Media Advisory: UB and partners to commemorate Millard Fillmore’s 218th birthday

Millard Fillmore gravesite.

This year’s commemoration marks the 53rd consecutive year UB has organized the celebration of Millard Fillmore's birthday. Photo: Douglas Levere

Release Date: January 3, 2018


BUFFALO, N.Y. – The 218th anniversary of the birth of Millard Fillmore, UB’s first chancellor and 13th president of the United States, will be celebrated at a ceremony to be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 5, in Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.

The program will begin at the Millard Fillmore gravesite, located in section F on this map, with brief remarks and wreath presentations by representatives of the White House, Millard Fillmore legacy organizations and the Forest Lawn Group.  Col. David Warnick, 107th Attack Wing mission support group commander for the New York Air National Guard in Niagara Falls, will present a wreath on behalf of President Donald Trump.

In addition, the Rev. Joan Montagnes of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo will provide an invocation, the UB Police Honor Guard will present the colors and SUNY Fredonia graduate student Matthew Caputy will play taps.

At the conclusion of the gravesite ceremony, the program will move to the cemetery’s Margaret L. Wendt Archival and Research Center for a reception hosted by Forest Lawn and the Buffalo Club. Carole Emberton, UB associate professor of history, will present a short address, “Coming to Terms with Millard Fillmore and the Fugitive Slave Act,” which will explain how the act affected African-Americans living in Western New York, including a number of fugitives living in the city at the time.

The gravesite ceremony and reception are free and open to the public; while not required, RSVP’s are encouraged. For more information and to RSVP, visit  

The Millard Fillmore legacy organizations, which Fillmore helped found, and their representatives include: Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Bryan Gawronski, director of communications), the Buffalo Club (Rocco Diina, past president), Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo General Medical Center (Chris Lane, president), Buffalo History Museum (Melissa N. Brown, executive director), Buffalo Public Schools (Will Keresztes, chief of intergovernmental affiars, planning and community engagement), Buffalo Science Museum (Karen Wallace, deputy director), Hodgson Russ LLP (Kenneth P. Friedman, partner), SPCA serving Erie County (Gary Willoughby, executive director), Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo (Rev. Joan Montagnes) and UB (William Regan, director of university events).

This year’s commemoration marks the 53rd consecutive year UB has organized the event, a tradition that dates back to 1937.  From 1937 until 1964, the anniversary ceremonies were organized by Charles Templeton, a UB alumnus who worked with the city of Buffalo and the Buffalo Board of Education to program the annual events.


Media Contact Information

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