Late professor gives estate to school
The late Peter Ayers Nickerson, PhD, a beloved faculty member who taught for nearly 50 years in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has given $4.5 million to the school.
The bequest gift from Nickerson’s estate serves two purposes: $3 million of the gift created a dean’s fund in the Jacobs School in Nickerson’s name. The remaining $1.5 million established an endowed faculty position, the Peter A. Nickerson, PhD, Professor and Chair in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences. John E. Tomaszewski, MD, SUNY Distinguished Professor, was installed as the first Nickerson chair on November 17, 2017.
“Peter was revered by his students, many of whom stayed in touch with him long after leaving UB,” Michael Cain, dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences said. “His love of education and his service to students will live on through the department chair and dean’s fund named for him. This gift was his way of helping future students.”
That Nickerson gave his estate to UB did not surprise anyone who knew him. Cain said Nickerson was well aware of the importance such gifts have to the success of the $200 million fundraising campaign for the Jacobs School.
Longtime UB colleague and friend Claude Welch, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Political Science, said of Nickerson: “Peter gave himself wholeheartedly to his students and colleagues. He had no greater love than for this university.”
A native of Harwich, Mass., Nickerson earned a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a master’s degree and a PhD from Clark University, where he was a NASA predoctoral fellow. Known for his research into high blood pressure, he was recruited to join UB’s faculty in 1967.
The list of Nickerson’s service to UB is long, but primarily, he will be remembered for his kindness and love of teaching. He led a student-centered classroom, in which students researched and taught topics to each other under his guidance. With his final act of extraordinary generosity, he will be remembered in perpetuity by the institution he cherished.