University of Buffalo President Simpson to speak at Millard Fillmore’s 2010 birthday observance

January 5, 2011

Baird Point at University of Buffalo's North Campus

Baird Point at University of Buffalo's North Campus; tradition holds that the university was founded by Millard Fillmore, its first chancellor

John B. Simpson, President of the University of Buffalo

John B. Simpson, President of the University of Buffalo, will speak at a ceremony honoring President Millard Fillmore on the 211th anniversary of Fillmore's birth.

Press release from the University of Buffalo:

News Release

Simpson to Speak at Ceremony Commemorating 211th Birthday of Millard Fillmore

Release Date: January 4, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The 211th anniversary of the birth of Millard Fillmore, the University at Buffalo’s first chancellor and 13th president of the United States, will be celebrated at a ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 7 at Fillmore’s gravesite in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.

UB President John B. Simpson will present the memorial address at the annual observance, which honors Fillmore, who played a major role in the founding of numerous cultural, civic and community organizations in Erie County.

Hosted by UB, the Forest Lawn Group and the Buffalo Club, the event will be free and open to the public, and each year draws a wide range of community supporters.

“The annual Millard Fillmore commemoration is a time-honored tradition that celebrates the life of a man who made considerable contributions to Buffalo and the United States,” said William J. Regan, director of special events at UB.”

Col. Jim S. McCready, vice wing commander of the 107th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard based at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, will place a wreath from the White House at the gravesite.

Officials from the Buffalo Club, the Forest Lawn Group and UB will also be on hand to present wreaths.

The Rev. Joel Miller of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo will provide an invocation. The UB Police Color Guard will present the flags. To close the ceremony, West Richter, a UB undergraduate and a member of the UB Marching Band, will play taps.

A reception will follow immediately in the Forest Lawn Chapel.

Born on Jan. 7, 1800, Fillmore was instrumental in founding the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, the Buffalo Club and the Buffalo General Hospital. His activities also led to the creation of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy and the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences.

Some historians credit the former teacher, postmaster, lawyer and member of Congress with establishing the White House Library.

This year’s commemoration marks the 46th consecutive year UB has programmed the ceremony, a tradition that dates back to 1937.

From 1937 until 1965, the anniversary ceremonies were a cooperative staging by the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Board of Education.

The events were administered by Irving R. Templeton, a 1909 graduate of UB, who scheduled two programs annually on or near Jan. 7, one in City Hall and one in Forest Lawn. Templeton was a partner in the law offices of Templeton, Turnabull & Templeton.

Following his death in 1965, responsibility for the event shifted to UB through an agreement between Chancellor Clifford C. Furnas and Alfred E. Kirchhofer, editor of The Buffalo Evening News. While UB participated in programming prior to Templeton’s death, the 1966 event marked the start of UB’s role as official steward of the annual community event.

The vice president for university relations and the Office of Public Affairs programmed the event from 1966-87, when the Office of Special Events began managing the program.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.


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