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Richard Pifer to retire in May

Pifer has led Facilities and Services since 1999

Richard Pifer
Richard Pifer

Richard Pifer, associate vice president for facilities and services, will retire this May after nearly 15 years at the University.

Pifer came to the University in August 1999 and has since made significant contributions to the department and its services and has led several major initiatives.

Facilities and Services encompasses the River Campus, Medical Center, Eastman School, the Memorial Art Gallery, and other properties totaling more than 12 million gross square feet of the University’s multisite campus. Facilities and Services is a large, complex piece of the institution, and, according to Pifer, utility infrastructure, deferred maintenance, and campus appearance have been consistently at or near the top of his priority list. 

Among the many improvements to the infrastructure is an expansion of the chilled water plant with the upgrade of 8,000 tons of chilling capacity—an improvement of fundamental importance to a stable, reliable utility system supporting health care, research, education, and residential life activities. The upgrade, which now allows the University to meet the cooling requirements of the Medical Center and the River Campus with limited redundancy for the first and only time since Pifer’s arrival, is part of the Utilities Master Plan developed under his leadership.

Pifer also created a framework for efficient and cost-effective campus infrastructure planning. “We developed a system that provides a total facilities needs-summary for the campuses as they develop and implement their strategic plans,” says Pifer. “We know more about the condition of our facilities and are in a better position to advise the divisions about wise investments in the physical plant than ever before.”

More visibly, higher standards for campus appearance have been established virtually every year since Pifer’s arrival. Among the enhancements are Wilson Boulevard’s tree-lined median and other campus roadway improvements, restored vistas to the Genesee River, and thousands of square feet of crumbling asphalt walks replaced with concrete. Large segments of River Campus have been irrigated, and University gardens have been enlarged and improved. The result, says Pifer, is a softer, more inviting campus that assists in attracting and retaining high-quality students, staff, and faculty. Additionally, Facilities and Services has earned national recognition for excellence in grounds maintenance, as well as sustainability.  

Above all, Pifer says he is most proud of “the men and women in the department who quietly and professionally provide quality support around the clock, day in and day out.”

“Richard has done a remarkable job in keeping our campuses safe, attractive, and operating with a high degree of reliability and efficiency,” says Ron Paprocki, senior vice president for administration and finance and CFO.  “He also has played a pivotal role in representing the University to our surrounding neighborhoods.”

With a home in Herndon, Va., Pifer says retirement will bring an end to the long, multi-state commute that he has done for years, and he’s going to take some time to figure out where and how to spend the next phase of his life. “I spent the first 24 years of my adult life as an infantry soldier and the next 23 plus years as a facilities guy. I was not sure what I would do when I left the Army, and I am not certain what my future will be. I do know that I want to spend more time with my wife and pursue hobbies for which I never had time.”

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