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99 for 99 - #66: Chancellor Furnas Improves Athletics



January 7, 1955 - Clifford Furnas Inaugurated as Ninth Chancellor of The University of Buffalo

Clifford Furnas was an engineer and an expert on aeronautics and guided missiles. Furnas was passionate about expanding the role of academic research at universities in America. He was also an Olympian, member of the 1920 olympic team with a passion for amateur athletics.

Furnas left Cornell in 1954 to become Chancellor at Buffalo. One of his first moves as chancellor was bringing in Dick Offenhamer as coach, and increasing the University's support of Jim Peele and the Athletic Department. He also expanded the University, erecting 22 buildings in his tenure, doubling the size of the faculty and spearheading UB's merger into the SUNY system.

Furnas spent 1956 working as the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research & Development. When the launch of Sputnik spooked the nation, Furnas was called on to explain the satellite to the nation and he then worked with Project Vanguard, which developed the first U.S. space satellite.

Upon his return to Buffalo, Furnas' initial investment into Buffalo Athletics were paying dividends. Furnas oversaw back-to-back 8-1 seasons in 1958 and 1959. In January 1959, Furnas was on hand with the Football team as they accepted the Lambert award on the Ed Sullivan show.