Advocate for UB. Be sure your family, friends and colleagues know that you are “true blue.” The value of our degrees increases with UB’s success. Connect the right people with our university. Direct talented and highachieving students to UB. And continue to exude your UB pride. Volunteer. Participate in alumni and university events, whether in Buffalo, across the country or abroad. As you do so, network with your fellow alumni or mentor some UB students. Give. Support your university financially as we help UB to reach its goals. In closing, let me say it has been a pleasure to serve you as president of the UBAA. Thank you for all that you do.

Tim Lafferty, BS ’86 President, UB Alumni Association

Look for the alumni association members asterisk throughout the magazine. It’s our way of celebrating our alumni association members.

2 UBTODAY Spring 2013

from the

president Lending a helping hand in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy Nursing students and faculty set up a medical relief area at the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility in Yaphank, N.Y., assisting with caregiving. First row: Caitlin McKinnon, Noelle Zinn, Lindsay Conway. Second row: Jennifer Netter, Priscilla Lau, Katie Crudele, Michelle Secrist. Joann Sands, clinical instructor of nursing, is in flowered scrubs.

THIS past November, I had the honor of delivering my first State of the University address, reflecting on our shared vision for the future as we position UB for even greater leadership and impact as a premier research university. I remarked that as we pursue this ambitious vision, we need to think collaboratively and holistically about our priorities, and we need to focus on what unites us under a common purpose. That purpose is really very simple—it is to make the world around us a better place through our ideas, our discoveries and our contributions. Our extended university family is spread out across the nation and around the world. Moreover, our family spans multiple generations and many continents. We represent a rich and wonderful diversity of interests, backgrounds, perspectives and expertise. And we are all UB. Over the course of the past year, we have had many reminders—both sobering and uplifting—of the profound importance of our connectedness with the world around us, and of the shared ties that bind us across time and distance. Together, we have mourned with the rest of the nation over the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. We have joined the global community in facing widespread challenges like military conflict, economic hardship and depleted natural resources. And we have also celebrated far happier moments with friends and colleagues around the world, such as the revolutionary breakthrough in the search for the Higgs boson subatomic particle, in which several UB physicists have played a role. (See article on p. 7.) Throughout the course of these events, our faculty continue to lend their voices and intellectual leadership to help guide the global conversation about the issues and concerns shaping our 21st-century world. And our scholars, students and alumni play an active leadership role in responding to them. One profound example is provided by the Hurricane Sandy disaster, whose effects continue to be felt even as I write this message. UB is home to approximately 5,100 students from New York City, Long Island and New Jersey, as well as thousands of alumni who reside in these areas. Many of these alumni, students and their families have been impacted by the disaster. In the wake of the superstorm, our UB community worldwide came together in solidarity and support for those dealing with its aftermath. For example, a group of UB nursing students and faculty traveled to Long Island to help care for those impacted by the disaster. Among other volunteer efforts, UB worked with the American Red Cross to organize blood drives and to distribute food, clothing and other items to those in need. All of these efforts are an outstanding example of our UB family’s deep engagement in our broader communities—locally as well as globally. As alumni, you play a vital role in sustaining this impact. Thank you, as always, for all that you do in support of UB’s contributions to the public good.

The community of UB extends across time and circumstances

Satish K. Tripathi, President UBTODAY Spring 2013


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UB poetry Collection

Acad e m i c i n s i g h ts , b r e a k i n g r e s e a r c h , U B p e o p l e a n d u n i v e r s i ty n e w s

Photograph by Jonathan Reichert of Robert Frost (left) and Victor E. Reichert at the Reicherts’ home in Cincinnati, circa 1960.


Robert Frost collection given to UB A rare collection of letters, audio files, photographs and other materials pertaining to the famed American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963) is being made available to the public for the first time.

The collection—to be permanently housed within the Poetry Collection of the University Libraries—chronicles a 24-year friendship between Frost and Victor E. Reichert, a Cincinnati rabbi who summered with Frost in Vermont. It was kept in the Buffalo home of the rabbi’s son, Jonathan Reichert, UB professor emeritus of physics, who has given

this valuable and inspirational collection to UB. Scholars say the materials—officially called the Victor E. Reichert Robert Frost Collection—could provide an important, missing link between Frost’s poetry and his view of religion, which has been the subject of debate for decades. Frost kept regular correspondence with many, but Victor Reichert

(1897-1990) was among a dozen or so people in his inner circle, says Carole Thompson, founder and director of the Robert Frost Stone House Museum in Shaftsbury, Vt. The two met in 1939, when Victor’s wife, Louise, insisted they attend a Frost reading in Cincinnati. Frost invited the Reichert family to Ripton, Vt., but it would be several years

before they made the trip because of World War II. Growing up, Jonathan Reichert also knew Frost. “I wanted the friendship of my father with Frost to be part of history,” Reichert told The Buffalo News of his gift.

For the latest in campus news reports go to U NIVER S I T Y NEW S

Kiplinger’s ups UB’s ‘best value’ ranking UB’s standing among colleges that provide a quality education at an affordable price continues to climb, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. The university ranks 33rd in the magazine’s 2013 list of the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges. UB ranked 38th last year, 46th in 2011 and 70th in 2010. Kiplinger’s ranks institutions based on SAT or ACT scores, admission and retention rates, student-faculty ratios, and graduation rates, as well as financial aid and student debt upon graduation. Measures of academic quality carry more weight than measures of affordability. UB’s score improved “thanks to its high four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid, a low sticker price and overall great value,” according to Kiplinger’s. UBTODAY Spring 2013





Professor has role in ‘Lincoln’ Actor and director Stephen McKinley Henderson, UB professor of theater and dance who has had several prominent roles in film, television and stage, appears as William Slade, the president’s trusted manservant, in Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed 2012 film “Lincoln.” Henderson says that everyone on set knew that

“Lincoln” was “mission work” and a very special project. He, too, was drawn into star Daniel Day

Lewis’ practice of remaining in character during the making of a film.

Douglas Levere, BA ’89

“He always addressed me as ‘Mr. Slade’ while on set and I always called him “Mr. President,’” Henderson says. “Even small talk was conducted in character, so when Lewis asked me how I found the weather that day, he meant the weather in Virginia on a particular date in 1864!

Dollhouses climb up wall of Dennis Maher’s dining room.

columns, staircases and railings—all miniature—crawl across bookshelves in a library. A few rooms down, pipes from a wooden organ fall from the ceiling and rise from the floor, recalling stalagmites and stalactites in the natural world.


City rises inside a home If it were possible to capture the soul of a city inside a single home, it might look something like the house that

Dennis Maher has spent the past three years refurbishing on Buffalo’s West Side. In

the dining room, a city is rising. A panoply of dollhouses climbs up one wall, sheltering curios like model churches, miniature barns, vintage train sets and shovelwielding construction worker figurines.

Maher, a clinical assistant professor of architecture in the School of Architecture and Planning, scours flea markets, thrift stores, estate sales and demolition sites for discarded treasures. He then combines these items to create new worlds inside his Fargo Avenue home.

Upstairs, more imaginary landscapes are taking shape. Greek

In doing so, he transformed this once-dilapidated structure into

Source: UB Office of Institutional Analysis


Land purchased for medical school The university has purchased land at 960 Washington St. in downtown Buffalo, the first of several parcels it is assembling to make way for construction of the new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “In moving our medical school downtown, where it will be ideally aligned with local hospitals and other key life sciences partners, UB is staying true to our roots in more ways than one,” President Satish K. Tripathi said when the purchase was announced in November 2012. The $375 million project, funded in part by NYSUNY 2020 legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, is a key component of the UB 2020 plan for academic excellence.

Undergraduate students

College of Arts and Sciences (UB’s largest academic unit)

Total enrollment

6 UBTODAY Spring 2013

“Many of the objects that I collect are house-like: bird cages, jewelry boxes, dollhouses, things that seem to suggest shelter or enclosure,” Maher says. “They get absorbed into the walls and start creating fictitious cityscapes, unknown structures that inspire the imagination. I love the idea of a secret box that promulgates other openings, that acts as a catalyst for creativity.”


Henderson’s other recent roles include Solomon Hancock, the pivotal deep-throat character in the popular 2012 HBO series “Newsroom,” directed by Aaron Sorkin.

19,506 9,778 28,952 9,446

U B by the numbe r s

student enrollment fall 2012

a center for the urban imagination—a house that mirrors the idea of a city and inspires other artists to embark on urban-themed endeavors.

“The whole thing was a wonderful experience,” Henderson adds. “There is no downside to working with Spielberg or Tony Kushner, who wrote the screenplay. In fact, I’ve known Tony for a couple of years, and he’s the one who recommended me for the role of Slade.”

Graduate and professional students

HiggsFest celebrates physics discovery

Douglas Levere, BA ’89

In December 2012, the physics department held a “HiggsFest” to celebrate the find and explain its significance. Organizers included the five UB physicists who contributed to the study of the particle, Ia Iashvili, Avto Kharchilava, Sal Rappoccio, Dejan Stojkovic and Doreen Wackeroth. The Higgs boson is a crucial piece of the Standard Model of particle physics, which physicists use to describe how the world around us works. As Rappoccio explains, “Without something like

a large piece of the puzzle for existence.” For many years, the Higgs was the only particle in the Standard Model that researchers were unable to observe. That changed this past summer when scientists with the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful proton smasher, reported seeing a particle that looked tantalizingly like the Higgs. At a conference in Japan in December 2012, experts presented further evidence that the particle was indeed the long sought-after boson. Kharchilava and Iashvili were among the scientists who planned and built the Large Hadron Collider’s Compact Muon Solenoid detector (CMS), which researchers used in the search for the Higgs. Iashvili was one of two scientists in charge of jet energy scale calibration, a process critical to the CMS project’s ability to identify the Higgs boson. Rappoccio also was a part of the calibration team.

Avto Kharchilava (left) and Ia Iashvili


Mobile dental unit unveiled

The School of Dental Medicine has unveiled its state-of-the-art, mobile dental unit (MDU) “S-miles To Go” to address the oral health care needs of children in Chautauqua County. Constructed by LifeLine Mobile, the “S-miles To Go” dental van is a 42-foot-long, three-chair dental clinic built on a semi-trailer chassis. The new unit features a wheelchair lift, a panoramic X-ray unit, digital radiography, an intake/education area and electronic patient records. Chautauqua County is designated a Dental Health Professional Shortage Area, with few dentists serving Medicaid-eligible patients.


Alum receives nation’s highest technology award Norman R. McCombs, BS ’68, who developed an oxygen production system that spawned a billion dollar industry and helped ease the pain of millions suffering from lung diseases, was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the U.S. government’s highest honor for technological achievement. McCombs received the medal from President Barack Obama during a Feb. 1 ceremony at the White House. Obama described McCombs and other medal winners as representing “the ingenuity and

imagination that has long made this nation great—and they remind

us of the enormous impact a few good ideas can have when these creative qualities are unleashed in an entrepreneurial environment.” McCombs, senior vice president of research and development at Amherst-based AirSep Corp., helped develop in the 1960s a new way to separate gases. Called Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA), the method uses synthetic zeolites (a type of mineral) that act as a molecular sieve to collect targeted gases. PSA technology has been used to improve safety and efficiency in numerous industries. McCombs was first to develop a PSA system

McCombs with Obama

that produced oxygen. The device, called an oxygen concentrator, is primarily used to treat people suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Today, there are approximately 1.2 million oxygen concentrators in the U.S. UBTODAY Spring 2013


Douglas Levere, BA ’89

UB physicists were among the scientists who hunted for the elusive Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that could help explain why objects have mass. Discovery of the Higgs boson in July 2012 made headlines around the world, with news outlets from CNN to Bloomberg and Scientific American reporting on the achievement.

this particle, electrons don’t have mass, so there are no atoms and there’s no life. This is






Drug may relieve severe morning sickness



Douglas Levere, BA ’89

Good news may be on the horizon for women who are stricken with severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, thanks to UB research on a drug that shows success in treating this condition.

Libraries go to the dogs

Dogs, dogs and more dogs were the main attraction at the Stress Relief Days event held during finals week in December 2012 at Lockwood and Health Sciences libraries. Pamela Rose, coordinator of Web services and library promotion in the Health Sciences Library, worked with Therapy Animals of Western New York and the SPCA’s Paws for Love program to bring 20 dogs on campus for the popular three-day event. Stress Relief Days offers students a way to ease tension during what is arguably the most anxiety-producing time of the semester. In addition to dogs and coffee and snacks, students could get a chair massage or take part in a reflexology/ reiki session.

Thomas Guttuso Jr., assistant professor of neurology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been studying the drug gabapentin, an anti-seizure and anti-pain drug that he previously studied in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. “I became interested in this drug for hyperemesis gravidarum [the extreme form of morning sickness experienced by the Duchess of Cambridge] because I saw how effective it appeared to be in treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in patients who had failed treatment with conventional antiemetics,” says Guttuso. Antiemetics are drugs currently approved for treating nausea and vomiting.

of an open-label pilot study that enrolled seven women from Western New York examining the drug’s safety, tolerability and effectiveness in treating hyperemesis gravidarum. None of the women had seen any improvement on any other antiemetic medications they had tried, Gattuso says. “But

when they started with gabapentin, all of them showed a dramatic improvement.” After

two weeks of gabapentin therapy, the seven women experienced an average 80 percent reduction in their nausea and a 94 percent reduction in their vomiting, and near normal levels of eating and drinking. Although the results of the small pilot study were very encouraging, Guttuso emphasizes that a placebo-controlled study among many more patients needs to be conducted to know if gabapentin truly is effective for hyperemesis gravidarum.

UB recently launched a newly enhanced mobile app to find out everything you need to know about your alma mater anytime, anywhere. Versions are available for the iPhone and Android markets. Go to to learn more.

In 2010, he published in the journal Early Human Development the results

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the famed Russian poet, film director, actor and photographer, was on campus for several public events, Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, 2012. The 79-year-old artist is widely known for his criticism of Soviet bureaucracy. His most famous work, the provocative poem “Babi Yar,” helped expose Soviet and international anti-Semitism. Yevtushenko held an open discussion with students on Nov. 1, and that evening, approximately 500 people heard him recite his poetry.

8 UBTODAY Spring 2013

SpaceVision 2012 SpaceVision 2012, the nation’s largest student-run space conference, drew a wide variety of space enthusiasts to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center over a busy weekend in November 2012. There were astronauts and engineers. There were NASA research center directors. There were executives from companies like Planetary Resources, which wants to mine asteroids; and Virgin Galactic, which plans to launch tourists into space. UB’s chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) hosted the event, which attracted about 300 people from across the country and served as SEDS’ annual U.S. convention.


Preventing recurrent ear infections

Erin Holko

While infants and children receive immunizations against ear infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae and pneumococcus, there is no vaccine against Moraxella catarrhalis, an increas-

ingly prevalent bacterium that causes at least 10 percent of otitis media—or middle-ear infection—cases. Now, scientists at UB, among a handful of researchers in the world studying this organism, have received a $1.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to develop a vaccine against it. The goal of the current research, funded by the

NIH’s National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, is to identify new virulence mechanisms for this understudied pathogen, identify the structure of a candidate antigen for a new vaccine and develop a vaccine. Research on M. catarrhalis has lagged because it was originally believed to be a “commensal” or harmless bacterium, explains Timothy F. Murphy, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Microbiology and principal investigator on the NIH grant. While it does cause milder cases of otitis media than other bacteria, Murphy says it is becoming more prevalent. The goal of the UB researchers is to identify M. catarrhalis antigens that are very similar among all strains so that a vaccine based on a single antigen will protect against as many strains of the bacterium as possible. “Based on

our results thus far, it looks like we will be able to identify antigens that are identical or very similar among all strains and genetic lineages,” says Murphy. UBTODAY Spring 2013


10 UBTODAY Spring 2013


Parole Board, Kirkland has been a community activist, adjunct professor and newspaper columnist. (Xlibris, 2012)


boo k s , m us i c a n d f i l m s by U B a l u m n i

Books Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union Louis P. Masur, BA ’78

“Lincoln’s Hundred Days” is the first book to tell the full story of the critical period between Sept. 22, 1862, when Lincoln issued his preliminary proclamation, and Jan. 1, 1863, when he signed the final, significantly altered decree. The author is professor of American studies and history at Rutgers University. (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012)

The Corruption of Michael Levitt Joel Levine, BA ’63

Harvard Law School graduate Joel Levine offers a novel about a bright but naïve lawyer who, while trying to make it in the world, is gradually corrupted by a universe populated by flawed characters and aberrant behavior. (Joel Levine, 2012)

Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology Jeff Yang, Parry Shen, BS ’95, Keith Chow and Jerry Ma

The team that produced a groundbreaking Asian-American comics anthology in 2009 is back with a new volume that includes edgier genres. As with the first book,

“Shattered” seeks to subvert stereotypes that have obscured Asian identities since the earliest days of immigration to the U.S. Parry Shen, best known for his role in the movie “Better Luck Tomorrow,” lives in Southern California. (The New Press, 2012)

Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality William Irwin, PhD ’96

Drawing on the works of Plato, Aristotle, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, “Black Sabbath and Philosophy” discusses and debates topics and themes that tell us more about Black Sabbath, why the band created the sound it did, and what lies hidden in its music and lyrics. Editor Irwin is professor of philosophy at King’s College in Pennsylvania. (Wiley, 2012)

Shadows of Men Kevin Grauke, PhD ’03

The fathers, sons, husbands and lovers in this debut collection of 13 stories occupy a suburban terrain where insecurity, uncertainty and inadequacy all project a disquieting shade. “Kevin Grauke’s


elegant portrayals of introspective and fragile men recall John Updike’s best work,” writes Tom Grimes, author of “Mentor: A Memoir.” Grauke teaches literature at La Salle University in Philadelphia. (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012)

99 Motivators for College Success By Perry Binder, JD ’84

The author, legal studies professor at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business, offers motivators, insightful stories and takeaways for college success. (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012)

Spirit and Soul: Odyssey of a Black Man in America, Volume One

Suspense and Anguish: Recollections of the Strong Women of Gettysburg Christina Shrewsbury, MM ’92

In time for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in July, Christina Shrewsbury narrates the previously untold story of six women who witnessed the battle or its immediate aftermath. To write the script, Shrewsbury, a voice actor and musician, researched contemporaneous accounts maintained by the Adams County Historical Society in Gettysburg. Available through the Gettysburg Visitors Centers and at (Christina Shrewsbury, 2013)

Music Whatever It Is I’m Against It Jim Wake, MA ’76

Theodore Kirkland, MS ’84 & BA ’76

“Spirit and Soul” is Theodore Kirkland’s memoir of his life experiences as a black man in America, enduring the hardships of racism and inequality, from an early age until 1978. A former member of the New York State

This is the third CD from Jim Wake & Sleepwalker. Lead singer Wake lives in the Netherlands. It features 14 original songs with a blend CD Baby describes as “stripped down blues, rough-edged rock and roll, slightly ragged rhythm and blues, and twangy stuff you wouldn’t dare call country.” (CD Baby, 2012)

For more books and submission guidelines go to

Campus book club chooses student memoir Jess Goodell, a former U.S. Marine Corps officer and current UB student, is author (with John Hearn) of “Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq,” a memoir of her work volunteering in the Marine Corps’ mortuary affairs unit in Iraq. Termed “a courageous settling of accounts” by Publishers Weekly, the book is the spring 2013 selection for the University Life Book Club, which is sponsored by UB’s Division of University Life and Services. (Casemate Publishers, 2011) UBTODAY Spring 2013




t h e l at e st at h l e t i c n e w s f r o m t h e bu l l s

at h l e t i c s

In case you haven’t heard by now, Danny White is on a mission to bring big-time college athletics to Western New York. Since the start of the academic year, White has used several speaking engagements to share with members of the UB community and beyond his vision for UB athletics. White has been working on this since being named athletic director in May 2012, taking over for Warde Manuel, now the AD at the University of Connecticut. White sees the Bulls earning mentions alongside such stalwarts as Louisville and Boise State—two programs that, White notes, have changed their national profiles in the modern era of college athletics.

12 UBTODAY Spring 2013


In the Nick-ell of time Wherever Lee Nickell goes, success follows. Nickell played number one singles from 1998 to 2002 at Furman University, where he was coached by Paul Scarpa, the all-time winningest coach in Division I men’s tennis history. After playing, Nickell served as an assistant coach at Alabama, helping to guide that program to an impressive turnaround that saw the Crimson Tide Nickell make the Sweet 16 in 2006. Next, Nickell coached alongside Buffalo native Jay Udwadia at Fresno State, which ranked 44th in the nation after the 2008-09 season. Nickell has continued that success at UB, as the men’s tennis program continues to raise its profile since he was hired as head coach in 2009. Success

Paul Hokanson

Douglas Levere, BA ’89

Bringing the Big Time

Both institutions also happen to be smaller than UB. “UB has more potential than any athletic department in America. I firmly believe it. The statistics are there. It can happen very quickly,” White said during a campus speaking engagement in January. UB has a large alumni base, particularly in the Buffalo Niagara region, and it has a bigger budget and larger enrollment figures than Louisville and Boise State. What it lacks—for now—is wider support from the local community. White plans to change that, and the epicenter of this change is UB Stadium. In addition to presentations around campus, White has taken to social media to spread the word. “Building a field house at UB Stadium is critical as we bring big-time college athletics to Western New York and our over 100K alumni across New York State,” White said on his Twitter account (@UBDannyWhite) just after 5:30 one January morning. White plans on spearheading projects to obtain funding for a field house and enhancing UB Stadium with lucrative amenities, like premium seating. “It [doesn’t] have to take 20 to 30 years,” White says. “Louisville took only eight years to get invited to the Big East [Conference].” Facility improvements are critical if UB hopes to engage more support from the local community, White contends. If all goes accordingly, the next several years could see the rise of an exciting new era in athletics at UB.

Felisha Legette-Jack is enjoying early success in her first year as women’s basketball head coach. The Bulls rolled to a 3-0 record in MAC play early in the 2012-13 season with consecutive wins over Ohio, Kent State and Toledo. It was the program’s best league start since joining the conference in 1998-99. LegetteJack joined UB from Indiana University. During her six years as Hoosiers head coach, Legette-Jack led IU to three Legette-jack postseason appearances. In 2008-09, Indiana won a program record-tying 21 games. This season’s Bulls have been led by a pair of freshmen, Rachael Gregory (10.7 points per game) and Mackenzie Loesing (10.6 per game).

Inductees into the 2013 Dr. and Mrs. Edmond J. Gicewicz Family UB Athletics Hall of Fame in Alumni Arena have been announced. This year’s honorees will be recognized at an event on April 19.

Inductees Stacey M. (Evans) Hayes, BS ’05 Management Softball

John J. Kaminska, BA ’77 Health Science Baseball/hockey Jennifer E. Koeppel-Acker, EDM ’07 Mathematics Education; BA ’05 Mathematics Track/cross-country


Joseph J. Mihalics Jr., BA ’06 History Baseball

Mack is coming back Don’t be surprised if there’s a drop in interest at the running back position around the MAC this coming fall. Khalil Mack will be back in a Bulls uniform for his senior season. The Fort Pierce, Fla., native announced in January that he will return for his final season. Ranked among the top linebackers in the nation, Mack could have left a year early and entered the NFL draft. Instead, he chose to return and earn his college degree. “The expectations here are to graduate and compete for championships,” he says. A two-time Allmack MAC first team selection, Mack holds school records for forced fumbles (11) and tackles for a loss—he has 56, which is 19 shy of the career NCAA record. Compiled by David J. Hill, a staff writer in UB’s Office of University Communications

Devon W. (Russell) Minocchi, BA ’04 Communication Women’s soccer Paul Hokanson

UB Athletics announced in January the creation of the “Legends of the Hardwood” series to honor UB’s greatest basketball players. On Jan. 26, Brenna Doty Rousseau, BS ’98, had her No. 31 jersey honored in Alumni doty rousseau Arena before the women’s game against Western Michigan. Doty Rousseau ranks second all-time at UB with 1,703 career points (14.7 per game) and holds the record for career three-pointers (296). During the 1996-97 season, Doty Rousseau led the nation with 3.5 three-pointers per game. A three-time UB Female Athlete of the Year, Doty Rousseau was inducted into the Dr. and Mrs. Edmond J. Gicewicz Family UB Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.

Bulls roll to historic MAC start


UB honoring ‘Legends of the Hardwood’




Paul Hokanson

began immediately as the Bulls went undefeated in the MAC while earning a top seed in the league championship tournament, as well as national rankings for several Bulls—all during Nickell’s first season. He was named MAC coach of the year in 2010. As he readied the Bulls for the spring 2013 season, Nickell was particularly excited about a quartet of promising international student-athletes, including Pablo Alvarez and Sergio Arevalillo, both freshmen from Madrid, Spain. Alvarez was the 13th-ranked junior singles player in Spain, while Arevalillo is also a top 25 player in that country. Sophomore Sebastian Ionescu, a transfer from Arizona, was a national champion in his native Romania. Sophomore Damien David, of Montreal, was the MAC’s rookie of the year last season. Senior Vusa Hove, of Harare, Zimbabwe, ranked 123rd in the nation heading into the spring campaign and 14th in the Northeast Region. Sixteen of the top 20 players in the Northeast hail from Ivy League schools. “We’ve got a really good core of players,” Nickell says. Nickell’s ultimate goals are to win the MAC Tournament title and crack the top 50 in the national rankings. “It’s an ambitious goal, but we certainly have the ability to win the tournament,” he says.

Distinguished Alumni Awards Robert P. Barczak, EDM ’64 Higher Education; EDB ’61 Physical Education High school administrator/ coach James M. Militello, BA ’79 Psychology Sportscaster/reporter, Associated Press

For updates on all team schedules, news and tickets go to UBTODAY Spring 2013


Photos by Douglas Levere, BA ’89, and steve morse

A new culinary center reveals a dramatic evolution in campus dining, where students have huge choices in what they eat


Be our guest! story By bert gambini

he chef hired for the wokery station in UB’s Crossroads Culinary Center (C3) toured the new dining facility with Jeff Brady, executive director of Campus Dining and Shops, a few weeks before its official opening. Seasonings, spices and sauces filled the fully stocked pantry. The chef, walking into the kitchen, reached for one of the items and looked suspiciously at the contents in the clear glass bottle. “Who do you want to use this?” he asked Brady. “This is [about] authentic cuisine. I make my own sauces.” Brett Gleason (top left), Chef Seth Williams (top right) and Derrick Calloway (lower left) prepare and present mouth-watering culinary fare. UBTODAY Spring 2013


Comfortable fireside seating greets students near the entrance of UB’s new Crossroads Culinary Center.

Brady knew immediately that his decision to hire Steven Chin had been validated. “We’re going to love having you here,” he told Chin. An Asian restaurant seems a more likely setting for that scene than a university dining center. But campus dining has changed considerably in the past 20 years, with a sweeping evolution happening in the past five years. For many years, university dining meant institutional dining, a business model that was plugged into any establishment that needed to feed large predefined populations. There wasn’t much difference between the menus in public schools and state penitentiaries. In fact, it could be argued that the threat of an inmate revolt led some prison personnel to develop more sophisticated menus than those offered to the nation’s school kids, who could do little more than grumble about the oddly elastic pasta. “There was no input from the stakeholder,” says Brady. “Absolutely none.” Even the old service routine had a distasteful familiarity: Patrons pushed fiberglass trays, some still perspiring from a trip through the dishwasher, along stainless steel rails. A food service worker, usually the iconic American lunch lady, plopped down the main course, followed by the sides—a starch, vegetable and salad—each time striking a serving spoon against the plate to produce a sound as metallic as the

16 UBTODAY Spring 2013

taste of the green beans. “The integrity of that food was certainly in question,” Brady says dryly. Unfortunately, the food offered on one specific day would come back again like a scratch across a record album. Customers wondering about the meat offered on Monday (the kitchen staff was never more specific than identifying earth as the entrée’s place of origin) would be asking the same questions a week later. But today, the old cafeteria concept and its pallid offerings are relics. University dining is now about celebrating culture, offering variety and respecting authenticity— and UB is a university leader, with creative presentations, comfortable settings and a customer-centered approach that has transformed student dining into a quality restaurant experience.

Changed expectations

University dining has changed largely because students have changed. “Their expectations are different today,” says Brady. “Going to college is a social experience, and sitting down with friends to eat a meal is a big part of that.” Ray Kohl, marketing manager for Campus Dining and Shops, adds that students today are also much better educated about food. “Cooking shows and television networks dedicated to food and food preparation have introduced concepts and possibilities

that students didn’t know about years ago,” he says. Kohl says the dynamic of home life has changed as well. Sitting down for a family dinner is no longer common. Students are used to eating in restaurants and they have usually visited enough of them to make informed judgments about their quality. That background presents operators with challenges to present certain foods. Brady and Kohl say students want to craft their own dishes, their own way. But customers also want to see their food being prepared. Part of this desire stems, again, from mass media. Television and social media sites have combined food with showmanship. Cooking has become part performance, and all the food at Crossroads Culinary Center is prepared fresh in front of the guest. At C3, vegetables dance in a skillet with colors as vibrant as the chef’s action behind the stove. The carving stations offer selections pulled only minutes earlier from a rotisserie. The cook’s knife strokes take slices from the cutting board to the guest’s plate with choreographed precision. UB also has a large international student population—15 percent of total enrollment—and is among the country’s most internationalized universities. The food choices available on campus not only represent this multicultural population but also inspire a sense of adventure. Students are now willing to try new dishes and

expect choices to be available. On any given day they can move from Asian to Italian to Moroccan dishes and more. But honoring different cultures goes beyond geography and ethnicity, Kohl insists. Culture also reflects eating habits and dietary restrictions. “We understand the need to address matters such as food allergies and food intolerances. We have a nutritionist on staff to assist those students.” In fact, C3 has gluten-free offerings, and a vegetarian station creates not only side dishes but also a vegetarian main course. “We provide nutritional information for all of our dishes online,” says Kohl. “Students can input their menu selections and the site provides the details. We even have a kiosk designed for this specific purpose in William R. Greiner Hall, one of the residence halls on campus.” UB students clearly like the choices. “Our missed meal factor is 12 percent, compared to other universities where students miss on average between 30 to 40 percent of their meals each semester,” says Brady. “Customer satisfaction is at an all-time high.”

Marché dining

UB’s Campus Dining and Shops features 25 locations; it purchases approximately

$6 million of food annually to serve about 17,000 people each day. The Crossroads Culinary Center, which opened in October 2012 and is the newest location, symbolizes the latest trends in university dining. The nearly $13 million C3 is an expansion and renovation of a 1970s-era dining center in the Red Jacket Quadrangle in the Ellicott Campus on the university’s North Campus. Aside from occupying a partial footprint of the previous dining center, C3 has little in common with its predecessor. C3 can seat 650 people and serves more than 2,000 people a day during the academic year. The state-of-the-art facility follows a marché concept of dining that is modeled after European open markets. The architectural plan for C3 intentionally avoided creating a single, massive dining space. From the start, C3 was about combining many unique restaurants within its space. The change from station to station is felt as the décor flows confidently from one concept to another with different lighting, different tables and elevated spaces. Visits to more than 20 award-winning university facilities across the country contributed to C3’s final design. Time spent with executive directors and chefs discussing design, flow and menu options are responsible for C3’s complete culinary experience. “This research also gave us ideas about

the atmosphere of the place. That is so critical,” says Kohl. “C3 and our other dining centers feature community seating. We offer some quieter, more private dining areas, but our general community layout encourages conversation. It brings people together and makes the meal more of a community affair.” The pace of student life and the rigors of class schedules result in a regular turnover during the breakfast hours at C3. Students rush in and quickly move out. But the evenings are more relaxed and students are in no hurry, often staying after their meal to have a cup of coffee in the facility’s fireside lounge. In addition to creating a warm and inviting environment, marché dining brings together many other goals as well, but prioritizes freshness, variety and authenticity. Chef Chin’s reaction to his original tour with Brady is one example of C3’s goal to present authentic cuisine, but several others are realized by walking through the roughly 34,000- square-foot facility. Rich Products, the food corporation whose world headquarters are in Buffalo, helped Campus Dining and Shops create a New York-style pizza for one of C3’s stations. Various recipes were developed over 60 days. Two finalists emerged, and a final choice was made by Brady and his staff after they tasted the pizza and listened to

For C3’s Frank Pirillo (above) food preparation is a joyous and colorful production artfully matched to the student palate.

“Cooking shows and television networks dedicated to food and food preparation have introduced concepts and possibilities that students didn’t know about years ago.” Ray Kohl, Marketing manager, Campus Dining and Shops UBTODAY Spring 2013


A trip down the ‘Canal’ When you’re done eating at C3, UB’s Crossroads Culinary Center, you don’t pitch your food into a trash can; you throw it in the river. The “Canal,” to be exact, is the name students have given UB’s latest earth-friendly innovation at the new Ellicott Complex dining facility. When diners finish their meals, they scrape their food waste into a 32foot stainless steel channel through which 22 gallons of recirculating water flows every minute. Plates, which are ordered from a local Buffalo china company, are placed on a separate conveyor belt to be washed, and silverware goes into one of two bins below, also to be cleaned for the next hungry customer. The Canal was designed as a “teaching opportunity” to help students reduce their post-consumer food waste. It also serves as the first step of C3’s food recycling process. On the way to their watery grave, food scraps pass along the Canal to an industrial-size garbage disposal unit, which gives the material a preliminary “chew” before it fills heavy-duty plastic buckets. Diner scrapes food waste into earthfriendly “Canal,” which also composts recycled napkins.

From there, it heads to Crossroads’ brand-new food composter—actually called a digester—to be further broken down and dried before the final product is taken across campus to UB’s main composting facility in the Statler Commissary, where it is stored as a high-quality soil amendment available to local gardeners. All of UB’s dining halls recycle their food waste using one of two digesters (Crossroads has its own). Together, they keep an estimated 675,000 pounds of organic material out of area landfills each year, according to Campus Dining and Shops (CDS). Even chicken bones and dairy can be processed now. At a “Weigh the Waste” sustainability study just after Thanksgiving, Crossroads diners discarded 391 pounds of waste during one meal. “While we’re able to collect and compost the food waste, there are many energy costs that are lost from the production, transportation, preparation and disposal of food,” explains CDS’s Ray Kohl. Students have naturally been sampling C3’s new menus, he adds, so their consumption is expected to decrease over time. Food recycling is just one part of CDS’s efforts to go green, including going trayless in 2008, replacing Styrofoam takeout containers with biodegradable materials and recycling its cooking oil into biodiesel. The Crossroads facility is LEED silver certified, meaning it was constructed using a federal environmental building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. —Lauren Newkirk Maynard

18 UBTODAY Spring 2013

customer feedback. “When we replaced what had been offered with our new personal New Yorkstyle pizza, everyone said, ‘We want this tomorrow!’” Brady recalls. The process for perfecting the pizza is emblematic of the menu design for each of C3’s seven stations, in which several months’ development and testing went into menu items. For the Italian station, for instance, staffers tested 84 different dishes before deciding on 46 for the actual menu. What isn’t developed in-house at C3 is examined through research. Brady says his staff closely studies trends, pays attention to restaurants gaining popularity, and is always talking with faculty, staff and students. “We are creative with our food, but we’re also creative with how we talk to our own customers,” says Brady. “Most trends written about in trade publications deal with what’s emerging nationally, but maybe the demand deals with a local offering, something that’s not part of the national scene. We want to be aware of that.” Furthermore, information collected anecdotally is combined with a formal survey component. The National Association for College and University Food Services annually puts out a customer-service benchmarking survey that rates locations on roughly 15 categories from quality of the food to location to hours of operation. “Our numbers have been going up every year,” says Brady. “And in our last survey we beat the national average in most of the categories surveyed.”

Seeing is believing

As television has played a role in shaping students’ expectations about food, the medium also helps C3 efficiently satisfy those expectations. Thousands of students make thousands of choices each day they walk through C3, and that process takes time. To help students decide, five large-screen digital menu boards display the day’s offerings before students even enter the facility. The televisions feature split screens, with four of the monitors displaying a live feed from some of the stations, capturing a cooking show in miniature that customers can sample once they’re inside. “Students can see what’s on the menu and how it’s being prepared,” says Brady. “This gives them a chance to decide what they want to eat before

they even enter the marché. That means that when we’re serving at capacity, there is never a line that takes longer than 15 minutes to get through.” So a student might look up at the television to see the evening’s premier entrée. “Tonight it’s stuffed lobster tail,” says Brady. The premier entrée is a made-to-order specialty at C3. Students swipe their meal card when entering in order to deduct one dinner from their meal plan. That swipe entitles them to all they care to eat at any of the stations. But the premier entrée is an option for anyone looking for something special. Students who swipe their card a second time, which can be done right at the station, can purchase the night’s premier entrée that includes specially prepared side dishes as well. Grilled jumbo shrimp, so large they have to be bent back upon themselves in order for the skewer to accommodate their heft, will be offered the following night. Simply hearing those menu items, “stuffed lobster tail” and “grilled jumbo shrimp,” is enough to conceptualize how

Large-screen digital menu boards help students choose among gastronomic possibilities.

far university dining has come from the days of cafeteria lines that moved like assembly lines. UB continues to focus on the qualities its stakeholders demand, meeting those needs in ways that more closely align with student schedules. UB’s meal plan lets students eat when they want and in whatever dining facility or shop they choose. And hours of operation have been expanded so students have more time in which they can eat their meals, up to four hours now in the case of dinner.

“We’ve even added a late-night program,” says Brady. “So students studying later in the evening can get something to eat past the dinner hour.” Brady makes it sound easy, like opening the refrigerator at home. “In some ways, it is like that,” says Brady. “We want students to feel right at home.” Or at least at home with stuffed lobster tail in the fridge. Bert Gambini is a writer and multimedia manager for University Communications. UBTODAY Spring 2013


Dean Seneca photographed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga.

Dean Seneca, BA ’90 : Senior health scientist with the CDC draws on his

American Indian heritage to address complex health issues

In Dean S. Seneca’s world, health, science and planning converge to form the ideal career path—one that draws on his heritage as a Seneca Indian. A senior health scientist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Seneca has traveled widely—to Ethiopia, Afghanistan and elsewhere—addressing critical public health issues. In Ethiopia, he served as a CDC volunteer, assisting the World Health Organization in its efforts to stop the transmission of polio. In 2009, when the H1N1 influenza pandemic hit the U.S., Seneca worked in the CDC’s Emergency Operations Center, making sure that state health officials had the latest information about the outbreak. “I was dealing with everything from concerns related to school closings, to lab analyses, to vaccinations, to accessibility of our national stockpile in getting vaccines out to people throughout the country,” Seneca recalls. In his current work with CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, Seneca strengthens the ability of national nonprofit organizations, such as the National Network of Public Health Institutes, to address complex health challenges. “Issues of poverty are still prevalent in Native American communities, but shouldn’t be,” he says. “Health is almost an entitlement, or a right, of Indian people in our country. This is based on treaties, trust responsibilities and many other things. If you’re addressing only health—and not education, economic development and the environment— you’re really just putting a Band-Aid on the larger problem.” Seneca grew up in Buffalo’s Old First Ward, which has a deeply rooted Irish ancestry. “Proud as the Lord to be born in the Ward,” he says with a chuckle. After earning a bachelor’s degree

native Leadership



in planning and environmental design from UB’s School of Architecture and Planning in 1990, Seneca landed his first job, as a data analyst for the Seneca Nation of Indians. “That experience really strengthened my passion for Indian people,” he says. Among other accomplishments, he put together a financing package so the Seneca tribe could build its first real health center. This was a time when the tribe was building its water line and before casinos were providing much-needed resources. It was during this period that Seneca stretched his interests to include public health. “I decided to combine my planning skills and training in community development with public health to create healthy environments,” he states. Seneca went on to earn two master’s degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. One is in public health and the other is in urban and regional planning. Today, Seneca is president of CDC’s American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Coalition, which serves as an advocate for matters pertaining to these Native peoples, and as a resource for CDC staff and management. He also is active with the UB Alumni Association’s Atlanta chapter and takes special pride in the formative role that his fraternity, Sigma Pi, has played in his life and career. Seneca and his fraternity brothers meet annually for a Buffalo Bills game and maintain an alumni club and listserv. “We have a very diverse group; I think that’s what makes our bond so strong,” he says. Seneca is a tireless advocate for education, in general, and public health careers, in particular, among Native peoples. “Going out and promoting education within American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities—encouraging people and pumping them up—is a joy,” he says. “In public health, you’re never going to be a millionaire. But I think that’s my million dollars, seeing the reaction on people’s faces when they cross that stage and get that degree.” Story by Ann Whitcher-Gentzke, with photo by Nick Burchell

O U T T A K E S Staying in shape Daily workouts at the gym Influential UB professors Robert G. Shibley; G. Scott Danford; the late Ibrahim Jammal of the School of Architecture and Planning; the late John Mohawk, associate professor of American studies Favorite place to study while an undergrad Top floor of Lockwood Library Proudest honor Being named a Sequoyah Fellow by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society in 2004 Last book read “Promises to Keep: Public Health Policy for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the 21st Century” by Yvette Roubideaux and Mim Dixon UBTODAY Spring 2013


The university seeks to define and capitalize on its distinctive qualities amid stiff competition and a declining pool of high school grads story By bert gambini illustration by scott bakal



in the crowd

“UB is prepared to take another big leap forward,” President Satish K. Tripathi said emphatically at his State of the University address in November 2012. Helping to guide that progress is the university’s new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, Charles F. Zukoski, a respected chemical engineer who arrived at UB last summer following an international search. Zukoski has responsibility for all things academic, and Tripathi has charged him with leading a comprehensive campus discussion to chart the institution’s course for the next decade. This initiative—dubbed “Realizing UB 2020”—comes at an opportune time: UB has emerged from several years of budget cuts and, with strong support from leaders in Albany, is poised to make great strides. The opportunity comes largely in the form of new funding resulting from the NYSUNY 2020 program, an initiative proposed by SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher and supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. UB foresees enough revenue growth to fund 250 new faculty positions, a similar number of staff and many improvements that will enhance the student experience.

Zukoski is excited about what he calls a “once-in-a-generation opportunity”— something that he thinks has come at the perfect time for the university. “Higher education in the United States is going through a radical transformation,” Zukoski observes. “We are witnessing new demands and greater challenges than at any time in the modern history of higher education.” To address these issues UB must become more distinctive, Tripathi has stated in outlining the process of Realizing UB 2020. In his November address, he elaborated on this principle, urging UB to begin “defining and maximizing our distinctive qualities as a university. “When we do this,” he added, “we will truly set ourselves apart from our peers. And we will lead with even greater impact.”

A time of challenges A declining population of young people, new ways to deliver education, international growth and flat levels of research funding are acting together to create a hyper-competitive environment for UB and other major universities across the country. These forces, coupled with uncertainties about the economy, are exerting pressures on universities to adapt and respond. The number of high school graduates in New York State is projected to decline 7 percent through 2020, from roughly 180,000 to only about 168,000 students. Similar drop-offs in the traditional collegebound population are also happening in other states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Connecticut and Massachusetts. “Every university wants to attract the best students, the high-end achievers, but the pool is getting smaller because of these changing demographics,” says Zukoski. “The challenge for us is how we’re going to convince those students to come here when they are also being pulled by other schools.”

Global forces in education Zukoski’s years in higher education, both at home and abroad, have provided a perspective on how UB can capture and create opportunities from these emerging challenges. UBTODAY Spring 2013


Impa ct of online courses

In addition to the growing global competition for talented students, Zukoski also points to the rapid rise in online courses. The phenomenon known as MOOCs—Massive Open Online Courses—has exploded onto the higher education scene in the last year. These courses are becoming wildly popular, with some enrolling as many as 100,000 students. Zukoski understands the appeal of MOOCs and believes they will have an impact in education going forward. Accordingly, UB in his view must move to understand how to use IT more effectively in

24 UBTODAY Spring 2013

W h o i s C h a r l e s Z u k o s k i Born in 1955 in Birmingham, Ala. PhD in chemical engineering, Princeton University, 1985; BS in physics, Reed College, 1977. Previously Elio Eliakim Tarika Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Vice chancellor for research at Illinois, 2002-2008. Head of the university’s Department of Chemical Engineering, 1994-2002. Named one of 100 Engineers of the Modern Era, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2008. Elected to National Academy of Engineering, 2007, for “research on the manipulation of particle interactions to alter their suspension properties, and for leadership in education.”

a pedagogical sense. Even so, the benefits of a residential education are manifold. “The ages between 18 and 22 are very important for maturity and determining how effective we’re going to be later in life,” Zukoski says. “And residential universities offer that kind of environment. There is thus a tension between increasing access through online education and personal growth experiences of traditional placebased education. “To be a successful individual is more than a matter of acquiring your detailed knowledge. You have to have the soft skills,” Zukoski adds. “The environment outside the classroom is where you develop those soft skills. How do you interact? How do you talk to people? What are the clubs [students are involved in]? What does it mean to be a leader? Where do you see yourself? You get to explore these elements at a residential university.” Moreover, says the provost, “at UB, you’re surrounded by smart students and a smart and active faculty. You’re exposed to the problems of the day and the methods for solving them. And you have interactions that foster personal growth. These are experiences that you cannot easily get online.”

Indeed, Zukoski reports, student exit polls indicate that UB is providing a rich student experience and is routinely “applauded for the programs on campus. We will need to capitalize on that,” he says. “It’s an asset. We have the right social environment and the right educational environment. Students want to come here because of the quality of the education and the quality of the extracurricular experience.” Still, he does not downplay the risk that online delivery of higher education presents for traditional “seated” universities. “Someone will come up with online educational techniques that allow students to learn online and learn well,” Zukoski continues. “When they do, companies will start hiring those graduates in larger numbers.”

Addressing cost and competition

Concerns about the cost of higher education may be one of the main reasons why students are flocking to MOOCs and other alternatives. Students can live at home, saving some of the costs of attending a residential university like UB.

Douglas Levere, BA ’89

“My experience has allowed me to learn about the broad aspects of research found at a comprehensive university,” he says. “At the same time, I have come to appreciate how universities like UB enhance the economic vitality of their communities. “We must get better and we must distinguish UB from its competitors,” Zukoski insists. “Out of the Realizing UB 2020 process will come a new and interesting way of understanding who we are as a university and the direction we should head to achieve continued success.” Zukoski is highly tuned to how global forces are shaping higher education. “Here at UB, we’re welcoming to people around the world and have built a reputation for educating people from around the world,” says Zukoski. “This confers a tremendous advantage on all of our students. They will graduate into the global economy much better prepared because they’ve learned how to interact with their peers from other nations.” Yet UB cannot take its leadership in international education for granted, Zukoski maintains. Many other nations, especially in Asia, are working to dramatically expand their own universities. Meanwhile, many other U.S. universities are working to recruit students from overseas, a reality Zukoski has witnessed firsthand. Serving as a department head at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he helped create a partnership that established a joint master’s and PhD program with the National University of Singapore. He also served six years as chairman of the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, and continues to serve as senior fellow of the agency.

While UB remains a terrific value—with tuition and fees that are well below the average among major public research universities—Zukoski acknowledges the financial worries of parents and students. “We must be mindful of our costs, and make sure that students are receiving an excellent value.” He cites UB’s “Finish in Four” guarantee as one example of how UB has responded to these concerns. The program, which Tripathi established for the freshman class entering in fall 2012, assures that students can graduate on time, thus potentially saving the costs of an extra year or two. UB has already invested some of the new revenues from NYSUNY 2020 by adding course sections. This way, students can now get the courses they need when they need to take them. “They are also guided and mentored to get through the program in four years,” Zukoski explains. “We’re offering more support to the student and driving up the impact of their time at UB. This program is in direct response to the fact we are in a highly competitive environment.” Another challenge for higher education is the fact that federal research funding will remain flat or perhaps even shrink in the next few years. Universities are competing for these scarce dollars just as they are competing for students. “You have to be excellent to win this competition,” Zukoski says. “Mediocrity will be ignored as companies fight tooth and nail to develop the best technologies and deliver the latest innovations. They need the best graduates to achieve those aims. So our research has to be top-rate, but I also see our knowledge creation as having a sharper edge. We must be excellent.”

NYS High School Graduates

Partnerships and new models The confluence of these factors is responsible for universities increasingly being asked to partner with the private sector. Historically, universities developed knowledge, educated students and conducted fundamental research. “And we did some great work in that regard,” Zukoski says. But the old models are being tweaked in response to competitive pressures, and universities are being asked to partner more with the private sector, he says. In 2002, Zukoski led such a collaboration as vice chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, motivated by his belief that the university should have more of a role in making sure public funds were improving people’s lives beyond the idea of formal education. “In the late 1990s at Illinois, we had poorly developed mechanisms for dealing with companies, and we didn’t have a good patenting and licensing office. Due to hard work over a decade, there is now a well-greased mechanism in patenting and licensing technologies coming out of the university; there’s a research park that now is contributing in a substantial way. Many companies and startups are in that park, while the community has been buoyed through the most recent recession because of those high-paying jobs.” Zukoski says it took a decade of steady effort before the surrounding community was transformed. Today, the results continue to enable new businesses to take root in the area around the University of Illinois. “At UB, we are being increasingly asked more and more to take our discoveries

and grow their value in such a way that the private sector can harvest them,” says Zukoski. He also points out the value companies get from having a major research university as a partner. “Private-sector ventures need students they can hire, and they need faculty who can come in and teach their workers. They need the research infrastructure the university can provide,” Zukoski says. Furthermore, these partnerships produce jobs and opportunities for students and community residents.” Indeed, collaboration of all sorts is now the preferred strategy. Zukoski points to UB’s Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC), which opened in September 2012, as one example. This new nine-story building in downtown Buffalo houses researchers and clinicians who work together to translate scientific discoveries into health care treatments. The CTRC shares the $291 million facility with Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute, a leader in the treatment of stroke and cardiovascular disease. “That whole building is dedicated to figuring out how to take discoveries from the basic sciences and apply them to deliver better health care,” says Zukoski. “Society wants us to realize greater returns on its research investments. Universities like UB are being asked to deliver on that.” Ultimately, Zukoski is bullish on UB’s future. “We are feeling all these competitive pressures but we have new resources that will help us to respond and to thrive,” Zukoski states. “The state has given us the opportunity to position ourselves to provide greater impact for our students and for the State of New York.” Bert Gambini is a writer for University Communications.

181,604 176,228 171,846

Projected to decline 7% through 2020


170,313 166,975


168,312 167,726

Source: Realizing UB 2020, November 2012









2020 UBTODAY Spring 2013


Tom Occhino at the Facebook campus in Palo Alto, Calif.

Tom Occhino, BS ’07 : Facebook engineer blends his social and technical skills to

produce user-friendly software for world’s largest social network

IN 2008, a year after graduating from UB with a computer engineering degree, Tom Occhino was being recruited by Facebook. He was skeptical. He had a promising career as a freelance Web developer in the Buffalo area. And he didn’t want to leave family and friends in the only place he had called home. After two phone interviews, Occhino visited the Facebook campus in Palo Alto, Calif., for a final round of interviews. He saw huge computer monitors, people riding skateboards around the building and rows of Red Bull in the kitchen. “It was the craziest environment I had ever seen,” Occhino remembers thinking. “As soon as I walked in I knew it was the right place for me.” Four years later, he has helped create well-known features on Facebook’s site and traveled with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, to mutual friends’ birthday parties. Around the office, he is known for his blend of social and technical skills, and for liking his computer code like his closet: neat and logical. Occhino, 27, grew up in Orchard Park, N.Y., south of Buffalo. He was 11 when his family purchased its first desktop computer. He was fascinated and remembers digging into the operating system. That led him to take a computer programming class at Orchard Park High School. He entered UB focused on computer science and engineering, and fondly recalls foundational courses taught by Carl Alphonce, teaching associate professor; and Phil Ventura, PhD ’04 & MS ’00, now teaching in Florida. But it wasn’t until his senior year, when he took a class taught by Mike Buckley, BS ’78 & BA ’76, teaching assistant professor and co-director of the Center for Socially Relevant Computing, that the idea that computer software can help people’s lives clicked with him. After graduating, he found himself drawn

Digital Dream Job



to MooTools, an open-source software site aimed at improving JavaScript, a computer programming language. That interest led to his big break: being asked to speak about MooTools at a conference in the Netherlands. Occhino was then 23. He had never left North America or spoken at a conference. Despite that, he said yes. To prepare, his sister bought him a copy of “Public Speaking for Dummies.” The talk caught the attention of a Facebook recruiter. A few months later, he was working at the company. Since then, he wrote the code for the search bar “auto completing” feature, which takes letters typed into the search bar and produces a drop-down menu with instant results. He adapted the same code so that when a user types the “@” symbol in a status update it produces a drop-down menu with results. Occhino works at a standing desk, with pictures of his 2-year-old niece and speakers for playing electronic dance music. Work weeks sometimes hit 80 hours. But, he loves that he can arrive when he wants and rarely has to set an alarm. Nick Schrock is a fellow engineer at Facebook who started a month after Occhino. The two quickly became friends. He says Occhino is a detail-oriented person, an attribute that extends from the user- and engineer-pleasing code he writes to his color-coordinated bedroom closet. Occhino is a beloved person at Facebook because of his selflessness, Schrock says. That was exemplified one morning when Schrock had two hours to prepare a presentation for the entire Facebook engineering team. When his co-presenter called in sick, Schrock reached out to Occhino. He dropped everything to help. “He is just someone who always has your back,” Schrock says. Story by Sean Nealon, BA ’01, with photos by Mark Madeo

O U T T A K E S Nickname Occhino is known as “Tomo” around Facebook because there were already several other Toms when he was hired What he misses about UB Chicken finger melt at Bert’s in Talbert Hall What he misses about Buffalo Family, friends, Mighty Taco and Jim’s Steakout Job at UB Hired by UB Student Association as assistant Web manager to Keith Stabins, BS ’07 UBTODAY Spring 2013


Geology professor studies glaciers and sediment cores during his Ar

science at the to


Jason Briner knew it was dangerous to camp on the coast of Baffin Island, one of Canada’s most northern points, during the summer. Yet that’s exactly what he was doing eight years ago. ❅ Briner, who had recently accepted a job teaching geology at UB, was no stranger to the Arctic. He’d spent time in Alaska and Iceland, and he made several previous trips to Baffin Island while earning his doctorate. He had the appropriate equipment and knowledge, plus the advantage of youth—at the time, in his early 30s—to make camping at one of Earth’s coldest spots a relatively ho-hum affair. He also had a loaded shotgun. ❅ The average annual temperature on Baffin Island, most of which lies above the Arctic Circle, is roughly 17 degrees Fahrenheit. Sea ice surrounds it most of the year. Beneath the ice swim seals, walruses, beluga whales and other

his Arctic adventures, opening up new research vistas for his students

top of the world Story by Cory Nealon, BA ’02, with photography by Jason Briner

Scenes from Baffin Island over the course of ten years of research in the field. Briner is shown in center photo on the far left.

marine animals. The ice melts every summer, sending another Arctic resident—the polar bear—back to shore. The world’s largest carnivore, the polar bear retreats to land only when food is scarce and when hungry. ❅ Briner had seen a few before, mostly from a great distance, however. Even then, there was no mistaking them. Males can be nearly 10 feet tall and weigh up to 1,500 pounds. They move across snow, ice and open water with ease. Their range encompasses the entire Arctic but most live in North America. More specifically, most live in and around Baffin Island. The last known fatal attack on a human in North America occurred in 1999 in Rankin Inlet, which, like Baffin Island, is part of Canada’s vast Nunavut Territory. Encountering polar bears was—and continues to be—an occupational hazard for Briner.

Investigating ice cores Briner grew up near Seattle, where he earned a bachelor’s of science in geology at the University at Washington in 1996. He went on to Utah State University, making several trips as a research assistant to southwest Alaska to study glaciers, while earning a master’s degree. The time in Alaska left an impression on him. “I had always been intrigued by glaciers,” Briner said in a January interview. “But it was those trips to Alaska that really solidified that passion.” Briner first visited Baffin Island as a PhD student at the University of Colorado Boulder. He returned several times and wrote his doctoral thesis on the evolution of the island’s glaciers. In 2005, he accepted an offer as an associate professor at UB, a position that would allow him to continue to study the Arctic region. Sandwiched between Hudson Bay and Greenland, Baffin Island is the fifth largest island in the world. With mountainous glaciers and pristine lakes, it’s the type of place shown in National Geographic documentaries. Its largest city and capital, Iqaluit, built on a former World War II airbase, is home to roughly 6,200 people. Each summer, glaciers melt, creating streams of water that carry sediment consisting of sand, minerals, silt and other materials to lake bottoms. Using a drill and other tools, Briner extracts sediment cores—they can be three to 15 feet long— that are essentially tubes of mud. When analyzed at UB and elsewhere, they provide clues into what the climate was like as far back as 12,000 years ago. Additionally, the cores are a yardstick against other climate studies, such as conclusions drawn from polar ice cores. They also help improve models to predict future climate change and its effects, such as rising sea levels, droughts, tornadoes,

hurricanes and other extreme events, says Briner. Briner recently co-authored a paper published in the journal Science concerning a brief cold snap about 8,200 years ago that caused the island’s glaciers to expand rapidly. The discovery backs the prevailing thought among climate scientists that ice sheets reacted rapidly in the past to cooling or warming, raising concerns that they might again do so as the Earth heats up. “One of the questions scientists have been asking is how long it takes for these huge chunks of ice to respond to a global climate phenomenon,” Briner elaborates. “People don’t know whether glaciers can respond quickly enough to matter to our grandchildren, and we’re trying to answer this from a geological perspective, by looking at Earth’s history.” Briner’s colleagues on the study included lead author Nicolas E. Young, PhD ’12 & MA ’08, who participated as part of his PhD at UB and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

“It was about 100 yards away, squatting and staring at us,” he recalls. They quickly armed themselves and watched as the bear slinked toward them. Rather than trying to kill it, they fired several flares in its direction. The bright light and searing heat spooked the bear, which had advanced within 40 yards. It veered off in another direction. Briner breathed a sigh of relief. The threat had been averted, but polar bears don’t give up that easily. It soon returned from another direction. Rather than fire more flares, Briner and the field assistant took their guns and other essential supplies and dashed away on all-terrain vehicles. They drove to a safe distance and watched the bear approach the camp. Using its paws, it tore a few holes in their tents and rummaged around before walking off. With the bear out of sight, they drove back to the camp, packed all their belongings and left for safer ground. Briner has never had another close encounter.

Meeting a polar bear’s stare

Scientific field work and student learning

While many animals struggle to adapt to climate change, polar bears are among the most threatened, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the U.S. Geological Survey and other scientific groups. They hunt seals from sea ice. But because the ice is melting at an alarming rate (it was at its lowest recorded level in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center), polar bears have less time to hunt and build up fat reserves. As a result, many are malnourished or, worse, starving. That could have been the case eight years ago as Briner, on a research expedition with a field assistant, walked out of the kitchen tent and spotted a polar bear.

Sitting in Hochstetter Hall on UB’s North Campus, Briner doesn’t look like a swashbuckling Arctic adventurer. He is more mild-mannered scientist than Bear Grylls. His office is neat and unadorned except for a battered map of Canada tacked to the wall above his desk and a bulletin board with pictures of him and his students. Director of the geology department’s undergraduate studies, Briner each semester teaches an introductory course as well as advanced classes. Students say his influence extends beyond the classroom. “Jason is a very meticulous scientist,” Sam Kelley, a PhD candidate in geology who grew up in Maine, writes in an email. “I’ve greatly benefited [from observing Bri-

Brooks Range: Craggy cliffs give way to sloping fields dotted with purple wildflowers. Students wearing 30 UBTODAY Spring 2013



ner] by learning to be more patient when working on scientific problems.” Other UB researchers are doing this kind of work. Beata Csatho, also an associate geology professor, studies Greenland’s ice sheets to better understand climate change. Additional researchers leading similarly far-reaching investigations could be on the way, as UB hires 250 faculty members university-wide during the next five years to improve its position among the nation’s leading public research universities. Alexander Cartwright, UB vice president for research and economic development, says Csatho and Briner exemplify the type of researcher the university is seeking. “As part of our strategic plan for growth, UB is committed to hiring outstanding faculty members who, in addition to being tremendous teachers, are also world-class researchers who are building lasting partnerships in Western New York and beyond,” Cartwright says. In addition to Baffin Island, Briner has conducted research on Greenland (Kelley has gone there with him twice), Norway and Tibet. Occasionally he’ll travel to places like Montreal or San Francisco to attend academic conferences. The running joke is that he should work in Antarctica, where the seasons are opposite from the northern hemisphere. Briner could avoid Buffalo’s winter by studying in the South Pole and finally enjoy a summer in Western New York instead of spending them in the Arctic, as he has done for the past 10 years. “I get those jokes all the time,” Briner says, adding that he has no plans to work in Antarctica.

Capturing Arctic vistas Briner’s research trips take on dimension with avid photography of his locales. He documents each research trip with his photographs posted on his website (www. gallery.htm). Some illustrate an endless expanse of ice and snow. But others, including pictures last summer from Brooks Range, a collection of mountains in northern Alaska, show a more diverse landscape. Craggy, gray cliffs give way to sloping green fields that are scattered with the occasional purple, pink and yellow wildflowers. Students wearing knee-high rubber boots and colorful tuques gleefully mug for the camera. Among them is Simon Pendleton, a New Hampshire native who is enrolled in UB’s graduate program for geology. “Basically I spent the summer camped out with Dr. Briner on the Alaska tundra, hiking many miles every day, surviving the bugs and doing some incredible science!” Pendleton recalls in an email. “Coming from a family with a passion for the outdoors and wild places, being able to do research in some of the most remote places on the planet is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Standing atop a moraine looking across the Arctic tundra provides the opportunity to really see the big picture.” The big picture, at least for Pendleton, did not include polar bears. He quickly points out, though, that he did see a juvenile grizzly bear. Despite what happened eight years ago on Baffin Island, most of Briner’s research trips are uneventful—that is, if you put aside the helicopter rides, dogsleds, lakes full of icebergs and other jaw-dropping vistas. In any case, his students are wellprepared and well-equipped to spend weeks camping outside in the Arctic, he says. “There is an element of uncertainty associated with field research, no matter the location,” Briner points out. Cory Nealon, BA ’02, is with UB’s Office of Communications, where he frequently writes on science and engineering topics.

knee-high rubber boots and colorful tuques mug for the camera. UBTODAY Spring 2013


A group of intrepid young Entrepreneurs share their experiences launching successful companies

Risk Eric Reich, MB ’02 & JD ’02 (left) and Michael Weisman, MBA ’01, built a wildy successful data-centric company that helps colleges and universities recruit and retain students.

people worked diligently and endured long hours to transform their ideas into startup firms. It’s an ambitious agenda, especially when you’re still going to school.


Photography by Douglas Levere, BA ’89


Campus Labs Higher Ed Evaluation ENTREPRENEURS

Eric Reich and Michael Weisman GRADUATION YEAR

2002 (Reich), 2001 (Weisman) UB DEGREE

JD and MBA (Reich), MBA (Weisman) LOCATION

210 Ellicott St., Suite 200, Buffalo, N.Y. WEBSITE

University Heights Tool Library Tool-lending library SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR


2010 and 2012 UB DEGREE

BA in International Studies and Linguistics, MUP in urban planning LOCATION

5 W. Northrup Pl. in Buffalo’s University Heights Neighborhood WEBSITE

We’ve all been there before: You have a small home-improvement project in mind—hanging a picture, or painting a room. But you don’t want to buy that power drill you’ll never use again, or those paint trays and rollers that will go straight into storage. That’s the situation Darren Cotton, MUP ’12 & BA ’10, faced during his senior year at UB in 2009. He was fixing up an apartment near the South Campus and found himself raiding his parents’ toolbox to do the job. The experience established the foundation for the University Heights Tool Library, a tool-lending library that Cotton, an emerging social entrepreneur, opened in 2010. To get the organization running, a UB business student helped write a business plan. Buffalo Common Councilmember Bonnie Russell provided city funding. Cotton and his friends spent hours after classes renovating the library storefront: “We would come here at 8 or 9 o’clock at night and work on painting a wall or building a shelf,” he says. The dedication paid off. About 150 members have joined, borrowing tools for a $10 annual fee. The library has been a great fit for the neighborhood, which Darren Cotton, MUP ’12 & BA ’10, found inspiration for his startup after scrounging for tools to fix up his apartment near the South Campus.


Flashback to the late 1990s, before the dot-com bubble burst, when dropping out of college, as evidenced by Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and other tech luminaries, had become the trendy path to success for young entrepreneurs. Eric Reich, MBA ’02 & JD ’02, and Michael Weisman, MBA ’01, weren’t buying it. Instead of jumping into the hard-nosed world of venture capitalism, the childhood friends enrolled in UB’s MBA program, won a coveted entrepreneurial award from the university and ultimately created a company worth more than $40 million. “We like to refer to it as ‘dropping in,’” says Reich, who along with Weisman, spent countless hours both inside and outside the classroom with UB professors and administrators refining their business plan. The idea—to build a data-centric company that helps colleges and universities decide how to best allocate resources, recruit and retain students, and improve student success—won UB’s first Henry A. Panasci Jr. entrepreneurship award in 2001. Reich and Weisman used the $25,000 prize to create StudentVoice, a class project that would eventually become one of Western New York’s most successful startups in recent memory. “We received a lot of support and assistance from the UB community that helped us build early confidence and momentum,” Reich says. The company, which now operates as Campus Labs, has more than $10 million in annual sales and more than 650 higher education clients. It has 90 employees in downtown Buffalo and at a smaller office in Atlanta, Ga. Years of hard work, persis-

tence and ingenuity were realized when Connecticut-based Higher One Holdings acquired Campus Labs for more than $40 million in August 2012. Working with Higher One will enable Campus Labs to remain in Buffalo while expanding into new markets and adding to its workforce, Weisman says. “We plan to continue to grow in Buffalo and hire a lot more people here.” UBTODAY Spring 2013




“I would encourage any student who has a business idea to go out there and give it a shot. Even if you fail, you’ll learn so much along the way.” Ansar Khan, BS ’11

houses many students and low-income renters—people who have little incentive to buy their own tools. Operating under the University Heights Collaborative, a nonprofit neighborhood group, the library has become an important local resource. It has supplied tools for street cleanups and a community garden project. Future plans include hosting “do-it-yourself” workshops that focus on tasks like repairing windows or building rain barrels. From the beginning, Cotton envisioned the library as a mechanism for bettering the community, and it’s exciting to watch that happen. “It’s amazing to see the different projects this helps facilitate. I wish there were more projects like this, where people share resources,” Cotton says. “Not everyone needs to own a circular saw.”

Refulgent Software Restaurant app for servers ENTREPRENEURS

Ansar Khan and James O’Leary GRADUATION YEAR

2011 (Khan), 2014 anticipated (O’Leary) UB DEGREE

BS in Biological Sciences (Khan), BA in Communication (O’Leary) LOCATION

UB Technology Incubator in Amherst, N.Y. WEBSITE

34 UBTODAY Spring 2013

Ansar Khan, BS ’11 (left) and James O’Leary found their niche after noticing a need for digitized food and drink orders in the restaurant industry.

James O’Leary was waiting tables at Kabab & Curry, the family restaurant of fellow student Ansar Khan, BS ’11, in Williamsville, N.Y., when he had an epiphany: Why not simplify the process by finding a way to digitize food and drink orders? He was tired of trying to decipher his own messy handwriting on guest checks. He shared his idea with Khan, and Refulgent Software took off from there. Together, the partners developed Ambur, a restaurant app that lets servers take orders on an iPod and send requests to the kitchen wirelessly. Ambur debuted at the Apple store in April 2011 following a successful pilot at Kabab & Curry. The client list has grown to more than 300 restaurants in 14 countries, from family-owned enterprises to Chobani yogurt’s new SoHo store. Refulgent Software employs nine people, almost all of them UB students or graduates. Revenue was on track to reach $850,000 in 2012. The success landed Khan a spot on Forbes magazine’s 2012 list of All-Star Student Entrepreneurs, which featured nine young entrepreneurs who started significant businesses while still in school. O’Leary, a current UB student, and Khan say they’re proud to provide a service that helps small businesses get off the ground. As the son of Pakistani immigrants who opened a restaurant, Khan understands how difficult it is to turn a profit in the food service industry. He and O’Leary bill their app as one “designed by and for people who actually work at restaurants.” They don’t levy a monthly fee or charge for upgrades. That philosophy is what sets Refulgent Software apart from competitors—and what makes O’Leary and Khan’s work rewarding. “I would encourage any student who has a business idea to go out there and give it a shot,” Khan says. “Even if you fail, you’ll learn so much along the way.”

Barron Games International arcade game distributor ENTREPRENEURS

Anna Zykina Bacorn and Greg Bacorn GRADUATION YEAR


BA in Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Studies, International Business and German (Anna), BA in History (Greg) LOCATION

84 Aero Dr. Suite 4, Buffalo, NY 14225 WEBSITE

Anna Zykina Bacorn, BA ’07, and Greg Bacorn, BA ’07, didn’t get along—at first— when they met in a leadership class in spring 2007, their last semester at UB. “We both have strong personalities. We were very independent and constantly butted heads,” Greg remembers. “Halfway through the class, we were forced to do a project, and we realized that we actually worked very well together and had many Anna Zykina Bacorn, BA ’07, and Greg Bacorn, BA ’07, meshed their interests to develop their company, which distributes arcade games worldwide.


things in common.” The class partnership evolved into a real-world business union when Anna and Greg came up with a great idea for upgrading a popular arcade game product: adding a ticket dispenser to the traditional air hockey table. Anna’s father, an entrepreneur who owns the largest arcade game distribution company in Russia, became a role model and adviser, encouraging the partners to start their own company, Barron Games. Anna, who helped run her father’s international firm, took the lead in writing a business plan. To promote Barron Games, Anna and Greg traveled to trade shows in places like Orlando, Las Vegas, Russia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and Colombia. The partners celebrated their first big sale in November 2007. Today, Barron Games builds customized products ranging from interactive photo booths to the QuadAir—a multiplayer air hockey table that Anna, Greg and partners developed. Clients include Buffalo area businesses like Bounce Magic family entertainment center, national chains like Dave & Buster’s and international brands such as SEGA Amusements. Running a business isn’t always easy: Anna and Greg, now married and new parents, often wake up at odd hours to field calls from customers around the world. But the long days—and nights—are worth it. Anna says her achievements are a particular point of pride as a woman in a male-dominated industry. “I would like to think of myself being successful, as I created a prospering business providing outstanding products that bring joy and fun to our customers,” she says. Sometimes, people unfamiliar with Barron Games don’t take it seriously because the owners and company are so young—“new school,” as Anna says. But the firm’s track record of success and quality of products eventually wins clients over. Editor’s note: These stories were originally published in fall 2012 on the university’s homepage and were written by Charlotte Hsu and Cory Nealon, BA ’02, of University Communications; and Jacqueline Ghosen, MBA ’94, of the UB School of Management. UBTODAY Spring 2013


Tamara Brown in her garden at her home in Hamburg, N.Y.

Tamara Brown, ME ’03 : Encouraging young girls’ interest in STEM fields

is a passion for this avid gardener Jule Carr will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. If it weren’t for a program created at UB nine years ago by Tamara Brown, Carr might not have chosen to pursue a career in a field that lacks women. Carr’s is one of many success stories enabled by Tech Savvy, the program Brown developed in 2004 to expose middle schoolaged girls to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics—or STEM—fields. Brown started Tech Savvy in response to an American Association of University Women (AAUW) research report, which showed that an alarming number of young girls avoid STEM careers. Tech Savvy changes that by showing girls the fun, relevant side of STEM, while mentoring and supporting their aspirations and providing guidance on the educational requirements necessary for a STEM career. The program is hosted and co-sponsored by UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, from which Brown received her ME degree in 2003. (Tech Savvy’s conference was held at UB March 16.) Perhaps it’s fitting that one of Brown’s hobbies— gardening—involves the art of growing and cultivating, something she’s done for countless girls’ interest in STEM careers. A native of Vicksburg, Miss., Brown came to Western New York in 1994 to take a job at an Orchard Park medical company. A few years later, she began working at Praxair, a Fortune 300 company with a facility in the Town of Tonawanda. In January 2012, she was promoted to leader of community engagement and now works at Praxair’s world headquarters in Danbury, Conn. Brown wanted to go to college to be a psycholo-

growing STEM careers



gist, but her mother steered her toward engineering, thinking that it would offer better career opportunities. She dual majored in biomedical and chemical engineering at Vanderbilt University, the first woman to do so at the school, and received her BS in 1993. Many girls have a similar experience to Brown’s when contemplating their future career: They seek out what they know. “I have a friend in AAUW who says to kids in her class, ‘You can’t be it if you don’t see it,’ and I think that that’s true. You typically gravitate toward what you see in your everyday life or what you can envision yourself being,” Brown says. Each year, Tech Savvy’s workshops—which run the A to Z gamut with topics ranging from anthropology to zoology—help young girls see what they can do in a STEM field. “Seeing professional women with prestigious achievements—that was the lasting impression. It showed me that there are other women in these fields and that girls should not be deterred from entering STEM fields,” says Carr. Last year, Brown expanded Tech Savvy to include 10th- to 12th-grade girls with an eye toward preparing them for college. Tech Savvy has become so successful that Brown and AAUW are planning 10 new Tech Savvy sites within the next year and a half. Brown will continue to lead the program, which receives funding from the Praxair Foundation. In 2011, Brown was honored by the White House as one of 12 “Champions of Change” for her efforts in exposing young girls to STEM careers. The personal recognition was nice, Brown says, but the greater satisfaction came from the national attention the White House focused on females in STEM fields. “We need all of our kids focused and ready to help us with the challenges that are coming forward,” Brown says. “It means that we can’t exclude anyone and, more importantly, we have to encourage everybody.” Story by David J. Hill, with photos by Douglas Levere, BA ’89

O U T T A K E S What you don’t know about her “I am working on a book—it’s a collection of lessons I learned from my maternal grandmother. I’ve given up television and I have set aside more time for my writing.” Favorite thing about UB “The people. I have come to appreciate the community of staff and faculty that help to enrich the learning environment for so many students.” Favorite meal to make for guests “Stuffed, fried chicken; cabbage with smoked pork; sweet potato casserole; black-eyed peas (which I make St. Lucian style—dry with peppers and sausage from Mississippi); basmati rice; and my mother’s corn bread recipe.” Best thing about gardening “I talk all the time! Gardening gives me time to think.” UBTODAY Spring 2013


Gregory Michaelidis at his home in Washington, D.C.

Gregory Michaelidis, MA ’94 & BA ’92 : Speechwriter draws on storytelling

and scholarship to craft remarks and Congressional testimony for Janet Napolitano

The first person in his immediate family to attend college, Gregory Michaelidis, since 2009 the director of speechwriting for Secretary Janet Napolitano at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), had no idea when he started his studies where his career path would take him. He was first attracted to UB for its “breadth, affordability and reputation” and continued on to complete a graduate program (both degrees are in history) and then a doctorate at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he focused on Macedonian migration to North America. His father was a refugee from Macedonia during World War II and ended up in the Buffalo area, where Michaelidis grew up. “I have a theory that people gravitate toward fields that help explain the world to them, and 20th-century history did that for me,” he says, adding that he would leave UB Professor Michael Frisch’s class inspired and intrigued. As for college life outside the classroom, his soccer aspirations ended when he broke his ankle the first week of his freshman year, but his writing career began. He found a home in The Spectrum offices in the basement of Baldy Hall, where he and a group of music-fan friends worked as rock critics reviewing shows for The Prodigal Sun, the paper’s edgy entertainment weekly. “I’m still a big punk rock fan,” says Michaelidis, who has since expanded his musical interests. “I’ve been listening to some remarkable Balkan brass bands playing a fast mix of Slavic, Turkish and Gypsy (Roma) music.” Despite his academic credentials, he hesitates to use the term “expert” when discussing his professional life. “I think of myself as more of a historically informed storyteller,” says Michaelidis, noting that his areas of scholarly interest include

eye on history



international migration, national security and the impact of diasporas. Previously, he held positions at the Brookings Institution, the Center for Global Development, and the Hatcher Group—all in the DC area—and at UB, where he was director of research and strategic analysis for former President John B. Simpson. His job at the Department of Homeland Security, where he oversees two other writers within a public affairs staff of about 35 (in total, DHS has approximately 240,000 people) involves a “steady stream of speeches and Congressional testimony” but also a great deal of coordination on response to tragic incidents, such as the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn. Another difficult assignment, he recalls, was preparing remarks for Napolitano to deliver at a memorial for a U.S. Coast Guard officer killed while investigating drug trafficking off the coast of Catalina Island. A highlight moment for Michaelidis in his current role followed the delivery of a speech he prepared for Napolitano to give to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2009. Afterward, he met Ted Sorensen, the late, legendary speechwriter and adviser to JFK. “He said to me, ‘Nice to meet you. It was a very nice speech.’ That was quite a compliment coming from him.” Michaelidis notes that the portrayal of DHS in the news media can seem unfair at times and that much of the department’s work goes unseen by the public. “Generally our successes mean that something bad doesn’t happen or that its effects are mitigated. The people who work for DHS are remarkably talented, and often put themselves in harm’s way to help keep the country and our communities secure.” Story by Mara McGinnis, BA ’97, with photos by Nicholas McIntosh

O U T T A K E S Family Wife, Tamara Michaelidis, BA ’94, a psychologist (the two met at UB in 1991); and two daughters, Tessa and Raina Notable personal accomplishment Completing the Ironman Arizona triathlon in 2008 Favorite clubs during UB days: Old Pink, Anacone’s and The Continental Key to productive writing environment A clean office and plenty of lamps Entrée into Obama administration Signing up in 2007 as a campaign volunteer expert to help write briefing papers on foreign policy issues 2012 election-night activity Watching returns at home on four websites/three television channels (“I’m a bit of a news and information junkie.”) Writer he admires The late Christopher Hitchens (“I miss his fearlessness.”) UBTODAY Spring 2013




f r o m t h e U B A l u m n i A sso c i at i o n


The Main Event

Creativity builds affinity

istorically, what are known as affinity programs have supplemented many alumni relations budgets, allowing alumni offices to enhance their menus of programs, benefits and services that graduates have come to expect. Today, however, these affinity relationships (in which major corporations, such as banks and insurance companies, typically offer their services at reduced rates or pay a royalty in return for the opportunity to market to an audience) also are declining in both availability and To see and take advantage of UB affinity financial return. “It’s unfortunate that programs, and to learn more about our these opportunities are now few and far sponsors, visit between, because alumni get offers that are not available to the general public, or, in other types of affinity relationships, the UBAA gets a royalty,” says Jay Friedman, EdM ’00 & BA ’86, associate vice president for alumni relations.

And in chapter news… The UB Alumni Association held an exacta of horse racing events during the summer, with chapters in Albany and San Diego hosting “days at the races” at Saratoga and Del Mar race tracks, respectively. The Saratoga event, hosted by the Albany chapter on July 21, 2012, attracted 50 people, including 37 who traveled on a motor coach from

Buffalo. The group dined at the At the Rail Pavilion just past the finish line. The Aug. 19, 2012, event in Del Mar, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, was a sellout. Attendees viewed the Sunday afternoon card from the Clubhouse Terrace Restaurant. Closer to home, alumni from multiple schools had opportunities to participate in two

Hey, that’s me! Photos pulled

from the alumni Flickr pages show alumni enjoying varied events around the country, including a day at the races in Saratoga, N.Y., and brunch with the president in Athens, Ga.

40 UBTODAY Spring 2013

events hosted by regional colleges and universities. In professional networking opportunities dubbed “WNY Alumni After Hours,” UB, Niagara University, Buffalo State, Daemen College and SUNY College at Brockport combined efforts to enhance the power of local networking among their alumni. More than 50 professionals

As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the UBAA is facing many of the same financial challenges that readers experience in their personal lives. “We’re trying to do more with the same, or fewer, resources,” says Friedman. “We’re fortunate we still have an affinity program, but we’ve had to branch out so we can continue our mission to serve alums to the same degree—we’ve had to get creative.” Indeed, seeking sponsorships for alumni programs, creating additional advertising opportunities and enhancing offerings for alumni outside Western New York have become critical methods to generate revenue for programming. “A highly educated target market like UB alums is very appealing to retailers,” says Andrew Wilcox, associate director, strategic partnerships. “But we also realize that value, so we’re selective in the vendors we’re endorsing; their products, reputation and

gathered in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo to meet, mingle and exchange business cards on May 31 and Oct. 18, 2012. In Denver, the annual Colorado Rockies baseball game and fireworks spectacular on June 29, 2012, in Coors Field attracted 60 alumni and friends. Attendees networked at a pregame event

and buffet at Lodo’s Restaurant across the street from the stadium. As part of the UB Bulls football season opener on Sept. 1, 2012, against the Georgia Bulldogs, UB hosted a crowd of 125 for brunch in Athens, Ga. President Satish K. Tripathi and his wife, Kamlesh, attended the event, as did Danny White, UB director of athletics. The Washington, D.C.


u p d at e s f r o m g r a d s b y t h e d e c a d e

“We’re trying to do more with the same, or fewer, resources.”


Jay Friedman, EdM ’00 & BA ’86

brands have been proven, thereby bringing value to our alums.” “Without a doubt, we wouldn’t be able to host a number of our most popular programs without this additional revenue,” says Friedman. For example, Career Conversations has expanded from New York City and is now being held in Buffalo, Rochester and Albany as well, bringing hundreds of students and alumni together for networking. Free, monthly career webinars for alums “are also a direct result of our self-generated revenue efforts,” Friedman says. Funds also support the entire student alumni association collection of programs. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to us to serve our alumni—and alumni-in-training—with programs that will in turn help them succeed,” Friedman says. “It’s just what we do.”

chapter hosted its annual Buffalo Bills tailgate and viewing party at Jimmy’s Olde Town Tavern in Herndon, Va., on Sept. 30, 2012. More than 70 people were in attendance to watch the Bills meet the New England Patriots and help the host and tavern owner, Jimmy Cirrito, raise $750 for the Willie R. Evans UB Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship Fund. Two Buffalo Bills road games provided the backdrop for alumni events with pregame gather-

ings. Each went well for both the attendees and the Bills, who won both games, in Cleveland against the Browns on Sept. 23, and in Phoenix against the Cardinals on Oct. 14, 2012. Meanwhile, True Blue Days, an annual fall tradition, took place Oct. 18-21, 2012. This series of events and activities celebrating UB’s Homecoming included the football game against Pitt, a Homecoming Fan Fest, Family Weekend and Open House.

To see photos of other alumni and friends from recent chapter events, go to


Howard Pierce, BS 1971, * founded Mueller Pierce LLC, a new law firm in West Hartford, Conn. He will focus his practice on cost containment matters for health care and property/ casualty industries. Pierce lives in West Hartford. Joanne Erde, BA 1973, was honored by Chambers USA for her legal work at Duane Morris LLP in the field of health care. She resides in Miami, Fla. Tim Loftis, BA 1976, has been appointed to a three-year term on the New York State Dormitory Authority Board by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. He lives in East Aurora, N.Y.

Mark Francis Schwab, BA 1976, is author of various works of poetry and fiction, including the 2010 novel “The Schwab Spouse Stealer.” He resides in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Garry


Graber, JD 1978 & BA 1975,

has been named to the Top 50 Upstate New York Super Lawyers List. Graber is a partner at Hodgson Russ, and leads the firm’s bankruptcy, restructuring and commercial litigation practice. He lives in Orchard Park, N.Y. Kenneth “Biff” Henrich, MFA 1978, coowner of IMG_INK, a printing facility that specializes in working with artists, has launched a website called IMG_INK Print Galleries ( The site allows visitors to browse and purchase the works of notable artists in Western New York. Henrich is an adjunct professor in the

visual studies department at UB. He resides in Buffalo. Peter Hill, BA 1978, has been appointed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to a working group on child-centered family laws. The group will review and recommend revisions to state laws to ensure that children’s rights are protected during and following court proceedings pertaining to parental responsibility and caretaking. Hill, who will represent the Fatherhood Coalition during meetings, resides in Weston, Mass. Karl Havens, BA 1979, is a professor of fisheries and aquatic sciences at the University of Florida and Havens director of the Florida Sea Grant College Program. Havens has published more than 150 journal articles, book chapters and books on the aquatic sciences. He resides in Gainesville, Fla.

Paul M. Moskal, JD 1979 & BA 1976, former special agent with the Buffalo division of the FBI, was honored with the Founders Award by the FBI Buffalo Citizens Academy Alumni Association. Moskal was one of the principal architects of the FBI’s Citizens Academy, and was instrumental in the creation of its alumni association. He lives in Orchard Park, N.Y.


Brian Schumacher, BA 1980, was awarded the B. Charles Malloy Leadership Award by the ASTM International Waste Management Committee for

his leadership and dedication to waste management standardization. He resides in Henderson, Nev. Kenneth Sniatecki, BS 1980, has been elected to the board of directors of Summit Educational Resources, a not-for-profit organization that provides support services to children with developmental disabilities. He lives in Getzville, N.Y. Sharon Sisti, MSW 1981, has received her third faculty excellence award for her achievements at Hilbert College, where she is an assistant professor of human and rehabilitation services. She resides in Buffalo, N.Y. Tanya Harvey, JD 1982, accepted a position at Loeb & Loeb LLP, as senior counsel in the firm’s trusts and estates department. She has significant experience in special education law, and with providing estate planning counsel to non-traditional families and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. She lives in Arlington, Va. Mark Klein, JD 1982 & BS 1978, was reelected for a second term on the board of directors of Hodgson Klein Russ LLP. A partner at the firm, Klein has more than 25 years of experience with tax law, and also does public speaking about taxes. He lives in East Amherst, N.Y. Eric Kramer, BS 1982, has been appointed to a three-year term on the New York State Society of CPAs’ political action comkramer mittee board of trustees. He resides in Dix Hills, N.Y. Daniel Oliverio, JD 1982 & MBA 1980, gave a presentation on “Preventing and Responding to Cyber Attacks: The View of the Corporate Counsel” at a federal cybersecurity conference held



* UBTODAY Spring 2013




Association Billboard P h armacy and P h armaceutical S ciences

Open for Business John and Editha Kapoor Hall, the new home for the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences on the South Campus, was dedicated on Sept. 28, 2012. John Kapoor, PhD ’72, who, with his late wife Editha, has given generously to UB, was present. Among those greeting Kapoor (right) was John Carlo, member of the New York State Board of Pharmacy and past president of the Pharmacists Association of Western New York.

U B at N oon

Chautauqua County sights and Middle East food Two programs offered for alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago were well attended. On Aug. 30, 2012, 55 alumni participated in the UB at Noon Day Trip, which included a number of stops in scenic Chautauqua County. Two of the favorites were the Blockhouse Glassblowing Studio and the YB Normal Suri Alpacas Farm. The second program, on Nov. 14, 2012, featured Faith Gorsky, BA ’02, an author, photographer and food blogger who fell in love with the Middle East after spending six months living in the region and immersing herself in the culture. She discussed Middle Eastern cooking and why the food and culture are so closely intertwined. An exclusively Middle Eastern buffet included dishes from Gorsky’s cookbook, “An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair” (Tuttle Publishing, 2012). U B D o w nto w n

Politics and the Great Lakes The UB Downtown luncheon program continues to make good on its promise to provide a stimulating program for UB alumni working in downtown Buffalo, all within the lunch hour. calabrese

On Oct. 10, 2012, Carl Calabrese, MA ’03 & BA ’74, former deputy Erie County executive, longtime Town of Tonawanda supervisor and a principal in a Buffalo lobbying firm, addressed a crowd of 58. Calabrese, an adjunct professor of urban and regional planning in the School of Architecture and Planning, spoke about the 2012 presidential race and the campaign’s first debate, which was held that evening. Kathryn B. Friedman, JD ’98, PhD ’96 & MA ’93, director of cross-border and international research at UB’s Regional Institute, as well as research professor of law and policy at UB,

spoke on Dec. 5, 2012, about her role as one of four principals on the leadership team of the Great Lakes Futures Project. The crowd of 85 learned about the project that ultimately will propose a set of long-term priorities to help protect and restore the Great Lakes. S c h ool - based ne w s

Engineering and Applied Sciences The UB Engineering Alumni Association presented two checks to students during the fall 2012 semester. Olga Carcamo, chemical engineering major, and Alanna Olear, environmental engineering major, are members of the Engineers for a Sustainable World’s UB student chapter. The award helped them attend the organization’s What is Your Legacy conference at the University of California, San Diego, in October 2012. Engineering Alumni Association Vice President Joe Frandina, BS ’78, presented Alvaro Giron, president of the UB chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), with a check that helped fund the group’s participation in ASCE competitions, including Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge and Seismic Design.

Nursing Rear Adm. Rebecca McCormick-Boyle, BS ’81, spoke to UB students and faculty during U.S. Navy Week in September 2012. Chief of staff of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, headquarters for Navy and Marine Corps Medicine, McCormick-Boyle discussed Navy Medicine’s humanitarian assistance, disaster response missions, battlefield medicine and role in maritime strategy. She also was selected as the School McCormick-Boyle

42 UBTODAY Spring 2013


u p d at e s f r o m g r a d s b y t h e d e c a d e

of Nursing’s 2013 distinguished alumna and will be presented with her award during an alumni and friends scholarship event slated for May 15. i n t e r n at i o n a l n e t w o r k i n g

Tokyo Gathering On Dec. 8, 2012, Rina Miyasaka, BA ’08, organized a networking event for UB alumni in Tokyo, Japan. Approximately 25 alumni came to the Glassarea Flamingo Cafe in Tokyo to meet and mingle with fellow alumni. The crowd also included Leandry Beharry, a current UB student studying in Japan. Miyasaka, who also hosted a Global Alumni Networking event in August 2012, works for Nissan Motor Company in its Asia HR Group-Global Talent Management Department in Tokyo.

Front row: Atsuko Ueda, BA ’05, Rina Miyasaka, BA ’08, and Yuki Nemoto, BS ’03. Back row: Shintaro Yamazaki, BS ’06, Masahiro Murata, BS ’07, and Yoshihiro Dobashi, BS ’08.


by the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Oliverio lives in Buffalo, N.Y. Michelle Imbasciani, BA 1984, has been promoted by Citibank to market president for New Jersey. She has 25 years of banking experience, and serves as the division director for Citi’s North America consumer bank for the tri-state area. Imbasciani resides in Highland Mills, N.Y. Mark Katz, JD 1985, was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2013 for his Katz outstanding work at Ulmer & Berne LLP. He lives in Kansas City, Mo. Elaine Kleinberg, BA 1986 & BS 1986, is a managing director in Manhattan Office Brokerage for CBRE Inc., a Los Angelesbased commercial real estate firm. Kleinberg, Kleinberg who will be located in the firm’s midtown Manhattan office, has more than 20 years’ experience in commercial real estate. She resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. Hugh Russ III, JD 1987, has been named to the Top 50 Upstate New York Super Lawyers List for the third consecutive year. He lives in Snyder, N.Y. Muffett Mauche George, BS 1988, has accepted a position at Wendel’s Transportation Group as a project manager. She resides in Akron, N.Y. Tom Ostrowski, BA 1989, was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2013 for his outstanding work at Ulmer & Berne LLP. Ostrowski He lives in Strongsville, Ohio.




Jacob Vogelman, BFA ’10, a New York City lighting and stage designer who majored in theatre design at UB, was killed by a falling tree during Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29, while helping his friend, Jessie Streich-Kest, walk her dog during the storm. She was also killed. Three hundred people attended funeral services for Vogelman, who was pursuing a master’s degree in lighting design at Brooklyn College. For listings of alumni deaths since our last issue, go to


Michael Brodowski, PhD 1990, has joined Burns & Levinson LLP, where he will contribute to the firm’s intellectual property practice. Before entering the legal profession, Brodowski was a project chemist in the toiletries technology laboratory at Gillette. He resides in Needham, Mass. Brian


Kleiner, PhD 1990 & MS 1983, director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction and professor of industrial and systems engineering Kleiner in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been reappointed the Ralph H. Bogle Professor Fellow in Industrial and Systems Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Kleiner lives in Blacksburg, Va. Eugene Shkurko, ME 1990 & BS 1989, has joined Hiscock & Barclay’s Rochester, N.Y., office as a member of the firm’s patents and Shkurko prosecution practice. He brings nearly 20 years’ experience in handling corporate intellectual property matters. He resides in Fairport, N.Y. Mary Young, BA 1990, was appointed to the board of directors of Lumsden & McCormick LLP. She lives in Amherst, N.Y. Tracy


Sadeghian, BA 1991, foundYoung

ed Media Masters Group Inc., a public relations firm based in Sadeghian Jacksonville, Fla., specializing in earned media, media relations and reputation management. She resides in Ponte Vedra, Fla. Paul Vallone, MBA 1991, a partner at Hodgson Russ LLP, has been elected to the law firm’s board of directors. He lives in Williamsville, N.Y. Elizabeth Savino, JD 1992, has been named vice president of human resources at CTG, an information technology solutions and services company. She resides in Amherst, N.Y. Ed Herman, BA 1994, was named a partner at Brown & Crouppen, a St. Louisbased personal injury law firm. He and a colleague are the first new partners since the firm’s founding in 1979. Herman resides in St. Louis, Mo. Corey Hewitt, BS 1994, has joined Frontier Communications as general manager for the East Rochester market. Hewitt brings more than 15 years’ experience in business development and operaHewitt tions to the company. He lives in Ontario, N.Y. Karen Russ, MLS 1994, was promoted to associate professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Russ also serves as the government information librarian for the university’s Ottenheimer Library. She resides in Little Rock. Frank Bacelli, BA 1995, accepted a position at Stradley Ronon as head of the law firm’s private equity practice. Bacelli Bacelli lives in Washington, D.C. William Karn, JD 1995 & BA 1992, was promoted to the rank of captain


* UBTODAY Spring 2013




S cholarships A warded

Six students are honored UB Alumni Association President Tim Lafferty, BS ’86, presented a total of $8,000 in scholarship monies to six students during the UB Alumni Association scholarship dinner Feb. 8 in the Center for Tomorrow on the North Campus. “I am so proud of these students and I look forward to welcoming them into the alumni family when they graduate,” Lafferty said.

J. Scott Fleming Scholarship The J. Scott Fleming Scholarship, established in 1985 as a student-to-student award, was given to four individuals who promote student involvement and enhance the student experience at UB. This year’s recipients are Dominique Bertrand, Elvis Castelino, Chelsie Hinckley and Marc Pierre. Bertrand is pursuing a PhD in anthropology, and is president of the Primatology Club and a senator for the Anthropology Graduate Student Association. Both clubs have spearheaded numerous initiatives during her tenure, including hosting an annual primate symposium, and creating a new, peer-reviewed anthropology journal. Senior Castelino is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He was named RA of the year for Ellicott South residence hall in 2012, and is a director of communication for the Mortar Board National Honor Society and a member of the Indian Student Association.

Michael Anderson, BA ’97, and Jay Friedman, EdM ’00 & BA ’86, greet Marc Pierre, Chelsie Hinckley and Elvis Castelino.

English major Hinckley is a student assistant in the Undergraduate Academies and is working to create a UB chapter of the American Association of University Women. She also is a winner of an Alumnae Scholarship, described below. Pierre, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in education, is a member of the Intercultural and Diversity Center, where he helps students learn and appreciate the value of diversity at UB. He is an academic coach in the Educational Opportunity Program and also serves as vice president of Beta Sigma Kappa AfroLatino Fraternity.

Alumnae Scholarships Lindsey Feuz and Chelsie Hinckley (whose bio is given above) each received Alumnae Scholarships, which are given to female students for academic and extracurricular accomplishments. Feuz, who is pursuing her PharmD degree, is a member of the Rho Chi Pharmaceutical Honor Society, Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society and Tau Sigma National Honor Society.

Willie R. Evans UB Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship Ben Robinson has won the Willie R. Evans UB Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship. The UB sophomore and Eagle Scout is pursuing a degree in pharmacy and is already involved with the profession as a pharmacy technician at an area supermarket. He was on the dean’s list both semesters of his freshman year and has participated in UB’s cross-country running club. His father, David Robinson, BS ’85, is a graduate of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

44 UBTODAY Spring 2013


u p d at e s f r o m g r a d s b y t h e d e c a d e

ubaa by the numbers

Impact of Student Alumni Association (UBSAA)

10,472 Average student attendance at UBSAA Hump Day Hangouts

Students affiliated with UBSAA

950 2,700

Average number of pizza slices distributed per hangout


Free cups of Tim Hortons coffee given to students annually



and made head of the detective bureau at the Lancaster (N.Y.) Police Department after 16 years of service. He resides in Lancaster. Peter Nieves, BS 1995, was honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the 2012 New Hampshire and New England small business champion. Nieves mentors several minority-owned small businesses and business owners. He lives in Dunbarton, N.H. Barry Spiegel, MLS 1995, has joined Blue Cross Blue Shield as a business analyst. Spiegel is also entering his eighth and final year as a member of the advisory board for the Peoria (Ariz.) Public Library. He resides in Peoria. Michael Ayalon, BS 1997, is executive director of Sigma Pi fraternity. He is only the seventh person to hold the position in the fraternity’s history. Ayalon lives in Brentwood, Tenn. Michelle Hare, MS 1999 & BA 1998, has been recognized by The Network Journal as one of its annual 40 Under 40 award winners for her multicultural business development work at State Farm Insurance Co. Hare manages community sponsorships, branding and recruiting in the minority markets of New York and New Jersey. She resides in Forest Hills, N.Y.

Gallons of water borrowed from Lake LaSalle to create mud pit for Oozefest


FinneganZandi, BA 2005, was promoted to director of institutional advancement at Mount Mercy Academy in Buffalo. She resides in Amherst, N.Y. Joseph Hanna, JD 2005 & BA 2002, partner with Goldberg Segalla LLP and chair of its diversity task force, accepted the George B. Vashon Hanna Innovator Award from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association in the category of pipeline initiatives. The award recognized Hanna and the firm’s diversity-focused internship program, a collaboration with the University at Buffalo Law School and the Minority Bar Association of Western New York. He lives in Amherst, N.Y. chapman

Bethany Hills Trachtenberg, MPH 2005 & JD 2004, is the new chair of the food, drug and cosmetic law section of the New York State Bar Association. She resides in New York, N.Y. Lisa Diaz-Ordaz, BA 2007, has joined Goldberg Segalla LLP as an associate in its Buffalo office. She resides in Clarence, N.Y.

Richard Gonzalez, PhD 2007 & MS 2003, has been appointed to the


Average number of annual networking events to bring students together with alumni

in Buffalo, N.Y. Brittany

Kristen Chapman, MS 2005 & BS 2004, was appointed to the board of directors of Lumsden & McCormick LLP. She lives

founding faculty of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. As an assistant professor of medical sciences, he teaches human gross anatomy and medical anthropology-related topics. Gonzalez lives in North Haven, Conn. Rachel Elzufon, BA 2008, accepted a position at WKBW Channel 7 Eyewitness News in Buffalo as a multimedia journalist. Elzufon was nominated for Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2012. She lives in Williamsville, N.Y.



Deborah Bauer, EMBA 2010, * has joined Buffalo Medical Group as chief financial officer. Bauer previously served as the chief executive officer of Olean Medical Group LLP, and she resides in Orchard Park, N.Y. Ryan Cupello, BFA 2010, was one of the actors cast in “My Fair Lady,” a production in the 2012 Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. He lives in Rochester, N.Y. Laura McFeely, BA 2010, accepted a position as an assistant account executive at Crowley Webb, a marketing communications agency in Buffalo, N.Y. She resides in Orchard Park, N.Y. Bethany Doohaluk, BS 2011, has joined Lumsden & McCormick LLP. She lives in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Jennifer Early, JD 2011, accepted a position at Berardi Immigration Law as an associate attorney. She resides in Buffalo, N.Y. Vanria DeMay, JD 2012, has joined Hiscock & Barclay LLP as an associate in the firm’s Rochester, N.Y., office. She lives in Rochester.

Nathan LaFrance, EdM 2012 & BA 2010, has been named assistant director of alumni & parent engagement at Dickinson Lafrance College in Carlisle, Penn. He previously served as graduate assistant for the UB Office of Alumni Relations.

Source: office of alumni relations for period june 1, 2001-May 31, 2012 UBTODAY Spring 2013






Congratulations to this year’s award winners Bringing distinction to themselves and the university through outstanding professional and personal achievement, loyal service to UB and exemplary service to their communities S a m u e l P. C ap e n Awa r d

*Ashok G. Kaveeshwar, PhD ’69, of Bethesda, Md. D r . P h i l i p B . W e l s O u t s ta n d i n g S e r v i c e Awa r d

*Marilyn Ciancio, EdM ’82 & BA ’75, of Eggertsville, N.Y. D r . R i c h a r d T. S a r k i n Awa r d fo r E x c e l l e n c e i n T e ac h i n g

*Jennifer Zirnheld, PhD ’04, MS ’97 & BS ’93, of Buffalo, N.Y. C l i f fo r d C . F u r n as M e m o r i a l Awa r d

John Schneider, PhD ’90, MS ’87 & BS ’80, of Amherst, N.Y. Wa lt e r P. C oo k e Awa r d

Cindy Abbott Letro, of Buffalo, N.Y. G e o r g e W. T h o r n Awa r d

Eric Reich, MBA ’02 & JD ’02, of Amherst, N.Y. Michael Weisman, MBA ’01, of Buffalo, N.Y. C o m m u n i t y L e a d e r s h i p Awa r d

Sister Janet DiPasquale, MSW ’82, of Buffalo, N.Y. D i s t i n g u i s h e d A lu m n i Awa r d

Isabel Robitaille CEO & Broker

Robert Beall, PhD ’70 & MA ’70, of Potomac, Md. Clark Manus, BA ’74, of San Francisco, Calif. *James Miller, PhD ’76, of Washington, D.C. Craig Smith, MD ’72, of Naples, Fla. I n t e r n at i o n a l D i s t i n g u i s h e d A lu m n i Awa r d

Richard Ru Gin Chang, MS ’79, of Shanghai, China Vo lu n t e e r R e co g n i t i o n Awa r d

To honor outstanding volunteer contributions to the university *Thomas Palmer, JD ’75 & MBA ’71, of East Amherst, N.Y. *Edward Ryczek, BS ’71, of Sun Lakes, Ariz. Claude E. Welch Jr., of Williamsville, N.Y. T h e A lu m n i A ssoc i at i o n Ac h i e v e m e n t Awa r d s w i l l b e h e l d

Friday, April 12, at 6 p.m.


46 UBTODAY Spring 2013

Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall Reception to follow in the Center for the Arts Atrium. Tickets are $75 each and are available by calling the alumni office at 1-800-284-5382, or online at *Asterisk indicates UBAA member




Alumni Association Achievement Awards

Steve Morse

ROB 032 sliver ad 2 revised_Layout 1 13-01-16 10:57 AM Page 1

Steve Morse

Member Spotlight

Latasha Allen, BA’01 Atlanta, Ga.

Why did you join UBAA? I joined UBAA when I graduated and found it a great way to stay connected with the university. It’s also been a great networking tool. I became even more involved in 2010 as leader of the Atlanta alumni chapter.

How long have you been a member? Since 2001.

What’s your background?


Gettin’ Dirty Oozefest, which takes place April 27, is time to revel in the dirty fun of mud volleyball competition. It’s a slathering mess guaranteed to please mud-caked competitors and onlookers too.

UB Alumni Association Achievement Awards


Slee Hall and the Center for the Arts, North Campus

UB Athletics Hall of Fame


Alumni Arena, North Campus

WNY Alumni After Hours: Bandits game


First Niagara Center, Buffalo

Concert with soprano Laura Aikin, BFA ’86


Distinguished Speakers Series with Steve Martin

04.27.13 Alumni Arena, North Campus

Various locations

UB at Noon Day Trip

Why are UBAA chapters important to alumni?


Chapters help build connections. I remember attending a picnic hosted by the New York City chapter prior to even completing my application to UB! It helped me feel comfortable because I didn’t get to visit the campus before moving to Buffalo for school. Today I volunteer as a chapter leader to stay connected with UB and network with alumni in the area. It’s always great to meet alumni, old and new, and to share fond memories of our college days.

Commencement Weekend


Lunch and theater in Pembroke, N.Y.

Ride for Roswell

06.22.13 UB North Campus

UB at Noon Day Trip


Harbor Lights, Dunkirk, N.Y.

Mud Pit, North Campus

What are some of your fond UB memories? I loved to perform, and I remember performing with the UB Gospel Choir, UB African Dance Troupe and the Caribbean Student Association all during one evening show. I was also involved with the NAACP as well as many other Student Association clubs that made UB feel like home away from home.

Slee Hall, North Campus


I’m a lieutenant commander with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and am based in Atlanta, Ga. As an epidemiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, I work closely with state and local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration to investigate cases of foodborne illness outbreaks. I earned my master’s degree in public health from Tulane University in 2002.


The asterisk says you are a member of the UB Alumni Association. Latasha’s a member. How about you?

All dates and times subject to change. Visit www.alumni. for updates. UBTODAY Spring 2013




Alumni share their thoughts

Unversity archives

Salisbury steak and veal parm: What are your best food memories from campus dining at UB? One of my favorite memories was having Lucky Charms in the Governors dining hall. I would never buy them myself or have them in my room, so at weekend brunch, I’d “treat” myself with the sweet marshmallows! I also loved eating at the kosher deli in Talbert Hall during lunchtime to enjoy a kosher burger or a boureka.


Ruth Kleinman, BA ’05 New York, N.Y.

food memories are the friendships. The dining hall was a great place to meet people, develop friendships, hang out and socialize. Many of those friendships remain after 47 years. Ken Schirmuhly, MBA ’73 & BS ’69 Webster, N.Y.

UB students dine at Goodyear Hall c. 1965.

The worst food that was always offered was Salisbury steak. My favorite memory was UB basketball legend Sam Pellom asking me how I could eat yogurt on the food service line in Goodyear Hall. The answer was simple: It was better than the Salisbury steak!


Ronald Balter, BA ’80 Brooklyn, N.Y.

My memory is that the food was fresh. Vegetables and fruit were wholesome and tasty, and only a small amount was transported long distances from other countries. We had more local food and less processed food.


Peter Gamba, BS ’69 Branchport, N.Y.

Nothing like that grease pit between Goodyear and Clement—“The Spot.” Those chicken sandwiches were quality stuff! Jeff Dubinsky, BA ’95 Pineville, N.C.

At Governors downstairs at night, I enjoyed the best fries with wing sauce and cheese—all of my suitemates used to get them all the time. Jim Larson, BA ’01 & BA ’97 Albany, N.Y.

I just remember the first two years (1988-1990). I lived in Pritchard and Goodyear and ate in Goodyear. The food wasn’t gourmet but, for a college student with an off-the-charts metabolism,

I loved the all-you-can-eat [menus] and took advantage of every meal! Ron Fazar, BA ’92 Pittsford, N.Y.

I came to campus in the fall of 1965, lived at the Allenhurst Apartments and dined at Goodyear Hall. The most memorable experience was the food poisoning we experienced, if I recall correctly, from tainted shrimp salad. The second was Jell-O; it seemed like it was served at every meal. I didn’t eat it for several years after. Initially, there was a dress code: For guys a collared shirt was required at dinner and a jacket and tie on Sunday— thankfully that was changed after one semester! The best

The first time I’d ever seen garbanzos or chickpeas was in the cafeteria, and I would not touch them because they looked like rabbit droppings! Now they are a regular part of my vegan diet, but in the form of hummus, not whole, naked garbanzos.


Virginia Jones, BA ’71 Aztec, N.M.

During the Blizzard of 1977, we were trapped in the Ellicott Complex for about a week. Things got to the point that Food Service had a large quantity of frozen veal parmigiana and apparently not much else. They served it in the cafeteria and provided it to students off meal service. Needless to say, I still can’t look at institutional veal parm (odd-shaped hockey pucks). Donald Drazan, BA ’80 Hannacroix, N.Y.

The question for In My Opinion derives from the monthly electronic newsletter @UB. To read previous issues, go to

48 UBTODAY Spring 2013

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