Martin M. Meyerson, who served as the 10th president of the University at Buffalo during the late 1960s and laid the groundwork for construction of the North Campus in Amherst, died of prostate cancer Saturday in Philadelphia. He was 84.
Mr. Meyerson, a pre-eminent authority on city planning, had gained national exposure as acting chancellor at the University of California at Berkley in 1965, during the height of student unrest on the campus.
In 1966, at age 43, Mr. Meyerson took over as president at UB, where he would face similar student unrest and protest.
While at UB, Mr. Meyerson set out to bolster the university's academics and research. He helped attract some leading scholars to the fast-growing university and set in motion plans to build the campus in Amherst.
He was UB president when ground was broken for the North Campus in October 1968.
"Meyerson's presidency was noted for academic innovation in the period of rapid growth as the plans were laid, and ground was broken, for a new campus in Amherst," according to a short biography on the UB Web site.
Mr. Meyerson also took as his home the historic Darwin Martin House, which the state bought as the presidential residence in 1967 for $60,100.
"Although his tenure was marked with criticism from students for being too conservative, and by the community for being too liberal, he was credited with laying academic foundations for the university's future," according to a 1980 Buffalo Evening News article on Mr. Meyerson.
Mr. Meyerson stepped down as UB president in 1969 and became president of the University of Pennsylvania in 1970. He served at the Ivy League school until 1981. During retirement, he served on numerous boards and in advisory positions.
A native of New York City, Mr. Meyerson earned a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master's in city and regional planning from Harvard.
Early in his career, he taught at the University of Chicago, Penn and Harvard before becoming dean of the College of Environmental Design at Berkeley.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Margy, and two sons, Adam and Matthew.