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Next era for UB's medical school begins with the grand opening of its new home

The University at Buffalo is celebrating a milestone achievement with Tuesday morning’s grand opening of the new home of its medical school.

The University at Buffalo was originally founded as a medical school in the City of Buffalo’s downtown neighborhood. As of Tuesday, it’s officially returning to its roots with the opening of the new home of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News
UB Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (second from the right) helps cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the official opening of the school's new home.

Dr. Michael Cain, UB Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the school, helped cut the ceremonial ribbon for the new building at Main and High Streets, nestled in the heart of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

“Buffalo is now home to a comprehensive academic health center with our hospital partners, and an academic healthcare powerhouse on par with those in Cleveland and in Pittsburgh,” said Cain.

UB President Satish Tripathi thanked the school’s many partners, including the architects and construction workers who created the state-of-the-art facility. He said their work is helping redefine Buffalo’s skyline. But he noted that it’s the people inside the building who will redefine the future of medicine for the Western New York region and the world.

“The students are here now and they can be really interacting with the physicians, they can be interacting with the patients,” said Tripathi. “They don’t have to drive five miles to come here.”

Five miles is the distance from the medical school’s current home on UB’s south campus – space which will be repurposed for expansion, and for the homes of the School of Social Work and Graduate School of Education.

Standing at eight stories tall, the 628,000 square foot building has been under construction since October 2013. Beginning in January, 2,000 students, faculty, and staff are expected to be working and learning in the new space. Tripathi said even though the building won’t see students and faculty full-time until then, the idea of it has already been a draw.

“In academia if you just say you’re going to build a new building, people already come,” said Tripathi. “Now we have the building and we have attracted some of the top researchers and clinicians in the last few years. If you look at the chairs and the senior faculty that Dean Cain has hired, they come from all over the world and they are really one of the best that you can get in any given disciplines.”

Among the students on hand at the grand opening ceremony was the class of 2022’s Jonathon Hoffman from the City of Buffalo. He’s excited about the prospect of beginning his medical career in a building that is making history.

Credit Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo
University at Buffalo
The interior of the new home of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.

“It feels really cool,” said Hoffman. “This building is beautiful. You see pictures online and stuff, and you hear the stories, but until you’re in it and looking up at the atrium and all the floors – it’s kind of just cool to be in the midst of it.”

Partial funding for the building’s total price tag of $375-million came from a $30-million gift from the Jacobs family – owners of the Buffalo-based Delaware North concessions company. Company Chairman Jeremy Jacobs served as co-chair of the medical school’s campaign steering committee, and said his family’s gift may be one of the most meaningful things they’ve ever done for the community.

“Once you see this building and compare it to what goes on elsewhere in the world – and I do that by looking at other institutions around – this stands out,” said Jacobs. “This stands out in what it can do and what it brings to the medical community. It’s just immeasurable.”

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
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