Release Date: January 7, 2010
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo will uphold a longstanding winter tradition as it celebrates the 210th anniversary of the birth of Millard Fillmore, UB's first chancellor and the 13th president of the United States, at a ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. today (Thursday, Jan. 7, 2009) at Fillmore's gravesite in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
The outdoor ceremony marking the 210th anniversary of Fillmore's birth on Jan. 7, 1800, is hosted by UB, the Forest Lawn Group and the Buffalo Club. It is free and open to the public.
The commemoration address will be delivered by James A. Willis, UB executive vice president for university support services. Wreaths will be presented by Col. Timothy G. Vaughn, 107th Mission Support Group Commander, New York Air National Guard, representing the White House; Marc Adler, adjunct professor in Millard Fillmore College and immediate past president of the UB Alumni Association, representing UB; Charles M. Mitschow, president of the Buffalo Club; and Dean H. Jewett, chairman of the board of the Forest Lawn Group.
The invocation will be presented by The Rev. Joel Miller, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo. The UB Police Color Guard will present the flags, and West Richter, a UB student and member of the UB Marching Band, will play taps.
A reception with refreshments will immediately follow in the Forest Lawn Chapel.
Fillmore helped establish UB, serving as its first chancellor from 1847 until his death in 1874. He also was instrumental in framing the charter transforming the Village of Buffalo into the City of Buffalo. He helped establish Buffalo General Hospital, the SPCA, the Buffalo Historical Society, the Fine Arts Academy, Buffalo Savings Bank, Buffalo's public library system and the Buffalo Club. As a congressman, he secured funding to enlarge the Buffalo Harbor and expand the Erie Canal. Fillmore served as president from 1850 to 1853.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of UB's stewardship of Fillmore's service, but the tradition to honor Fillmore dates back to 1937. From 1937 until 1965, the ceremonies were staged 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.
The responsibility shifted to UB when Templeton died in 1965. Although UB participated in the Fillmore birthday commemoration during Templeton's stewardship, the university took over the ceremonies and made it a community event starting in 1966.
Media arrangements: Charles Anzalone onsite at 440-8824.