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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Letter to the editor: Dean Kemper Lewis gives keynote address at ESB scholarship award dinner

Editor’s note: This letter remains in the condition in which it was  sent. All photos and photo captions were provided by the author and included in their letter.

Kemper Lewis headshot.jpg
Courtesy of Frederick Fedri
Dr. Kemper Lewis

Four Western New York students were honored at The Engineering Society of Buffalo’s (ESB) annual Past Presidents Scholarship Dinner. The students are among 16 total recipients who have received financial awards from the 130-year-old organization, which was started in 1894 by George R. Sikes and S. J. Fields.

To begin the event, ESB President, David Rousseau, P.E. candidate, welcomed guest speaker, Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo; guest Robert Baird, associate director of advancement in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; as well as ESB members, past presidents, scholarship recipients, and families. 

During his remarks, Rousseau recognized past president Robin Closs, S.E., P.E., for her tireless work in running and maintaining the organization through the difficult pandemic years.

Rousseau shared a bit of his history with ESB, starting with his 2008 scholarship award, citing his appreciation for the support he received from the organization, particularly from the late Don Kossuth, P.E., the previous chair of the society’s scholarship committee. 

Rousseau expressed his gratitude for the hours of advice and guidance he received from Kossuth during his years as a student and later while seeking local employment to remain in the Western New York area.  As a result of Kossuth’s advice and guidance, Rousseau is now actively pursuing certification as a Professional Engineer. 

Following the welcome message, Rousseau called upon Patrick Conway, current chairman of the scholarship committee, to introduce the four recipients in attendance and highlighted their achievements, accomplishments, and ambitions for their future endeavors.  

The recipients in attendance included Eric Butcher, Ryan Collins, Madelyn Ferriter, and Michael Szwed. These students are among 16 total recipients receiving annual scholarships from The Engineering Society of Buffalo. 

The other students include Jeremy Stoddard, Grace Kulniszewski, Alexa Schultz, Alec Dobinski, Alexa Schlotterbeck, Andrew Hildreth, Isabella Nguyen, Connor Seider, Nolan Skowronski, Maggie Coleman-McAllister, Uma Bhattacharjee, and Nathaniel LaMonaco.

During his keynote address, Lewis congratulated the scholarship recipients and highlighted a personal interest in their success.  He emphasized that the mission and focus for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is to get to know their students, provide a positive academic environment, enhance the student experience wherever they can, and fulfill all the requirements for a diploma in four years.

Focusing on the role and character that all engineering graduates should strive for in their professional careers, Lewis underscored and elaborated on the agency and importance of integrity, dedication, commitment, and hard work in solving engineering problems. He stressed the value of teamwork and the importance of ensuring the success and viability of every company or organization that one chooses to work for.

Lewis touched on the plans for the construction of a new engineering building, Russell L. Agrusa Hall, with support from funds approved by New York State. The facility is designed to accommodate the large growth experienced in enrollment at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 

The new building will be a hub for student activity, featuring an “engineering commons,” collaborative spaces for student clubs, student support services, maker labs, and programs aimed at entrepreneurism and student startups. If you would like to hear Dean Lewis speak about the importance and expectations for this building, watch his recent interview with The Buffalo News.

Lewis closed with the message that in today’s environment, the role of each engineer will be more critical. Engineers will need to dedicate a portion of their time, skill, knowledge, and training to service in their communities and toward the greater public good. 

The evening was well received by all and provided a wonderful way for the ESB scholarship recipients and their families to get a feel for the strong interest the school has in their success. The event underscored why the University at Buffalo is ranked on the list by the Association of American Universities as one of only 69 schools to receive this distinction. 

Submitted by, 

Frederick G. Fedri 

BSME Class of 1970

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