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A new president; Tripathi a strong choice to lead UB as it confronts new challenges

The University at Buffalo is ushering in a new era with the recent appointment of Provost Satish K. Tripathi to become the 15th president.

As one of the principal creators of the UB 2020 strategic plan to achieve academic and research excellence, the university gets the benefit of a leader who understands the critical needs of the campus and is poised to argue for this important legislation.

The bill, which is uncertain in the Assembly after passing the Senate, allows the university to differentiate tuition based on the programs offered, with caps. The build out of the plan also would bring thousands of construction jobs to the downtown Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, in addition to 13,000 new individuals for work and study.

The new UB president must continue the effort, as did his predecessor, John B. Simpson, who decided to retire after a tough fight last year for the legislation.

In Tripathi, 60, the university has a leader well versed in its unique characteristics, as must have been apparent to the Presidential Search Committee that chose from a pool of 68 national and international candidates.

The field of pre-eminent scholars from which the search committee chose had already served in administrative leadership roles as provost, vice president for research, vice president for health sciences and dean at leading institutions in the Association of American Universities.

Tripathi, an internationally recognized computer scientist, joined UB on July 1, 2004, after serving as dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California-Riverside.

The native of India is the first UB president born outside the United States. Through his role at the university, he has expanded the campus' footprint, which is 12th in the percentage of international students enrolled among all U.S. campuses. He led a strategic planning process for the university's international programs, including a key collaborative effort with the Indian prime minister.

He led the recruitment of many prominent faculty members to the university and oversaw a significant increase in the number of faculty hired to develop and enhance strengths in key areas of research and scholarly activity, according to the university. The effort allowed UB to achieve significant growth in research expenditures and federally awarded research grants, placing the university among the top national research universities in the country. As a new university president, Tripathi is already engaged in numerous important growth initiatives, from academic, research, legislation and capital development on campus.

Tripathi must still be approved by the full SUNY board. That is expected to occur in April. The search committee worked hard to find the right candidate to lead the university, and we hope its decision proves correct.

Tripathi will face many challenges in the years ahead, and we wish him well, but here is the test: The university had a shining star when Steven B. Sample from the University of Nebraska was its president in the 1980s. We've not seen anything close to Sample since.

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