Dennis R. Black, one of the more prominent public figures at the University at Buffalo for many years and a long-standing senior administrator in the president’s cabinet, has resigned.
Black – whose tenure at UB dates back nearly 40 years, most recently serving as vice president for university life and services – resigned effective Thursday, according to UB President Satish K. Tripathi.
Tripathi announced Black’s resignation in a five-paragraph statement posted on the university’s website.
The president issued a memo to the university’s senior leadership and the University Life and Services Office in which he thanked Black for his service and wished him the best in his retirement, according to the post.
A UB spokesman said the university does not discuss personnel matters and will have no further comment, leaving unclear the circumstances surrounding Black’s abrupt departure.
Black, 60, also declined to discuss details of his resignation, except to call it a reflection of the times.
“I’ve had the privilege of being part of UB’s transformation in five decades with five presidents,” Black said in statement to The Buffalo News. “Now, it’s time for something new for UB student life and something new for me.”
The high-level shake-up came during the quiet summer months on campus but was nonetheless a surprise to many at UB, where Black had been a fixture since joining the university in 1978 as executive director of Sub Board I, a student-service corporation.
Black, who earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from UB, went on to serve as dean of students from 1988 to 1997, when he was named vice president for student affairs.
In 2010, he became vice president for University Life and Services, overseeing a wide range of campus operations from dining to university police.
Over the years, Black’s high-profile position made him, in many ways, a public face for the university, as he dealt with everyone from students to local government officials to celebrities and dignitaries who visited campus for UB’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
Black was often the UB figure at the forefront of “town-gown” relations and even co-hosted a monthly radio show on WBFO-FM with then President William R. Greiner.
He has been praised for his knowledge and understanding of student needs and services, which contributed to his longevity at UB. He managed to maneuver through the highly political world of higher education and stretch his tenure through that of five UB presidents: Robert L. Ketter, Steven Sample, Greiner, John B. Simpson and Tripathi.
Black is also well known in the Buffalo community.
He served as a trustee on the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and has chaired campaigns for the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. He previously served on the boards of Hilbert College and St. Joseph Collegiate Institute.
A search for a vice president of student affairs will begin in the coming weeks, Tripathi said in his statement.
“During the interim period, I will be evaluating UB’s administrative needs to determine the most appropriate organizational structure as we move forward,” Tripathi said.
Laura Hubbard, vice president for finance and administration, will assume Black’s duties on an interim basis effective immediately, the university said.