OCR Interpretation


The Spectrum (Buffalo, N.Y.) 1955-current, December 11, 1978, Image 2

Image and text provided by University at Buffalo

Persistent link: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/np00130006/1978-12-11/ed-1/seq-2/


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‘ I M Our dismal limbo: * UB s rapid-fire expansion followed by fiscal conservatism and cutbacks I results in a discontinuity of history | by Robert Basil i You looked at a cabbage patch and saw a beautiful campus; looked ■ at an almshouse and saw a Liberal Arts College. —A description of Chancellor Charles Norton’s - — vision of a great University of Buffalo Shrouded by several transfor- mations during its 132 year his- tory, UB's origins and early history remain largely unknown to its students. Although the changes undergbne by this Univer- sity are unique in themselves, they have obscured some of UB’s note- worthy singularities. The Arts and Sciences college, which found its home on the present Main Street Campus, is a relatively recent' UB’s history. With Congressman Mil' Fillmore as prime supportci UB held its first classes — in med- teaching students about childbirth by actually watching one - was first done here, resulting in a public furor and several lawsuits. The UB Med School was also the first one in the country to prac- tice on animals. And Dr. Roswell Park, after whom the Roswell Park Memorial Institute for Can- cer Research is named, was the first physician in the United States to receive public funds for search. the final years of 19th century, harmacy, Law and Dentistry schools were es- tablished, and quickly pros- pered. icine - at a small building on Washington and Seneca Streets down- town in May of 1846. Although theological and law schools wer also authorized by the City Council, only the Medical School was organ- ized. It was to be the only school for 40 years. This motley assemblage of graduate schools comprised the University .until 1916, when Uni- versity Chancellor Charles Norton, among others, Tha Pharmacy and Dantal schools ware established in the of which UB totally consisted until the Arts and Sciences 1880s, to complete the triumvarata of professional schools school was initiated thirty years later. experimentation and academic freedom. excitement over where we were going we failed to preserve a sense of where we had been. After squabbling with the City Council over monetary support for the University, an Arts and Sciences college, was finally established wifh $250,000 endowment from Mrs. Seymour Knox, mother of the Chairman emeritus of the Collegd Council. Finally a full-service University, with Samuel Capen as the first full-time Chancellor, UB was on its way to becoming an international leader in education, renowned for liberal Hall This special issue, the first of a two part series dealing with the highlights of UB’s past, spans UB history from its birth in 1846 to the time UB became a SUNY school in the early sixties. The second issue — to be published in the Spring - will continue to the present, featuring radicalism of the riot years at the turn of the decade. Congrawnn, President Fillmore Retaining autonomy UB’s growth after the SUNY system merger, and its transformation into a mere arm of a state-wide insititution, have led to a discontinuity of tradition. According to Shonnie Finnegan, director of the University’s Archives, the \State really hasn’t given much thought to retaining a sense of autonomy here.” And perhaps the most glaring difference between UB and comparable eastern schools where students can kick chestnuts into the Charles River on the way to the same hall where John Quincy Adams attended classes, is that UB keeps changing campuses on us. Before the establishment of the Arts and Sciences school, most of the University buildings were scattered throughout the city. Then the Main Street Campus was established and the buildings were appropriately named after important figures in the school’s development, such as Norton, Thomas Lockwood (who provided half the construction for the original Lockwood Library in 1935), and Capen. On the Main Street Campus, the buildings so named were a daily organic reminder of our history. Now that the names, as well as most of the classes and activities here, are moving to the new Amherst campus, the visual sense of what’s been is being destroyed. If nothing else, this special section will serve as a reminder to the University community that UB has a longstanding reputation for being a colorful institution with a formidable background of innovative academia — which need not be truncated by fiscal crises in Albany and a conservative administration. UB't first Chancellor, 1846-1874 convinced of the need for an under- graduaie school, convinced the College Council to buy approxi- mately 60 acres of land enclosed by Main Street and Bailey Avenue, then populated by a cab- bage patch, an almshouse (poor- house) — later Hayes Hall - and a nurses’ residence - now Wende Watching childbirth UB soon won a reputation for innovation, and sometimes radi- cal, experimentation. Research in clinital obstetrics, - namely A vanquished memory Why a special issue on UB’s history? Our school is a curious one whose growth hascome in violent spurts and twists - yet that isn’t the primary reason. Today, this University has summarily vanquished the memory of its past and new stands before a bleak future in a somewhat depressing limbo. In order for a university, as well as its student body, to sustain a spirit of vibrant identity, it’s necessary to retain a strong sense of where it has been — as well as where it is going. Johns Hopkins, Harvard and Boston Universities have extensive histories fraught with tradition and precedents by which today’s members can find their place. And the present atmosphere at more modern universities like Berkeley, UCLA and Stanford, which not boasting of outstanding past events, is certainly inspired by sparkling future hopes — be they academic, athletic or research-oriented. In light of New-York State’s commitment to SUNY and the current bickering among UB Faculties, this University’s future is certainly in doubt. The past is '■tJUried under hopes for rapidflre expansion, derived from the Rockefeller years and designed to increase the size of the university ten-fold. Those hopes simply are not being realized. In the ‘The Spectrum’ wishes to thank the University Archives and its Director, Shonnie Finnegan, for the tremendous help in compiling the information and photos for this special issue. Ninataanth century UB Mad studants pick apart a cadavar in astablishad in 1846, quickly prosparad at the only school a smokay room. Two look astaap. Tha Madical School. hare for over forty yaan. V, ' V

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