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The Clock Winder - Alumni - University at Buffalo
University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
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Onetime Clock-winder Applauds Time's March Forward in Hayes Hall

Michael Tunkey, Cannon Design. Photo: Douglas Levere (BA '89)

As important moments go, you might say Michael Tunkey (BPS '00) has had a bunch of them.

“You kind of had to go up the normal stairs and then, almost like in that John Malkovich movie where there were 8½ floors, you had to crawl through this weird little door and then go through this hole."

When Tunkey, now a principal at Cannon Design, was an architecture student at UB, winding the four-faced clock in Hayes Hall’s tower was, for a time, his job and his alone.

“You kind of had to go up the normal stairs,” he recalls, “and then, almost like in that John Malkovich movie (“Being John Malkovich”) where there were 8½ floors, you had to crawl through this weird little door and then go through this hole.”

Since Tunkey graduated from UB in 2000, the hands of time have reciprocated, taking good care of him. Though boyish-looking and still thin enough to climb that tower again, he’s built in 15 short years the accomplished resume of an older architect, contributing to Cannon’s growth through active design and being a leader.

When Tunkey returned to Hayes Hall for a tour while it was being restored, he remembered being a tired student in that building. But the Hayes he recalled no longer existed except in his mind. Even the presence of sunlight in the rafters on the fourth floor, arresting evidence of a new skylight installed to illuminate an airy loft-style studio marked a dramatic change from the days when Tunkey roamed the building as a student.

Tunkey was delighted by what he saw. Pulling out his smart phone to shoot a photo through the new skylight of the clock he used to wind, he smiled. It was like he’s quoted saying on Cannon’s website: “I’ve never met anyone who didn’t enjoy a quiet room with a sunny view.”
--Excerpted from At Buffalo magazine