Buffalo Translational Consortium News

CTRC pine tree provides focal point of Adopt-a-Family gift drive

Posted on 12/05/17 at 03:50 pm
Rich Karalus, director of the Office of Research Compliance, poses alongside his "house plant"

If you’ve ever visited the fifth-floor atrium of the Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC), odds are you’ve noticed a large pine tree growing in the corner over by the north-facing windows.

That tree began life about 11 years ago as a house plant, if you can believe it.

“It was maybe a foot tall, in a three-inch planter,” said Rich Karalus, PhD, director of the Office of Research Compliance, who claims not to have a green thumb at all. You can see him standing alongside the plant above.

He brought the Norfolk Pine with him from his office in the South Campus’s Biomedical Research Building when he moved downtown to become the CTRC’s first building manager, and he’s been tending to it ever since.

“It seems to be thriving here in the CTRC,” he said.

In addition to adding a little green to the minimalist surroundings of the CTRC, the tree each year serves as a focal point of holiday decorations.

And this year, it has an even more important role to play.

Current Building Manager Terry-Ann Smith said the CTRC is adopting eight local families – 19 individuals in total – as part of UB’s “Adopt-a-Family” program. Each person’s name is written on a tag that’s been placed on the tree. Donors are invited to remove a tag, purchase a gift for that person, and place the gift under the tree with the tag for delivery to the families. Each tag has basic information such as age and gender to help you choose an appropriate gift.

The gifts will be distributed on Wednesday, December 20, and you’re invited to come along and meet the adopted families.

“This year Rich’s tree is serving an extra-special purpose,” said Smith. “It’s been great seeing the gifts stack up as we approach the holidays.”

The gifts will be delivered to UB’s Office of Community Relations (sponsors of the Adopt-a-Family Program) by the end of business on Monday, December 18. Email Terry-Ann or call 888-4730 for more information about how you can participate.