Published January 3, 2017
UB and community partners will celebrate the 217th anniversary of the birth of Millard Fillmore, UB’s first chancellor and 13th president of the United States, at a ceremony at 10 a.m. Jan. 6 in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Hosted by UB, the Forest Lawn Group and the Buffalo Club, the event is free and open to the public. While not required, RSVPs are encouraged. All are welcome to attend both the gravesite ceremony and a program following the ceremony at the Buffalo Club.
The event will begin at Fillmore’s gravesite with short remarks and wreath presentations. President Satish K. Tripathi will be joined in presenting a community wreath by representatives of organizations that Fillmore helped found. These include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo Club, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo General Medical Center, The Buffalo History Museum, Buffalo Public Schools, Buffalo Science Museum, Hodgson Russ LLP, SPCA serving Erie County, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo and UB.
Lt. Col. Gary Charlton, operations group commander of the 107th Air Wing of the New York Air National Guard in Niagara Falls, will present a wreath on behalf of President Barack Obama.
At the conclusion of the gravesite ceremony, the program will continue at the Buffalo Club, which is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding. Michael T. Genco, a member and past president, will talk about the founding of the Buffalo Club —Fillmore was a founding member and its first president. A light lunch will be served for all guests.
“The annual Millard Fillmore commemoration is a time-honored tradition that celebrates the life of a man who made monumental contributions to Buffalo and who served the United States from its highest office,” says William J. Regan, director of university events at UB, who organizes the event.
In addition to the wreath presentations, the Rev. Joan Montagnes of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo will provide an invocation. The UB Police Honor Guard will present the colors. To close the gravesite ceremony, SUNY Fredonia graduate student Matthew Caputy will play taps.
This year’s commemoration marks the 52nd consecutive year UB has organized the ceremony, a tradition dating back to 1937. From 1937 until 1965, the anniversary ceremonies were organized by Charles Templeton, a UB alum who worked with the city of Buffalo and the Buffalo Board of Education to program the annual events.