A gift from UB alumnus Russ Agrusa in memory of his wife, Paula, has created a peaceful pocket park on the North Campus for all to enjoy.
Published November 11, 2021
President Satish K. Tripathi, School of Management Dean Paul Tesluk and other university leaders gathered Nov. 5 with members of the Agrusa family to formally dedicate Paula T. Agrusa Plaza outside the School of Management.
The project, which has totally refreshed exterior spaces on both sides of Jacobs Management Center, was made possible by a gift from alumnus Russ Agrusa, BS ’76, in memory of his wife and School of Management alumna, Paula Agrusa, BS ’78.
After Paula Agrusa passed away in 2016, her husband began working with the Office of University Advancement on a way to honor his wife and the university she loved. Paula T. Agrusa Plaza is a peaceful, welcoming space filled with flowers, benches, walking paths, café-style lighting and a firepit focal point. Before Paula passed away, the couple had decided they would contribute to the School of Management to greatly improve its physical presence and provide a valued meeting place for students as they go from class to class. “She was a very caring person,” Russ said, “and always wanted to give back.”
The firepit was added thanks to a gift from Bob, EMBA ’00, and Gayle Denning and Greg, BS’82, and Joanne, BS’82, Bauer in memory of Keith Stolzenburg — a beloved mentor, former executive in residence and dedicated School of Management alumnus — who passed away in 2020. Stolzenburg’s family — his wife, Rosanne, and children, Anna and Eric — also attended the dedication.
Speakers remembered Paula Agrusa’s fondness for flowers, adding long strings of numbers in her head and giving to others. “This space reflects the beauty, imagination and love of Paula,” Tesluk said.
The space also features a glass sculpture created in Paula’s memory that features a poem that she wrote a number of years ago. The poem, “Carry On,” was read as part of the dedication event.
A native of Binghamton, Paula studied accounting and finance at the School of Management. She met Russ, an electrical engineering student, and they dated throughout their time at UB. They married in 1978 after Paula’s graduation.
As partners at home and at work, the Agrusas grew their company, ICONICS, from a startup into an international software company with hundreds of employees. The couple made their first gift to the university that had given them an education — and each other — in April 2010 to support construction of Barbara and Jack Davis Hall, part of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
In recognition of their gift, the auditorium in Davis Hall is named in their honor.