Campus News

UB Council gets update on Boldly Buffalo


Published June 12, 2018

headshot of Rod Grabowski
“That’s the energy and enthusiasm that happens through a campaign and we’re excited to see it being translated into actual giving.”
Rodney Grabowski, vice president for university advancement

The prospective donor from California had decided on a $100,000 gift to UB to fund a student scholarship.

But after viewing four videos made for Boldly Buffalo: The Campaign for UB, and seeing other campaign material and “where the president is taking this university, he decided that wasn’t going to be enough,” Rodney M. Grabowski, vice president for university advancement, told the UB Council at the group’s meeting on Monday.

The donor increased his $100,000 gift to $1.1 million.

“And he also said to the president two weeks ago that he’s not done,” Grabowski said as he updated council members on the campaign, which launched publicly on April 27 with $450 million in hand.

“That’s the energy and enthusiasm that happens through a campaign and we’re excited to see it being translated into actual giving.”

Since the launch, the campaign total has grown to $457.7 million, he said, adding that he expects that to increase to $460 million to $462 million by the end of June.

“We are making definite progress,” he said.

Grabowski explained the campaign’s public launch coincided with UB’s national Day of Giving, which aimed to raise donations from 1,846 donors — representing the year the university was founded and doubling the number of donors at last’s year’s Day of Giving — and to top last year’s monetary goal of $98,000. This year’s effort exceeded the number of donors with 1,946 and far exceeded the monetary goal by raising $322,000, which “more than tripled the amount of money that came in on the national Day of Giving in a 24-hour period that is pretty much all cash,” he said.

Grabowski noted that regional campaign kickoffs are planned for September and October in Western New York, New York City and Washington, D.C., and regional events and dinners are scheduled for November through next June. Campaign representatives also will make a swing through Florida in February to talk about the campaign and engage alumni. In fact, campaign events are being planned through 2020 and beyond, he said. There is no end date for the campaign, he said, “because this campaign will last as long as the university feels the marketing, branding, energy and fundraising are working.”

At the council meeting, Grabowski also introduced campaign co-directors Jason B. Diffenderfer, senior associate vice president for advancement, and Kathleen S. Heckman, associate vice president for administration. Diffenderfer, who Grabowski said has overall responsibility for all fundraising at UB, is a new hire, along with Cynthia Khoo-Robinson, associate vice president for alumni engagement and annual giving. “All three of them really represent the core of all that we do,” Grabowski said.

In other business, Graham Hammill, vice provost for educational affairs and dean of the Graduate School, briefed the council on the progress of One World Café, the international eatery being planned for the North Campus.

The café, part of the Heart of the Campus project, is designed to serve the growing dining needs of the North Campus, as well as provide seats for informal student get-togethers and student learning, Hammill said.

Located between Norton and Capen halls, it will provide a gateway to the North Campus from both the Flint Loop and Hamilton Loop entrances to the spine. It also will “promote UB’s standing as a world-class international university that prioritizes educating students in global citizenship,” he said.

In addition, UB is talking with project designer Cannon Design on how to integrate UB’s faculty research on food-related issues into the new space, he said.

Hammill said the project currently is in the schematic design phase, with construction expected to begin in the fall. Completion is slated for the 2020-21 academic year.