List of University at Buffalo people

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This is a list of people connected to the State University of New York at Buffalo. There are more than 230,000 living alumni of UB. Notable alumni include the CEO's of Paramount Pictures and A+E Networks, two NASA astronauts, a recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award, and a former Prime Minister. UB is one of the only two institutions of higher learning in the United States which were founded by a U.S. President (Millard Fillmore), with the other one being the University of Virginia.

Notable faculty[edit]

This list includes both present and former faculty members.

Nobel Laureates[edit]

Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Ronald H. Coase Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics (1991) Former professor (1951–1958)
J.M. Coetzee South African author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (2003) Former professor (1968–1971)
Sir John Carew Eccles Australian winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine (1963) for discoveries concerning the ionic mechanisms involved in excitation and inhibition in the peripheral and central portions of the nerve cell membrane (synapse). Distinguished Professor of Physiology and Biophysics (1968–1975)
Herbert A. Hauptman Winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1985) Research Professor of Biophysical Sciences, Director of the Medical Foundation of Buffalo

Award recipients[edit]

Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
John Barth Author known for postmodern style and winner of the National Book Award Former professor (1965–1973)
Robert Creeley Poet and winner of the Bollingen Prize for poetry
Carl Dennis Poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry Professor
Irving Feldman Poet and MacArthur Foundation Fellow Former professor (1962-2004)
Stephen McKinley Henderson Pulitzer Prize winner and Tony Award-nominated stage and screen actor. Recognized as a veteran performer of playwright August Wilson's ouvre. Professor and former chair in the Department of Theater and Dance
Richard Aaker Trythall Composer, pianist, Guggenheim Fellow and winner of the Rome Prize Former professor (1972–1973)


Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Tim Dean British philosopher, author, notable in the field of contemporary queer theory Director of The Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis and Culture
Isaac Ehrlich Academic economist and researcher, founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Human Capital Chair of the Department of Economics
Michel Foucault Historian and philosopher Visiting professor (early 1970s)
René Girard Historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science Distinguished Professor (1971–1976)
Paul Goldstein globally recognized expert on intellectual property law; awarding-winning author professor of law (1967-1975)
Charles Haynie long-time faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Degree Programs An award was established in his name after his death in 2001
Bruce Jackson Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1971); was nominated for a Grammy (1974); former president of the American Folklore Society (1984); Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Folklore Center in the Library of Congress (1988–89, trustee 1984-89); and director, then trustee of the Newport Folk Foundation (1965—) SUNY Distinguished Professor; Samuel P. Capen Professor of American Culture in 1997; James Agee Professor of American Culture
Robert L. Ketter Authority on earthquake engineering research and a former president of UB First chairman of the Civil Engineering Department; dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences; university president from 1970 through 1981
Paul Kurtz Founder and chairman of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal), the Council for Secular Humanism, the Center for Inquiry, and Prometheus Books Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
David Mark (scientist) Pioneer of Geographic information science SUNY Distinguished Professor
Steve McCaffery Canadian poet and scholar Holds the Gray Chair at UB
Lester Walter Milbrath Environmental academic and public intellectual Professor of Political Science 1965-1991
Charles Mingus Jazz bassist, composer, bandleader and pianist. Slee Professor of Music (1971)
Roswell Park Founder of Roswell Park Cancer Institute Former Professor of Surgery
Emanuel Parzen Statistician, pioneered the use of kernel density estimation (Parzen window) Former professor (1970–1978)
Jayant Patel Nicknamed "Dr. Death" by the Australian media Former Assistant Professor of Surgery in the 1980s
David Riesman Law scholar and sociologist Visiting Professor (1937–1941)
Stephen Schanuel Mathematician known for discovering "Schanuel's lemma" Professor of Mathematics
Albert R. Shadle Professor Chairman of Biology Department (1919–1953) and Professor of Biology
Bill Siemering Director of Programming and founding program director for National Public Radio; Manager of university-sponsored radio station WBFO; recipient of MacArthur Foundation genius grant in 1993
Leo Smit Composer of contemporary classical music Former professor
Craig Venter Geneticist; founder of Celera Genomics and the J. Craig Venter Institute; Time magazine's 2007 and 2008 lists of the 100 most influential people in the world Former professor
Ernst Witebsky Former professor and chair of the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology (1941–1967); director of the Center for Immunology (1967 until his death in 1969)
Ta-You Wu Chinese physicist known as the "Father of Chinese Physics" and president of Academia Sinica (1983–1994) Former professor and chair of the Department of Physics (1968–1983)

Collegiate athletics[edit]

Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Warde Manuel Director of Athletics of the Connecticut Huskies Former athletic director (2006-2012)
Danny White Director of Athletics of the Buffalo Bulls Former Athletic Director(2012-2015)

Notable alumni[edit]

Law, politics, and government[edit]

Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Harry Bronson New York State Assemblyman
Chaturon Chaisang Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand B.A. in Economics
Sara Horowitz Founder of Freelancers Union and Board Member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York J.D.
Jack Davis Industrialist and politician B.S. '55 in Industrial Engineering
Paul L. Friedman Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit J.D. in 1968
Julio M. Fuentes Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit J.D. in 1975
Anthony H. Gioia Former United States Ambassador to Malta B.A.
Peter Kadzik Head of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legislative Affairs B.A. '74
Nicole Lee Former president of TransAfrica J.D. '02 and B.A. '00
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Prime Minister of Somalia, President of Somalia B.A. History, 1993; M.A. American Studies, 2009
John Morgan Wisconsin State Assemblyman M.D. 1873
Vice Admiral Robert B. Murrett Director of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency B.A. in History, 1975
Jack Quinn Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and president of Erie Community College Ed.M. '78
Jeanine Pirro Host of the Fox News Channel legal show Justice with Judge Jeanine B.A. 1971
Dave Weldon Republican member of the United States House of Representatives M.D.
Michael A. Battle Director of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys J.D. in 1984
Henry J. Nowak Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives J.D. in 1961
Donald R. Miller New York State Assemblyman, represents the 121st district
Denise O'Donnell Former United States Attorney for the Western District of New York
Mark Poloncarz County Executive of Erie County, New York B.A.
Michael Ranzenhofer Member of the New York State Senate J.D. '79
Hugh B. Scott Magistrate Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of New York
Virginia A. Seitz Former United States Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the United States Department of Justice J.D. '85
Michael A. Telesca Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of New York
Dennis Vacco New York State Attorney General (1994-1998)
Dale Volker New York State Senator
Raymond Walter New York State Assemblyman
Jeffrey White Judge, United States District Court for the Western District of New York
Ji Zhou Minister of Education for the People's Republic of China

Science, technology, and engineering[edit]

Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Ellen Shulman Baker Astronaut on the Space Shuttle Atlantis and NASA medical officer B.A. '74 in Geology[1] Ellen Louise Shulman Baker.jpg
Erich Bloch Former Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation B.S. in Electrical Engineering
Bram Cohen Creator of the BitTorrent peer-to-peer client
Angelo F. Coniglio Civil engineer, educator, genealogist and author B.S.C.E. 1961, M.S.C.E. 1971
Alfred P. Southwick steam-boat engineer, dentist, professor, credited with inventing the electric chair as a method of legal execution
Wilson Greatbach Recipient of the Lemelson–MIT Prize and National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 1990 M.S. in 1957
Gregory Jarvis NASA astronaut on the Space Shuttle Challenger B.S. '67
Norman McCombs Recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2013 B.S. in 1968
Christopher Scolese Director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, former Administrator of NASA, and recipient of the NASA Distinguished Service Medal B.S. '74[2]
Jeffrey Umland Chief Mechanical Engineer of NASA's InSight mission, former Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Curiosity rover B.S. '85 and Ph.D '91 in Mechanical Engineering
Jeffrey Wigand First tobacco industry executive to become a major whistleblower against the industry; subject of the feature film The Insider B.A. Chemistry, M.A. Biochemistry, Ph.D. Biochemistry


Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
George Edward Fell Early developer of artificial ventilation, also investigated the physiology of electrocution, created the final design for the first electric chair in New York State
Wilson Greatbatch Inventor of improved versions of the cardiac pacemaker
Orvan Hess Medical doctor noted for early use of penicillin and developing the cardiotocograph
Donnica Moore Physician and women's health advocate; author and media commentator on women's health issues M.D. '86
Maynard Jack Ramsay Entomologist, listed in American Men of Science and Who's Who in America


Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
John Alm Former CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises
Pete Augustine President and CEO of New Era Cap Company B.S. '87 in accounting and finance
Alan Brownstein Former CEO of the American Cancer Society
Millard S. Drexler CEO of J. Crew and former CEO of Gap Inc.
Mindy Lubber President of Ceres (organization) MBA
Ian Bruce Eichner Founder of The Continuum Company, LLC; real estate developer
Gregg S. Fisher Founder of Gerstein Fisher B.S. in Finance
John Hewitt Founder, President, and CEO of Liberty Tax Service, Co-founder of Jackson Hewitt
Jeremy Jacobs Billionaire and CEO of Delaware North Companies and owner of the Boston Bruins B.A. in Business Administration
Jeff Jacobson CEO of Xerox B.S. in Business Administration
John Kapoor Billionaire and founder of Akorn PhD
Robin Yanhong Li Billionaire and founder, chairman and CEO of, the most popular search engine in China. M.S. Computer Science
Chris Sacca #3 Venture Capitalist LOWERCASE Capital coursework in mathematics
Kevin P. Maloney Founding Partner of Property Markets Group
Robert E. Rich, Sr. Founder of Rich Products Corporation
Christopher Thornberg Founding Partner and CEO of Beacon Economics, LLC B.S. '89 in Business Administration
Tathagata Dasgupta Chief Data Science Officer, Viacom Master's Degree in Statistics, '92


Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Wolf Blitzer Emmy Award-winning journalist for CNN B.A. in history, 1970[3] Wolf Blitzer 2011 crop.jpg
Greg D'Alba Former President of CNN News Networks B.A. '81
Ira Flatow Emmy Award-winning science journalist; former host of Newton's Apple; current host of NPR's Science Friday
Terry Gross Peabody Award-winning host of the radio interview program Fresh Air
Howard Kurtz Media reporter and columnist at the Washington Post B.A. in psychology/English 1974
Steve Liesman Emmy Award-winning journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner; CNBC Senior Economics Reporter
Tom Toles Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post
Nick Gillespie Editor of and and former editor-in-chief of Reason magazine Ph.D. in English Literature

Film, theatre, and television[edit]

Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Maury Chaykin Actor BFA in theatre, 1972[4]
Katharine Cornell Tony Award-winning actress on broadway and member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame Did not graduate
Matthew Cooper 2016 Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Trans-Media Sports Coverage - NBC Sports B.A. '14 Media Studies
Thomas Curley 2015 Academy Award winner for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing B.A. '01 Film Studies
James Foley Director of House of Cards B.A. in Psychology '74
Shep Gordon Hollywood film agent and producer; featured in the 2014 documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon B.A. '68 in Sociology
Brad Grey Golden Globe winner; television and film producer; CEO of Paramount Pictures B.A. '79 in communication and business
Max Grodénchik Television and film actor
Robert Lieberman Director of Fire in the Sky and Table for Five
Abbe Raven Chairwoman and former CEO and president of A&E Television Networks, founder of The History Channel B.A. '74 in theatre[5]
Jordan Schlansky Producer at Conan
Parry Shen Chinese American actor
Ron Silver Actor and political activist
Ellen Spiro Documentary filmmaker; Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellow
Roy Vongtama Actor; board-certified radiation oncologist M.D. '00
John Walsh Host of America's Most Wanted 1965[6]
Bil Zelman Photographer and director BFA '96
Alan Zweibel Comedy writer, multiple Emmy Award winner, and one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live


Zhijian James Chen Member of the National Academy of Sciences Ph.D. in Biochemistry '91
Marc Edwards (civil engineering professor) Expert on water treatment and corrosion, professor at Virginia Tech, and MacArthur Fellow
Steven A. Cohen (academic) Executive Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University Ph.D. and M.A.
Mark Huddleston President of the University of New Hampshire B.A. in Political Science
Sung-Mo Kang President of the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology M.S. in Electrical Engineering '72
Ann Kirschner Academic; entrepreneur; author of Sala's Gift; launched NFL.COM for the National Football League; co-founder of Columbia University's interactive knowledge network; University Dean of William E. Macaulay Honors College of The City University of New York B.A. in English '72
C. L. Max Nikias President of the University of Southern California Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering
William J. Rapaport Researcher on intentionality and artificial intelligence, professor at UB M.S. '84 in Computer Science
Blair A. Rudes Linguist known for his work on Native American languages Ph.D. '76 in Linguistics, M.A. '74, B.A. '73
Murat Soygeniş Architect and professor, Founding Principal, S+ ARCHITECTURE M. Arch. in 1985
Sema Soygeniş Architect and professor, Dean - BAU School of Architecture M. Arch. in 1986
Ewa Ziarek Julian Park Professor of Comparative Literature at UB Ph.D. and M.A.
Robert E. Wright Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana College (South Dakota) M.A., History, Ph.D. History


Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Charles Baxter Author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; Guggenheim Fellow
Taylor Caldwell Anglo-American novelist B.A. in English, 1931
Mary Cappello Guggenheim Fellow and Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island M.A. and Ph.D
Graham Foust Poet and associate professor at Saint Mary's College of California Ph.D. '02
Richard Hofstadter Pulitzer Prize-winning historian; author of Anti-intellectualism in American Life and The Age of Reform
Michael Kelleher Poet; program director of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prizes at Yale University M.A. in English (Poetics) '01
Anthony Petrosky Poet and 1982 Walt Whitman Award winner
Donald Revell Poet, essayist, translator, Guggenheim Fellow, and 2004 Lenore Marshall Award winner
Elizabeth Willis Poet, literary critic, and Guggenheim Fellow


Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Jay Beckenstein Saxophone player and co-founder of Spyro Gyra B.A. in music, 1973 JayBeckensteinPerforming.jpg
Keith Buckley Vocalist, lyricist and founding member of Buffalo-based hardcore band Every Time I Die and metal supergroup The Damned Things B.A. in English
Rob Derhak Bassist, lyricist and founding member of Buffalo-based jam-band moe.
Ronnie James Dio Heavy metal vocalist and songwriter; lead singer of Rainbow 1975-1979; lead singer and creator of Dio; lead singer of Black Sabbath 1979-1982
Morton Feldman Composer and Edgard Varèse Professor of Music
Chuck Garvey Guitarist, lyricist and founding member of the Buffalo-based jam-band moe.
Paddy Hagan Lead tambourine player for legendary rock band Dan and the PussykatZ
Willie Nile, aka Robert Noonan Singer, songwriter B.A. in Philosophy, 1971
Valerian Ruminski Bass singer; recipient of a Richard Tucker Career Grant, the Lincoln Center Martin Segal Award, a William Mattheus Sullivan Foundation Grant, a 2004 Gerda Lissner Foundation Grant, a Liederkranz Prize, and the 1st Prize in the MacAllister Singing Competition Bachelor of Music '95
Elliott Sharp Multi-instrumentalist, composer, and performer M.A. in Music Theory and Composition '77

Sports and athletics[edit]

Name Known for Relationship to University at Buffalo
Jonathan Akpoborie Nigerian soccer player
Dave Hahn Professional mountain guide, ski patroller, journalist and lecturer B.A. '84
Turner Battle Former basketball player (led the Bulls to their first NIT appearance), basketball coach B.A. in 2006
Sam Craven English soccer player
Michael Cross Director of Athletics, Bradley University B.S. '91, M.A. '93
Steve Geltz MLB Pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays B.A. in 2008
Desmond Green MAC champion; three-time Division 1 NCAA qualifier wrestler; mixed martial artist in Bellator Major in Social Sciences 2011
Joe Hesketh Former MLB pitcher (1984-1994) B.A. in 1980
Chris Kanyon Professional wrestler in World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment Bachelor's degree in physical therapy
Khalil Mack NFL player, Oakland Raiders, 5th overall 2014 draft pick B.A. '14
Javon McCrea Mid-American Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year in 2014 B.A. '14
Liam McHugh Studio host for the NBC Sports Network, anchoring much of its staple programming, including the NHL, Tour De France and college football/basketball B.A. '97 in communication
Tom Murphy Professional baseball player for a minor league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies B.A. in 2012
Matvey Natanzon Backgammon player B.A. in Accounting, 1991
Branden Oliver Running back for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League B.A. in 2014
Dominic Oppong Canadian soccer player
Gerry Philbin Member of the 1968 World Champion New York Jets
Jamey Richard Center for the Indianapolis Colts
Trevor Scott Defensive end for the Oakland Raiders
James Starks Running back for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL
John Stofa Miami Dolphins (AFL, NFL) quarterback, first expansion draft selection of the Cincinnati Bengals AFL)
Josh Thomas Cornerback in the National Football League
Mitchell Watt Player for Hapoel Gilboa Galil of the Israeli Basketball Super League B.A. in 2012
Jake Schum Punter for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL

Chancellors and presidents[edit]

From its inception until 1962, the private school was known as the University of Buffalo, and it was headed by a chancellor. Since it became the public State University of New York at Buffalo, it has been called the University at Buffalo, and the CEO is its president.[7][8]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]