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Saving the Past for the Future

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by Terry McCormack, Associate Director, Law Library & Head, M. Robert Koren Center

During the 2011 renovation of the SUNY Buffalo Law School’s first-floor entrance in O’Brian Hall, law librarians salvaged the commemorative cornerstone and time capsule from their original location in the building’s initial entryway. Four decades earlier, in May 1971, then UB President Robert L. Ketter, accompanied by UB Law School alumnus and university trustee Manly Fleischmann, and Law School Dean and UB Provost Richard D. Schwartz, placed the circular brass cornerstone and time capsule in the entrance. The cornerstone was emblazoned with the year 1973 in anticipation of the completion of the building in February of that year.

At that time, Ketter noted, “It is appropriate, I believe, that the first cornerstone to be placed on this campus should be for this building,” highlighting the fact that O’Brian Hall was the first officially recognized building on what is now UB’s North Campus. More than 100 dignitaries attended the cornerstone placement ceremony and sealing of the time capsule, which contained copies of the Law School Catalog, packets of memorabilia, the Buffalo Evening News Almanac and a selection of coins.

Both the 16-by-12 inch welded sheet metal time capsule and the cornerstone are currently housed in the Law Library Archives, and law librarians are working with Law School staff to ensure the preservation of these historic artifacts.

For more information on the construction of O’Brian Hall, see the April 29, 1971 issue of The Opinion, the official SUNY Buffalo Law School student newspaper, available in our Digital Collections.

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