George D. CroftsBorn: 1880
George D. Crofts was born in Buffalo in 1880. His career at UB began in 1904 when he was appointed a lecturer in the UB Law School. That same year, Crofts was named the Law School’s secretary and treasurer, a position he would hold for sixteen years.
On July 11, 1921, Crofts became the university’s first paid administrator when he was appointed treasurer and comptroller for UB. During Crofts’ tenure, the position was at the same level as the chancellor of UB, both of whom reported directly to the UB Council. Prior to 1920, UB’s professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences operated independently with no uniform means of budgeting or accounting. Crofts centralized these operations through his office and instituted a unified accounting system for the entire university.
Crofts was responsible for the UB’s fiscal stability through the Great Depression and World War II. Between 1920 and 1932, he took out loans to cover budgetary shortfalls, loans that would not be repaid until the early 1940s. In 1921, UB’s operating budget was $290,000 and the university had $150,000 in endowments. By the time Crofts retired in 1951 (eleven days before his 30th anniversary as UB’s treasurer and comptroller), the operating budget was $4 million and endowments totaled over $8 million.
George D. Crofts described UB as Buffalo’s greatest enterprise. UB Chancellor Samuel P. Capen likened Crofts to “the chief engineer of an ocean liner, who lives below decks, who is not very often seen on the decks, who sometimes dines with passengers, but is responsible for making the ship go.” George D. Crofts died on February 15, 1954.
Crofts Hall, the North Campus building that houses many of UB's administrative offices, is appropriately named after George D. Crofts. The University Archives holds the correspondence files for the Office of the Treasurer and Comptroller from 1921-1951, ledgers and journals from the same time period and UB capital campaign records from 1920-1953.
Affiliation(s): Business Affairs
Record Group(s): 6
Biographical File Contains: