The People Behind the Buildings

If the classic stone buildings of UB's South Campus and the modern brick of North are divided by more than a century, the naming of each share a heritage of some of the region's and nation's most notable people.


Among the names instantly recognizable to almost any first-time UB student, Ellicott's Spaulding quadrangle derives its name from Elbridge G. Spaulding, a founding member of UB at the time of its 1846 inception. The following year, Spaulding was elected mayor of Buffalo from the Whig party, a position he held for a single year under the Buffalo bylaws of the time. Aside from shaping much of the city and university, Spaulding designed the first "greenback" U.S. currency, which is still used today, albeit in altered form.


Preceding Spaulding's term as mayor was Samuel Wilkeson, Whig mayor of Buffalo in 1836 during Buffalo's struggle to grow from its primitive roots. Helping the city to recuperate from its losses in the War of 1812, Wilkeson helped pass the legislation connecting Buffalo to the Erie Canal, carrying Buffalo on its way to becoming a major trade center between Canada and the United States. Among his other professions, Wilkeson was a merchant, banker and real estate speculator, buying up many of the most recognizable places in Buffalo, including the Wilkeson Homestead in Niagara Square.


One of the most widely known figures on a UB building face is Samuel Paul Capen, who led UB during his tenure as university chancellor to significant prosperity from 1922 to 1950. Capen was known as an elegant speaker among students and staff, and was a natural leader for the hard times UB faced during the Great Depression and World War II. He was a driving force behind UB's transformation from a wealth of small schools into a large-scale university with numerous programs.

Among the new schools that were added under his leadership were the School of Business Administration (now the School of Management), the School of Education and the School of Social Work. Capen is often referenced among UB authority figures as a visionary for the academic stature the university now enjoys.


Lockwood's vast collection of all things written pays tribute to its namesake patron, Thomas B. Lockwood, literature lover and book collector. Lockwood supported the newly-constructed University at Buffalo throughout his life with his massive donations of books to the school's library, most of which were culled from private auctions and his personal collection. In addition, Lockwood also helped the university with the library construction when it was just starting out. Lockwood library is the largest of its kind in the university.


Francis(zek) Fronczak was born to Polish immigrants in Buffalo on Sept. 20, 1874. Fronczak became an avid supporter of Polish independence from the Soviet Union, and was often seen participating in local and national events to aid his cause. He would become Buffalo's health commissioner in 1910, though Fronczak also wore the hats of journalist and lawyer, in addition to medical practitioner.


Astronaut Gregory B. Jarvis' tragic death aboard the Challenger spacecraft in 1986 is memorialized by UB's engineering building of the same name. A 1986 UB bachelor of science graduate, Jarvis entered active duty from college, joining NASA in the 1980s and obtaining the rank of Captain before being honorably discharged in 1973. He later joined Hughes Aircraft Company's Space and Communications Group, where he would eventually assume such titles as spacecraft test and integration manager and subsystem engineer.