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Commencement Profile: Matthew Burch

Commencement Profile: Matthew Burch

Posted: May 9, 2018

SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Matthew Burch has earned a bachelor of fine arts in wood/furniture design and a bachelor of science in industrial technology, attaining a 3.34 GPA while participating in the McNair Scholars Program.

Burch will receive the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence during the 1:00 p.m. baccalaureate ceremony at Buffalo State’s 146th Commencement, Saturday, May 19, in the Sports Arena.  

Burch is committed to scholarship, has an ability to manage complex logistics, and achieves remarkable results from his efforts. His professors consistently praise the uniqueness of his creativity, his exceptional problem-solving techniques, and his advanced technical skills. In short, he is an exemplary student who has integrated classroom excellence and entrepreneurial accomplishments.

A highly decorated Army veteran with eight years of service, including deployments as an airborne infantryman in Iraq and Afghanistan, he received the Military Order of the Purple Heart after being wounded in combat. Having traveled the world in the military, he relies on his international experiences to inform his life and career choices.

Pursuing a long-held passion for music and instrument making, Burch focused his Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship on designing and building a modernized version of the guzheng, an ancient Chinese stringed instrument. He conducted in-depth research on the construction and performance tradition of the instrument, traveling to China to visit a production factory and to meet with a master performer before fashioning his own model. The result of his work is a unique instrument that he is invited to play and display at events across the region.

Burch is a recipient of the college’s Dr. Margaret E. Bacon Best of Studio Award for wood/furniture design. In addition, he and two fellow students co-founded the Buffalo Furniture Factory, an ADA-compliant company that won the 2017 New York Business Plan Competition regional championship.

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