UB Athletics receives $1.5 million bequest from alumnus

Bequest is largest planned gift in program history, donor would like to see a varsity hockey program


After receiving the second-largest donation in school history for the new downtown medical campus Monday, UB received another historic commitment on Wednesday: a record $1.5 million toward its athletic program.

UB Athletics received a $1.5 million bequest commitment from Buffalo alumnus Dr. Burt H. Rubin. The bequest is the largest planned gift received in the athletic program’s history.

“We are incredibly grateful to Burt for his exemplary leadership,” said Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development Eric Gross in an email. “Burt has stipulated that this gift, once realized, will go into the Athletic Directors Discretionary Fund.”

A bequest is money or property donated to a person or organization in a will, meaning UB Athletics will not receive the donation until Rubin passes away. 

Rubin’s bequest could go far in the development of the program, including an indoor field house. In 2014, UB Athletics revealed a plan to create an indoor field house on campus and even secured $13 million of the necessary $18 million needed to build the facility, according to Buffalo Business First. Buffalo remains the only program in the Mid-American Conference without a functional field house for the program.

This is the second donation that the University has received for the athletic department in the last six weeks. The program received an undisclosed cash donation in August that led to naming UB Stadium’s new premium seating club the Edmond J. Gicewicz Club, in tribute to the former professor and a current program booster.

“Giving back was important to me,” Rubin said in an email. “Not only did I receive my education but was afforded the opportunity to become involved in the intercollegiate family at UB. The thought of helping future generations of UB students to share the opportunity I was given through my planned gift was important.”

Gross said the bequest to the program and the Athletic Directors Discretionary Fund would go toward helping students and student-athletes. The bequest was given to White and the program for financial flexibility. The bequest could be used in various areas, including scholarships, facilities, enhancements and programmatic support.

Rubin, a 1974 graduate of UB, graduated with a BA in anthropology and currently has a successful chiropractic orthopedist firm in Hampton, Virginia. During his time at Buffalo, Rubin spent time as a manager, trainer and assistant coach for the hockey program.

The men’s ice hockey team, which is currently just a club sport and not affiliated with UB Athletics, is just one of the programs that Rubin would like to see some of money go to, but understands if it goes to others.

“I would absolutely like to see varsity hockey return to the University at Buffalo,” Rubin said. “I think it would create an immediate tie between the university and the greater Buffalo area. Additionally the geographical location of Buffalo seems to be a perfect fit to develop a national power. However, in my conversations with [Danny] White, we both agreed that until such time that the university sponsors a varsity program the funds will be best spent at the discretion of the AD.”

One of the main reasons Rubin decided to grant a gift to UB Athletics was due to the direction that White has taken the program. In White’s tenure, the Bulls experienced plenty of ups and downs, but also reached unexpected and unprecedented highs, including NCAA Tournament bids for men’s basketball, women’s soccer and men’s tennis.

“The Athletic Department has made great strides under the leadership of Danny White,” Rubin said. “The move to the New York Bulls has significantly increased national exposure. Living out of state, I can tell you that people living outside of Buffalo are much more aware of our program over the last few years.”

Ultimately, Rubin would like to see his bequest be the start of former students donating back to the University.

“Hopefully I will inspire other former letter winners to consider the UB Athletic Department in their estate planning,” Rubin said. “Finally competitive athletics benefits all aspects of a university, increasing student applications, national recognition for grants and attracting faculty and most importantly school spirit.”

EDITORS NOTE: This article originally stated Eric Gross was the Assistant Athletic Director for Development, however, he is the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development. His title, as classified by the state, appears in UB Directory as Assistant Athletic Director for Development, but UB Athletics sometimes has different internal titles.  

The Spectrum also said it was the second bequest in the past six weeks for the program, but there has only been one bequest. Edmond Gicewicz's donation was a cash gift. The article also stated the bequest money will be used for certain areas in the program, but it may be used for certain areas. This article also had an incorrect definition of a bequest, which has been corrected. 

Jordan Grossman contributed to the story

Quentin Haynes is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at quentin.haynes@ubspectrum.com. You can follow him on twitter at @Haynes_Spectrum.