This is a wonderful time to be in CBE at UB. Last week, I met a fresh batch of incoming graduate students, eager to start the next phase of their academic journey. We also welcome back our continuing undergraduate students and are reminded of the tremendous energy they bring to the campus and the department. The past year has been one of great success for the department, in terms of research grants, faculty and student awards, and a return to our annual Graduate Research Symposium in the fall and Ruckenstein Lecture in the spring.
CBE is very proud of the quality and capabilities of the students in our undergraduate program, and we want to see them succeed in every way. One measure of success is their advancement toward the degree, and their chemical engineering education prepares them to be successful in their careers. CBE students have won major national awards, such as the Marshall Scholarship, Goldwater Scholarship, NSF Fellowship, and more. We continually work to grow the number of students garnering these recognitions by encouraging them to compete and coaching and mentoring them so that they can achieve success.
With the launch of the Thomas Weber Outstanding Dissertation Award, the faculty had occasion to review the dissertations of twenty PhD students who recently graduated and appreciate the tremendous depth and breadth of graduate research in the department. These students are not only generating new knowledge but are addressing some of the most pressing problems facing our planet. Their contributions range from medical advances like synthetic vascular grafts and reversal of cellular senescence (aging) to technologies to capture CO2, generate and utilize H2, and address challenges of plastic recycling and behavior of “forever chemicals” in our environment.
Meanwhile, our faculty members are on a roll, winning awards and bringing in new grants, including a $4.5 million plastics recycling research center and multiple new grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and others. The 2021-22 academic year was record-setting with over $12M in new external grants to our faculty. Of course, we do not seek these grants for their own sake. Rather, they allow us to generate the kinds of scientific and technological advances you will find in the pages of this website and our annual newsletter, and in the scores of original research articles we publish each year. More importantly, these funds support the growth and development of the outstanding student researchers and alumni that are the ultimate measure of our department’s success.
Congratulations to our entire community on the successes of the past year and the tremendous momentum that we have going forward. Thank you for your continued interest in and support of our department. We have exciting days ahead!
SUNY Distinguished Professor and Chair