Simpson to Speak on Improving Access to Higher Ed

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: January 13, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo President John B. Simpson will speak about a cause close to his heart -- improving public access to higher education -- on Jan. 19 as part of a lecture series sponsored by the UB Graduate School of Education.

The president's talk -- "Equitable Access to Educational Opportunity: Building a Strong PreK-16 Educational Pipeline" -- will be given from 8:30-10 a.m. in the Buffalo/Niagara Marriott, 1340 Millersport Hwy., Amherst. Registration and breakfast begin at 8 a.m.

The lecture is open to the public. Cost for the breakfast lecture is $30; full-time students may attend for $12. To register by phone, please call (716) 645-6642, or send a fax to (716) 645-2479.

At the ceremony officially making him UB's 14th president, Simpson called upon his colleagues to address this critical social issue.

"We in public education must be vigilant in asking ourselves, 'Are we doing all that we can to ensure equity -- and not just socio-economic, but racial and ethnic, gender and cultural equity -- in student access to higher education?'" he said. "We must do so not only because it is part of our public mission and because it is simply the right thing to do, but as well because higher education is foundational to our society and vital to our democracy."

UB is uniquely positioned to build a foundation for improved access by fostering a strong educational system from kindergarten through post-graduate instruction.

Simpson's presentation will provide an overview of some of the resources and strategies UB is employing to address this key objective, as well as looking at some of the challenges the region faces in terms of creating and maintaining a strong and healthy education pipeline from kindergarten through post-graduate programs.

Simpson has more than 30 years of experience in higher education. Prior to his appointment as UB president, he held the posts of campus provost and executive vice chancellor for the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he served from 1998-2003. Prior to that, Simpson spent 23 years at the University of Washington, where he joined the Department of Psychology faculty in 1975, later serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1994-98. A native of California, Simpson received his bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara and his doctorate from Northwestern University in neurobiology and behavior.