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Adult students follow similar education philosophy of Millard Fillmore

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The University at Buffalo continued its long-time tradition Thursday of marking the birthday of Millard Fillmore.  An annual ceremony is held at Forest Lawn Cemetery where he is buried.  WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley visited Millard Fillmore College to see how his legacy has been returned to downtown Buffalo.

"Folks who have lived in Buffalo for many years will recall that Millard Fillmore College was the night school for UB," said Larry Gingrich, Associate Dean of Millard Fillmore College. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Larry Gingrich, Associate Dean of Millard Fillmore College, sits at his desk inside the Gateway Building in downtown Buffalo.

The University first opened the night school sessions in 1923 at its downtown site.

"In Townsend Hall in Lafayette Square and interestingly enough we have now moved back into the Gateway Building on Ellicott Street, so we are very close to our home roots," noted Gingrich.

Before Fillmore became the 13th President, he played a role in establishing UB in 1846. He served as UB's first chancellor.  

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Looking up at the Gateway Building where Millard Fillmore College is housed on the 2nd floor.

Gingrich said the night school was named after Fillmore as college by UB in 1930.

"True to kind of our theme, Millard Fillmore College is actually a continuing education and academic outreach college of the University, therefore we offer credit and non-credit courses.  Many of our certificate programs are designed to be short term for people who want to get quickly immersed into the job market," Gingrich said.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Inside the Gateway Building a sign points to Millard Fillmore College.

There are currently about 2,700 students and 25-faculty members, but you won't find a campus filled with students. 95-percent of the courses are taught on-line, but Fillmore would be very proud of this modern-day program -- a man who worked to educated himself. 

"When Millard Fillmore was a young guy he began learning the way many adults students learn today -- those who are the non-traditional students. He kind of picked himself up by the bootstraps and had limited formal education," explained Gingrich. "He actually worked in an apprenticeship and learned on his own by reading and gathering from others -- many of our adult students follow that trend." 

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