University of Rochester

About Us

About Us


Share Your Memories

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A new University history is in the works for 2011 and we're looking for examples of campus life over the course of Rochester's 160 years. If you have photos or other historical material to share, we'd love to borrow them. Mail your materials to:

147 Wallis Hall
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY

Or email any digital materials to

All submissions will be returned unharmed.

The University of Rochester was founded in 1850 as a Baptist-sponsored institution and had its first home at the United States Hotel in downtown Rochester. In 1853, congressman and businessman Azariah Boody donated eight acres of his East Avenue cow pasture to the University of Rochester. The dandelion-covered estate became the Prince Street campus, which presently is the area near the Memorial Art Gallery.

Under President Rush Rhees (1900-1935), the University grew expansively. It was during his tenure that George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak, became a major donor, and the Eastman School of Music and the School of Medicine and Dentistry were founded. The renowned Institute of Optics opened in 1929. The first Ph.D. was awarded in 1925, and by 1930 several departments had begun to train candidates for the doctorate. Also under Rhees, ground was broken in 1927 for the present River Campus along the Genesee.

In 1955, the Colleges for Men and Women were merged into what is now the College. In 1958, three new schools were created in engineering, business administration, and education. The Laboratory for Laser Energetics was founded in 1970, and the School of Nursing was created from the Department of Nursing in 1971.

In 1986, the business school was named for William E. Simon, entrepreneur and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. In 1993, the education school was named in honor of Margaret Warner Scandling '44, lifelong University supporter and wife of philanthropist and businessman William Scandling. And in 2009, the engineering school was named for University trustee Edmund Hajim.