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Points of Pride

woman working in green glow of optical equipmentThe Institute of Optics was founded in 1929 as the nation's first educational program devoted exclusively to optics. It is widely considered one of the nation's premier optics schools and is a leader in basic optical research and theory.

omega laser labThe Omega Laser Facility is home to two of the world's most powerful high-energy and high-intensity lasers.

When the University pioneered the Take Five Scholars Program two decades ago, it was heralded by the New York Times as "one of the most innovative liberal arts programs in the country." Since then, the program has allowed more than 900 students to study, tuition free, for an additional semester or year in areas outside their formal majors.

nurse giving injection to patientThe University of Rochester was named a Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) by the National Institutes of Health in 2013, a designation that infuses $7.5 million into HIV/AIDS work across the University and places it amongst the best in the nation for research to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of the disease.

conductor leading wind ensemble The Eastman School of Music is home to more than 20 student ensembles, including the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the first of its kind in the country and pioneering force in the symphonic wind band movement.

Memorial Art Gallery on ribbon cutting day for sculpturesThe Memorial Art Gallery has one of the most balanced collections in the state outside of New York City, spanning 5000 years of world art. The grounds around MAG feature the recently completed Centennial Sculpture Park, showcasing works by renowned sculptors both local and international.

bells in towerOne of only seven carillons in New York State, the 50-bell Hopeman Memorial Carillon hangs in the Rush Rhees tower. The carillon sounds every quarter-hour; carillonists play the bells on Wednesdays and during special events.

Faculty and alumni of the University made up nearly one-quarter of the scientists on the board advising NASA in the development of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to launch as the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope in 2018.

a cappella groupsThe University's a cappella ensembles are among the best in the nation. The Yellowjackets celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2006, and appeared on NBC's The Sing-Off in 2011. The Midnight Ramblers' rap video Remember oUR Name received national attention. And Vocal Point, the University’s all-female a cappella group, performed at the White House for the holidays in 2012.

people listening to organ musicThe 18th century Italian Baroque organ, housed in the Memorial Art Gallery and owned by the Eastman School of Music, is the only full-size antique Italian organ in North America. Weekly organ concerts fill the Gallery’s Herdle Fountain Court with music of the past.

basketball playersThe Yellowjackets play in the University Athletic Association. The women's basketball team has played in three of the last four NCAA Division III tournaments, finishing in the Final Four in 2004. The men's basketball team finished the 2013 season with a 22-5 record, and has had several appearances in the Division III playoffs. Steven Goodridge became Rochester's first NCAA champion in golf in 2006. The softball team won its first bid to the NCAA playoffs in 2007.

In 2007, the city of Rochester was named one of the top ten most livable cities in America by the Places Rated Almanac in their 25th anniversary edition. Rochester placed sixth on the list, which evaluates several criteria in making its selections: local economy, recreation, housing, education, health care, transportation, ambiance, crime, and climate.

Nobel Prizes

  • 2018: Paul Romer, former assistant professor of economics, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
  • 2018: Donna Strickland '89 (PhD) and Gérard Mourou, former Laboratory for Laser Energetics faculty member & senior scientist, Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • 2017: Richard Thaler '74 (PhD), Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
  • 2002: Masatoshi Koshiba ’55 (PhD), Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • 1997: Steven Chu ’70, Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • 1993: Robert Fogel, member of the economics faculty in the 1960s and ’70s, Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
  • 1976: Carleton Gajdusek, ’43, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • 1959: Arthur Kornberg, ’41M (MD), Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • 1955: Vincent du Vigneaud, ’27 (PhD), biochemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
  • 1943: Henrik Dam, senior research associate at Strong Memorial Hospital, 1942-45; Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • 1934: George Whipple, founding dean of School of Medicine and Dentistry, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Pulitzer Prizes

  • 2012: Kevin Puts ’94E, ’99E (DMA) in music, for his opera, Silent Night
  • 2004: Steven Hahn ’73 in history, for his book: A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration
  • 1996: George Walker, ’56E (DMA) in music, for his composition, "Lilacs for Voice and Orchestra"
  • 1993: Christopher Rouse, Eastman professor of composition, in music for his "Trombone Concerto"
  • 1983: Galway Kinnell, ’49 (MA) in poetry
  • 1979: Joseph Schwantner, Eastman faculty, in music
  • 1975: Dominick Argento, ’58E (DMA), in music
  • 1968: Anthony Hecht, English faculty, in poetry
  • 1962: Robert Ward, ’39E (BM), in music
  • 1960: George Abbott, ’11, in drama
  • 1959: John La Montaine, ’39E (BA), in music
  • 1952: Gail Kubik, ’34E (BM), in music
  • 1944: Howard Hanson, Eastman faculty and director from 1924 to 1964, in music

Guggenheim Fellows

"Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts."

  • 2006: John Tarduno, professor of physics and astronomy and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • 2002: John P. Huelsenbeck, associate professor of biology
  • 2001: Hugo Hopenhayn, associate professor of economics
  • 2000: Alice L. Conklin, associate professor of history
  • 2000: H. Allen Orr, associate professor of biology
  • 1999: Janet Catherine Berlo, Susan B. Anthony Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and professor of art history
  • 1997: Joan Shelley Rubin, professor of history
  • 1997: David R. Williams, professor of brain and cognitive sciences, optics, and the Center for Visual Science
  • 1996: Morris Eaves, professor of English
  • 1996: Shaul Mukamel, professor of Chemistry
  • 1995: James Longenbach, Joseph H. Gilmore Professor of English
  • 1994: Linda Levy Peck, professor of history
  • 1993: John H. Thomas, professor of mechanical and aerospace sciences and of astronomy
  • 1993: Janet Wolff, professor of art history and of visual and cultural studies
  • 1992: R. J. Dwayne Miller, professor of chemistry and optics
  • 1992: Paul F. Slattery, professor of physics
  • 1992: Douglas H. Turner, professor of chemistry
  • 1991: Kenneth Gross, professor of English
  • 1990: Christopher C. Rouse, professor of composition, Eastman School of Music
  • 1988: Joanna Scott, Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English

MacArthur Fellows

  • 2017: Derek Peterson '93, historian with a focus in African history
  • 1992: Joanna Scott, Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English

Notable Alumni

  • Mary Armstrong, vice president of Boeing
  • Francis Bellamy, wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance, published in 1892
  • Myles Brand, president of the NCAA
  • Mariann Budde, Washington’s first woman diocesan bishop
  • Mary Calderone, physician, public health advocate for sexual education, medical director of Planned Parenthood
  • Steven Chu, Nobel laureate in physics, former trustee of the university, and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy
  • Corinna Cortes, head of Google Research, known for machine learning
  • Jennifer Donnelly, writer of young adult fiction, winner of 2003 Carnegie Medal, recognizing the year's outstanding children's book
  • Renee Fleming, Grammy Award-winning operatic soprano
  • Robert Forster, Academy Award-nominated actor known for his roles in movies such as Jackie Brown
  • Jeremy Glick, 1993 alumnus and member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, who died aboard United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, after he and others attempted to overtake the hijackers
  • Susan Hockfield, first women president of MIT from 2004-2012
  • Michael Kanfer, Academy Award visual effects artists whose work appears in Titanic, Apollo 13, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Superman Returns
  • David Kearns, former CEO of Xerox and former U.S. deputy secretary of education
  • Robert Keegan, CEO of Goodyear
  • Larry Kudlow, columnist, CNBC senior contributor and host of "The Larry Kudlow Show"
  • Allison MacFarlane, former chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Mitch Miller, conductor, record producer, and TV producer best known from "Sing Along with Mitch" programs in the 1950s
  • Cathy Minehan, president & CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
  • Deborah Flemister Mullen, vice president for equity, diversity, and inclusion at Columbia Theological Seminary
  • James Pawelczyk, NASA astronaut and mission specialist aboard the Columbia space shuttle
  • Renée Richards, tennis athlete and coach, early activist for transgender rights
  • Debra Jo Rupp, actress best known for her role in TV’s "That '70s Show"
  • David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General
  • Barbara Sinclair, political scientist, congresional expert, author of "The Transformation of the US Senate"
  • Andy Thomas, CEO of Heineken USA
  • Kathy Waller, executive vice president and CFO of Coca-Cola Company
  • William Warfield, internationally acclaimed bass-baritone known for his work in Show Boat and Porgy and Bess
  • Joseph Wilson, founder, president and CEO of Xerox Corporation

Fulbright Scholars (2017-18)

  • Nina Baek ’17: Belgium
  • Ivey Barker ’16: Poland
  • JJonathan Boualavong ’16/T5’17: Scotland
  • Alexandra Cohen ’17: Germand
  • Michael Gilbert ’17: Hong Kong
  • Ellen Kim ’17: South Korea
  • Miriam Kohn ’17: Laos
  • Dovas Lietuvninkas ’16 (E) : Lithuania
  • Khamai Simpson ’17: Germany
  • Julissa Thompson ’16: Barbados
  • Caroline Vaczy ’16: Brazil

Goldwater Scholars (2017-18)

  • Hayden Carder ’18
  • Ryan Rubenzahl ’18

Marshall Scholars

  • 2008: Rachel Kincaid ’08E
  • 1988: Thuy Phung ’88, ’99M (MD/PhD)

American Academy of Arts and Sciences Members

  • Richard Aslin, Brain and Cognitive Sciences (2006)
  • Esther Conwell, Physics / Chemistry (1992)
  • Richard Eisenberg, Chemistry (2009)
  • Stanley Engerman, Economics (1985)
  • Richard Fenno, Political Science (1974)
  • Ronald Jones, Economics (2011)
  • Lynn Maquat, Biochemistry (2006)
  • Elissa Newport, Brain and Cognitive Sciences (2001)
  • Richard Niemi, Political Science (2007)
  • Walter Oi, Economics (1993)
  • H. Allen Orr, Biology (2009)
  • George Bingham Powell Jr., Political Science (1991)
  • Joanna Scott, English (2001)
  • Joel Seligman, Economics (2016)
  • Michael Tanenhaus, Brain and Cognitive Sciences (2011)
  • John Werren, Biology (2012)

National Academy of Sciences Members

  • Richard Aslin, Brain and Cognitive Sciences (2013)
  • Esther Conwell, Physics / Chemistry (1990)
  • Richard Eisenberg, Chemistry (2010)
  • Richard Fenno, Political Science (1983)
  • John Huizenga, Chemistry (1976)
  • Ronald Jones, Economics (2001)
  • Lynn Maquat, Biochemistry (2011)
  • René Millon, Anthropology (2001)
  • Fred Sherman, Genetics (1985)
  • David Williams, Center for Visual Science (2014)

National Academy of Engineering Members

  • James Fienup, Optics (2012)
  • Edwin Carstensen, Electrical & Computer Engineering (1987)
  • Esther Conwell, Physics / Chemistry (1980)
  • James Li, Mechanical Engineering (2006)
  • Duncan Moore, Optics, Entrepreneurship (1998)
  • Ching Tang, Chemical Engineering (2006)

National Academy of Medicine Members

  • William H. Bowen, Microbiology & Immunology in the Center for Oral Biology (1997)
  • Thomas W. Clarkson, Environmental Medicine (1981)
  • Richard G. Farmer, Medicine (1983)
  • Loretta Ford, Nursing (1971)
  • Paul S. Frame, Family Medicine (1988)
  • Robert C. Griggs, Neurology (1998)
  • Paul F. Griner, Medicine (1986)
  • Robert J. Haggerty, Pediatrics (1972)
  • Caroline B. Hall, Pediatrics (2002)
  • Jean Johnson, Nursing (1974)
  • Robert J. Joynt, Neurology (1989)
  • Elizabeth R. McAnarney, Pediatrics (2000)
  • Charles E. Phelps, Economics (1991)
  • John Romano, Psychiatry (1982)
  • Seymour I. Schwartz, Surgery (1998)
  • T. Franklin Williams, Medicine (1977)