Fast Forward: The University of Rochester Advancement E-Newsletter

June 20, 2008

Printer Friendly Printer-Friendly Newsletter

Values and Action

portrait of Jim Thompson

“There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

In the history of every great university, we can identify defining moments that signaled new eras of extraordinary transformation. Movements began with a small group of leaders who were deeply committed to the institution. These leaders worked together as partners to address the challenges of a changing world and to shape a vision for the institution’s future. Their visible energy, enthusiasm, and support helped to inspire many others.

In the early 20th century, George Eastman believed that Rochester deserved a place on the world’s music stage. In 1918, as a first step toward that vision, he worked in partnership with President Rush Rhees to create a world-caliber music school at the University of Rochester. Eastman’s partnership with Rhees then helped to create the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Eastman Dental Center, and River Campus. The dramatic transformation of the University of Rochester had begun. Seemingly overnight, we became a player on the national stage.

Let me highlight several recent events that signal the beginning of another era of transformation for the University of Rochester.

On April 2, the University hosted a Gala celebration for the Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. The evening honored the University’s greatest benefactor and celebrated the tremendous success of the Charter Phase of the University's newest donor recognition society. Gala highlights included remarks by George Eastman Circle Co-chairs Larry Bloch and Tom Sloan, Gwen Greene, chair of annual giving programs, and President Joel Seligman. Two highlights were the keynote address by noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and the unveiling, reading, and ceremonial signing of the George Eastman Circle Charter statement. All Charter Members in attendence were invited to establish a new tradition of signing the Charter. Hard work and collaboration among our donors, volunteers, academic leaders, and advancement staff helped to create a wonderful celebration and historic evening for the University.

On April 11, on the Eastman Theatre stage, Antonio Perez, chairman and CEO of Eastman Kodak Company, announced that Eastman Kodak Company would provide $10 million toward the Eastman Theatre renovation and expansion project. This leadership support will help to fulfill George Eastman’s vision for the Theatre and provide 21st century facilities for the Eastman School of Music and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, our partners in the project. The renovated and expanded Theatre will also dramatically enrich and benefit the Rochester community and support the cultural revitalization taking place in the city. Kodak’s commitment is a wonderful example of the power of partnership. Upon the completion of the project, the main performance hall in the Theatre will be renamed “Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.”

On May 15, the University dedicated the new home for the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. At the ceremony, President Seligman, Medical Center CEO Bradford Berk, Wilmot Cancer Center Director Dr. Richard Fisher, and campaign co-chairs Judy Wilmot Linehan and James Ryan Jr. announced that the comprehensive campaign had surpassed its $42.5 million fundraising goal. The Wilmot Cancer Center is a center of excellence for the University of Rochester Medical Center and will serve the community and world for generations to come. The campaign was supported by leadership gifts from the Wilmot Family and James P. Wilmot Foundation, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, John W. Rowe, M.D., the Davenport-Hatch Foundation, Joan and Harold Feinbloom, Dorothy and Henry Hansen, and Xerox Corporation. Thousands of individuals ultimately contributed. Without a community effort, this extraordinary success — involving four years of hard work — could not have been realized.

Our aspiration to rise among of the nation’s greatest research universities is bold. We must generate support on an unprecedented scale in order to accelerate the pace of ascent. Our goal is to build upon success.

In the months and years ahead, we will celebrate many more milestones that signal our institutional transformation. With unwavering commitment to creating partnerships between donors, volunteers, academic leaders, and this great University, together we can build the road for future generations.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer



George Eastman Circle Inaugural Gala Held in New York City

University Leaders with George Eastman Circle Charter

On April 2, the Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle gathered at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City for an important and historic event — the George Eastman Circle Inaugural Gala. The group celebrated the roaring success of the University’s new donor recognition society and kick off the beginning of a new era. Nearly 300 Charter Members and guests were in attendance.

Gala speakers included George Eastman Circle National Co-chairs Larry Bloch ’75 and Tom Sloan ’65, ’67 along with Gwen Meltzer Greene ’65, chair of annual giving programs, and President Joel Seligman. George Eastman Circle Vice Chairs Robert Hurlbut, Nathan Moser ’75, Peter Standish ’64, Janice Willett ’78S and Nathaniel Wisch ’55 were recognized for their committment and leadership.

Charter Membership Phase Ends June 30, 2008

George Eastman Circle Charter Members are the vanguard of a new generation of leaders who are working together as partners to expand the University’s service to the world. They will be remembered in University history for their vision, commitment, and inspirational support. We hope you will consider this special opportunity to join leaders from across the University family who have come together to advance the University as it enters the next transformational period in its history. George Eastman Circle members receive access to special University events, as well as membership in a national network of University of Rochester supporters. Donors who make a five-year pledge before June 30, 2008 will be recognized in perpetuity as Charter Members.

Annual giving levels for the George Eastman Circle are:

  • Founders: $50,000+
  • Patrons: $25,000 - $49,999
  • Benefactors: $10,000 - $24,999
  • Fellows: $5,000 - $9,999
  • Members: $1,500 - $4,999

For more information on becoming a Charter Member of the George Eastman Circle, please contact Stephanie Katz at (585) 276-3597 or

The Gala featured a keynote address by noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who spoke about presidential history and the lessons of leadership. During her research for her best-seller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Goodwin reviewed the William Henry Seward Papers housed in the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Library.

Also on display was the Greater University Fund Donor Book, brought to the event by University Archivist Nancy Martin from the archives of Rush Rhees Library. This historical volume lists the names of individuals who contributed to the campaign to build the River Campus in the 1920s. George Eastman’s name is listed among 13,000 others. It is well known that George Eastman’s philanthropic leadership inspired his generation and helped to transform the University of Rochester from a regional liberal arts college into an internationally recognized research university. The University has named its newest leadership giving society in his honor with the hope and expectation that his example will continue to inspire many more generations of supporters.

As a finale, Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer Jim Thompson unveiled and read a George Eastman Circle Charter statement that articulates the shared values and commitment of the group to building a greater University for future generations. The volunteer leaders of the George Eastman Circle participated in a ceremonial signing of the document. All Charter Members in attendance were invited to join in this new tradition of signing the George Eastman Circle Charter. The signatures will be digitally assembled and bound into a beautiful final volume. Charter Members who were not in attendance will also have an opportunity to sign, as will new Charter Members who join the Circle before the Charter Campaign ends on June 30, 2008.

The formation of the George Eastman Circle is a fundamental step in strengthening the University of Rochester. Thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the many volunteer leaders and University staff who have worked together in partnership, the George Eastman Circle currently has more than 600 Charter Members, far surpassing the initial goal of 250. In the years ahead, the George Eastman Circle will become the University’s premier giving society that recognizes our most dedicated annual supporters. And the Charter Members have already made history.

Eastman Kodak Company Commits $10 Million to Help Complete Eastman Theatre

Kodak Hall Announcement

On the morning of April 11, the University gathered together with the Rochester community for a special musical program and major announcement held at Eastman Theatre. President Seligman, Doug Lowry, Dean of the Eastman School, and Christopher Seaman, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director, were joined on the stage by Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and CEO of Eastman Kodak Company. Perez announced that Kodak is committing $10 million to the University of Rochester to support the Theatre’s renovation and expansion. In recognition of Kodak’s leadership support, the Theatre’s main performance hall will be renamed “Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre” when the renovations are completed.

“Kodak has had a close relationship and a strong partnership with the University and the RPO throughout their history, a bond that began with George Eastman, and is stronger today,” said Perez.

President Seligman said Kodak’s investment will enable the people of Rochester to enjoy an enhanced performance hall and the economic development benefits that will come from construction and an increasingly vibrant cultural district downtown.

The project, which includes the addition of a building for teaching and performance spaces, will complete George Eastman’s original plan for the University’s Eastman School of Music as well as the adjoining Theatre.

University Dedicates New Home for the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center

Wilmot Cancer Center Ribbon Cutting

On May 15, the University celebrated the expansion of cancer care and research as it dedicated the new home of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. The Wilmot Cancer Center introduces leading-edge technology, greater access to multidisciplinary care, a new model for breast care, and more opportunities to receive tomorrow’s therapies today. More than 300 supporters turned out for the celebration.

“We are dedicated to achieving national leadership in cancer care and research. Our team is recognized for novel clinical and scientific research contributions that have shaped treatments and cures,” said Richard I. Fisher, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center. He gave credit to the community, University leadership, and volunteers whose collective efforts are pushing cancer treatment and research further. “There is nothing in Upstate New York and New England like the Wilmot Cancer Center,” he said. “This is where innovative care will change the cure rate of cancer.”

The Wilmot Cancer Center has a 35-year history of excellence in patient care. The new center will have doctors, nurses, support staff, cancer specialists, and research scientists working together in a single 163,000-square-foot facility. With the help of generous supporters like the Wilmot Family and James P. Wilmot Foundation, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, John W. Rowe, M.D., the Davenport-Hatch Foundation, Joan and Harold Feinbloom, Dorothy and Henry Hansen, Xerox Corporation and thousands of others, the center surpassed its $42.5 million campaign goal.

Medical Center CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. said: “The new James P. Wilmot Cancer Center is a major step forward in the move to make URMC a nationally recognized center for progressive care and research.”

Dedication Celebration Heightened by Announcement of Campaign Success

The opening of the expanded James P. Wilmot Cancer Center on May 15 was accompanied by announcements of several gifts that helped surpass the center’s $42.5 million comprehensive campaign goal:

Thomas C. Wilmot, son of James P. Wilmot, announced $3 million in additional support from the Wilmot family. The announcement was made May 10 at the Discovery Ball, the Wilmot Cancer Center’s major fund-raising gala. The family of James P. Wilmot has generously committed more than $8 million to the campaign. For the whole story, click here.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will contribute $6 million to support the expansion of clinical care and cancer research and the development of the future healthcare workforce at the Cancer Center. The clinical translational research floor at the Center has been named in recognition of the gift. For the whole story, click here.

Xerox Corporation will contribute $1 million. The announcement was made at the University’s commencement ceremonies by Xerox Chairman and CEO Anne Mulcahy, who also delivered the College’s commencement address. The Wilmot Cancer Center's new lobby will be named in recognition of Xerox. For the whole story, click here.

President Seligman celebrated the hard work and dedication of the Wilmot family and other supporters. “What a triumph,” said Seligman. “I have the honor of knowing that everyone touched and treated with cancer will get the best possible care.”

Judy Wilmot Linehan, James P. Wilmot’s daughter, was co-chair with James Ryan Jr. of the comprehensive campaign. The Wilmot Cancer Center, she said, holds deep meaning for her and her family. James P. Wilmot, who was a very active University leader, was diagnosed in 1980 with a brain tumor and died not long after. But Judy says cancer is a disease that touches so many. “This place means the world to me and to the Wilmots,” she said in her speech at the dedication. “We’ve all been touched by cancer. I think that’s why we’re all here today.”

Cancer survivor Judy von Bucher also spoke at the dedication. Back in the 1980s, when she was getting treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she would try not to think about being in the basement of the hospital. But the new facility — light filled, welcoming, and warm — offers a very different experience for patients. “This new Cancer Center is that place, that oasis I was visualizing,” von Bucher said.

The new facility provides a dramatic increase in space for patient care, leading-edge technology, and access to therapies unavailable elsewhere. These resources will enable the University to attract the best professionals in the field to the Wilmot Cancer Center and enhance our national reputation for cancer treatment and research. The Wilmot Cancer Center’s goal is to conquer cancer and improve the health and lives of so many in our community and world.

Discovery Ball Highlights

Discovery Ball

On May 10, the 9th Annual Discovery Ball broke all records for generosity, raising $1.7 million for the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. More than 1,100 people attended the event held at the Rochester Convention Center.

A highlight of the event was the announcement by Thomas C. Wilmot, son of James P. Wilmot, that the Wilmot family and James P. Wilmot Foundation would increase their support for the comprehensive campaign to $8 million, carrying on the patriarch’s dedication to advancing cancer research in Rochester.

“We’re proud to have the family of James P. Wilmot standing side-by-side with us as we create one of the best cancer centers in the nation here in Rochester,” said President Seligman.

The Wilmot family and its James P. Wilmot Foundation previously contributed $5 million as a jump-start to the Cancer Center’s comprehensive campaign. The additional $3 million demonstrates their continued enthusiasm for the creation of a state-of-the-art, nationally recognized cancer center in Rochester.

Corrigan-Minehan Professor of Political Science

Corrigan-Minehan Professor of Political Science

On March 24, Trustee Cathy Minehan and her husband E. Gerald Corrigan welcomed and celebrated the work of Lawrence Rothenberg, the new Corrigan-Minehan Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. Rothenberg, an expert on interest groups and environmental politics, was honored in an installation ceremony held in the Hawkins-Carlson Room, Rush Rhees Library.

The endowed professorship is part of a $3 million gift to the University of Rochester, which also will be used to fund scholarships. Corrigan, a former chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, is now a managing director at Goldman Sachs. Minehan, former chief executive and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, now works at Arlington Advisory Partners in Boston. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the College in 1968 and has served as a trustee of the University since 1995. She holds an M.B.A. from New York University.

“Just about everything he said about his approach to political science, his approach to scholarship, his approach the research, hit my sweet spot,” Corrigan said during his speech at the ceremony. “We think of this as an investment in the future.”

“Being able to give back is a humbling thing,” Minehan said. “Neither of us could think of anything better than investing in the University.”

University President Joel Seligman thanked Minehan and Corrigan for their long relationship with Rochester and acknowledged Rothenberg’s work and dedication to his field.

“Few events in the life of a university or college rival the creation of an endowed professorship,” Seligman said. “This is literally the equivalent of a knighthood. Cathy and Gerry’s dedication to education is what we’re really celebrating today.”

Rothenberg originally joined the University of Rochester in 1989. He is the former director of the W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy at the University. Rothenberg taught at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University from 2002 to 2005. During that time he was named Max McGraw Distinguished Professor of Management and the Environment, and director of the Ford Center on Global Citizenship. Rothenberg returned to Rochester in 2005. He received his doctoral degree from Stanford University in 1986 and is the author of numerous journal articles and four books.

Advancement Updates

Advancement Professional Leads Stewardship Programs

Erin L. Moyer has joined University advancement as senior director of stewardship.

Adv E Moyer

Moyer was director of stewardship at Lehigh University before coming to Rochester. At Lehigh, she oversaw both the gift processing and stewardship departments. She created and managed Lehigh’s donor acknowledgement policies and correspondence during their $500 million campaign.

She designed programs to honor donors at the $1 million level and higher and donors who supported scholarships, facilities, endowed funds, and other essential areas serving Lehigh’s mission. Before her director tenure of nearly two years, she served as Lehigh’s assistant director of stewardship.

Moyer also gained valuable advancement experience as a member of the donor services staff at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Penn. The philanthropic organization is dedicated to soil regeneration for the improvement of agriculture and human health.

Moyer earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Kutztown University and her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lehigh University.

Associate Vice President for Medical Center Advancement Named

Adv C Gobel

Chad M. Gobel, formerly of the Cleveland Clinic, has been appointed associate vice president for Medical Center Advancement at the University of Rochester. His professional skills, collaborative approaches, and energy are an ideal fit for the Medical Center’s advancement efforts.

Gobel brings extensive advancement leadership experience to Rochester. As associate chairman for institutional relations and development at the Cleveland Clinic, his team contributed substantially to a $1.25 billion campaign and supported the goals of that institution’s strategic plan. He has produced dramatic results in grateful patient giving and built highly successful principal, leadership, and major giving programs.

Prior to the Cleveland Clinic, he was assistant dean for external affairs for the College of Dentistry at The Ohio State University where he grew the fundraising program 600%. Before Ohio State, he held advancement positions at the University of Maryland, including assistant to the president and director of government and community relations.

A frequent speaker at national conferences, Gobel holds an M.B.A. from the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Towson State University.

Simon School Stock Climbs in U.S. News & World Report

The University of Rochester’s William E. Simon Graduate School of Business has risen into the rank of the top 25 business schools in the influential, annual survey released by U.S. News & World Report. The new ranking reflects a jump from last year’s position as 36th in the nation.

This upward movement reflects improvements by Simon in virtually every survey category including recruiter assessment (up 19 places), average starting salary and bonus (up nine), undergraduate G.P.A. (up three), students employed three months after graduation (up three), and students employed at graduation (up two).

In a phone call to Simon School Dean Mark Zupan, J. Peter Simon sent his congratulations to the University community: “I am exhilarated and proud that the Simon School is beginning to be recognized for the fine quality institution that we are, and I look forward to the bright future ahead of us.”

For more details, please visit

Upcoming Events

  • June 20: Rochester — Installation of Susan Gibbons as Vice Provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries. Rush Rhees Library. 4 p.m.
  • June 22: Buffalo — Wicked: The Musical. Shea Art Center. 2 p.m.
  • June 24: Rochester — Slater College. The Meliora. 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
  • July 13: Chicago — Kooza - Cirque du Soleil. United Center. Reception: 2:30- 4 p.m. Show: 5 p.m.
  • August 1: Niagara-on-the-Lake — Wonderful Town. Shaw Festival.
  • August 8: San Diego — BBQ on the Beach. LaJolla Beach and Tennis Club.

Alumni Travel and Learn Program: Alumni Association tours, open to all members of the University community, offer many opportunities to visit exciting locations while learning from noted staff and faculty experts. For more information, click here.

Young Alumni Council: For information about the University of Rochester’s Young Alumni Council, click here.


Keeping you connected to online information about the University of Rochester

Fast Forward Archive

The Fast Forward archive is currently being redesigned. Please look for links in our next issue.