Our History

Park Hall exterior.

Park Hall on UB's north campus is now the permanent home of the Department of Political Science 

In the 1962-63 academic year, faculty from the Department of History and Government came together to officially form UB's Department of Political Science.

A History of the Department

SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Claude Welch is currently writing a history of the Department of Political Science. Three chapters are available for preview:

  • The Context of Private UB and SUNY's Creation
    For the initial decades of its history, UB can best be viewed as a congeries of locally oriented professional schools, staffed largely by volunteer faculty drawn from area practitioners. Growth was gradual, responding to personal and group initiatives, rather than proceeding from a master plan.  
  • Early Years of the Department
    To summarize the lessons of this chapter, the 1960s constituted an extraordinary period. Copious funding from New York State made massive faculty recruitment possible. The rate of growth was dizzying. Well-established figures in the discipline and newly-minted PhD recipients joined the department.
  • Multiple Homes
    A challenge the department frequently encountered in its first 30 years was its regular uprooting. As the number of faculty and students grew, UB sequentially transferred several non-Health Sciences-related academic operations from Main Street, to interim facilities in an Amherst office park, to three different locations on the north campus.
  • Reforming the Reforms? 
    In this chapter, I will assert that through the long history of the Political Science Department, only two significant quantum changes/ paradigm shifts occurred. The first such fundamental transformation came with the creation of the Department, within a year of the merger between the private University of Buffalo and publicly funded SUNY, and continued during brief late-1960s presidency of Martin Meyerson. 
  • Millennial Challenges and Reponses:From 2000-2020This chapter concludes all that I feel capable of writing about the current period. I joined the UB faculty in 1964, fresh out of graduate school. For the next 56 years, I remained in the Department, a wonderful place for me and, I believe, the great majority of my colleagues. Despite occasional turbulence resulting from budget crises, intra-Department tensions, or other factors, Political Science remained steadfastly focused on scholarly excellence and high-quality teaching. I end on a note of optimism.
Claude Welch.

SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus Claude E. Welch

Location, Location, Location

The department was housed in a number of locations before its current residence on the fourth and fifth floors of Park Hall. Professor Claude Welch captured images of the earlier homes of the department; in several cases, actual residential houses!

138 Winspear Avenue.

138 Winspear Avenue

142 Winspear Avenue.

142 Winspear Avenue

Butler Temporary Annex.

Butler Temporary Annex

4238 Ridge Lea Road.

4238 Ridge Lea Road