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A retired professor has given Buffalo State College $1 million -- equal to the largest gifts in the institution's history.

Horace Mann, distinguished service professor emeritus of exceptional education, directed that the charitable annuity go toward funding scholarships, bringing in speakers and supporting innovative faculty work in his field.

"I'd prefer to see it used not primarily for things like computers but for people," he said.

Before retiring 10 years ago, Mann had been a Buffalo State professor for nearly four decades and director of the exceptional-education program for 25 years. He was a pioneer in the field, which teaches future teachers how to educate retarded children.

He is credited with turning what was a small exceptional-education program into one of the largest undergraduate and master's degree programs of its type in the United States.

"Dr. Mann's contributions to Buffalo State as a teacher, scholar and educational leader are extraordinary and unsurpassed," said Buffalo State President Muriel A. Howard.

"How fitting that this gift, the largest of its kind, should come not only from one of our own faculty but from Hank, a truly wonderful human being whose legacy at Buffalo State is already destined to endure for generations."

Mann has devoted himself to improving services for people with disabilities and fostering better understanding of the needs and capabilities of those with developmental disabilities. When he retired, his colleagues established a scholarship in his name.

He is a past president of the American Association on Mental Retardation and the Foundation for Exceptional Children. In 1965, he was invited to the White House for the signing of a bill on mental retardation.

Earlier this year, Mann received the Distinguished Alumnus Medal from Brooklyn College, where he earned bachelor's degrees in sociology and psychology. He also holds a master's in history from Columbia University and the first doctorate in special education conferred by Pennsylvania State University.

His professional honors include the 1996 Burton Blatt Humanitarian Award, given by the state Division on Mental Retardation and the Development Disabilities Council for Exceptional Children; the 1998 Distinguished Educator Award of the American Association on Mental Retardation; and a 1997 honorary doctorate of humane letters from the State University of New York.


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