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University Archives

Ketter Hall

Ketter Hall Ketter Hall is home to the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Located in Ketter is the "Structural Engineering and Earthquake Simulation Laboratory (SEESL), a key node in a nationwide earthquake engineering collaboratory - the National Science Foundation's George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). In this network, earthquake engineers and students located at different institutions are able to share resources, collaborate on testing, and exploit new computational technologies" (from the NEES website). The simulator is also part of the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER), a national center of excellence that develops and applies knowledge and advanced technologies to reduce earthquake losses.


Robert L. Ketter (1928-1989) came to UB in 1958 as the first chairman of the Department of Civil Engineering. Throughout his long career with UB, Ketter served as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (1964-1966), Vice President for Facilities Planning (1966-1970), and President of the University (1970-1982). During his tenure as President, he oversaw the construction of the Amherst Campus, strengthened the University's research programs, initiated international programs in Korea, Japan, and China, and was a key player in the development of MCEER.

History and Chronology

  • 1981 -- (August) Building completed
  • 1983 -- (November 10) Dedication of the Earthquake Simulator. Dr. George Housner of the California Institute of Technology, widely regarded as "the father of earthquake engineering", is the keynote speaker at the event.
  • 1987 -- (August 27) Engineering West renamed Robert L. Ketter Hall
  • 1988 -- Dedication of the new 1 million addition of new facilities for MCEER funded by a New York State and the National Science Foundation grant.

Building and Construction Information

Architects: Marcel Breur & Associates of New York City and Cannon Designs, Inc. of Buffalo / addition: Habiterra Associates
Contractor for addition: Clarence Associates, Inc.
Cost: $5,184,000
Size: 44,231 gross sq. ft.