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Steven Sample, who led UB during 1980s, dies at 75

Steven B. Sample, who led the University at Buffalo for most of the 1980s, died Tuesday. He was 75.

Sample served as UB’s 12th president from 1982 to 1991, when he left to become president of the University of Southern California. USC officials announced Sample’s death.

Sample’s nine-year tenure at UB was marked by a shift in perception of the school, which retained its status as flagship of the State University of New York system under his watch.

“About a year after I came here, we started changing this view of UB as kind of a overgrown, ungainly private college,” Sample told The Buffalo News before his departure for California in 1991. “We began the transition of the ugly duckling into a nascent swan.”

Under Sample’s leadership, the school also became increasingly independent from state tax dollars.

Born in St. Louis, Sample earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In 2004, Sample received UB’s highest honor, the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal.

email: abesecker@buffnews.com