Fast Forward: The University of Rochester Advancement E-Newsletter

October 1, 2008

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Values and Action

Jim Thompson

“Greatness is not where we stand but in what direction we are moving.”
—Oliver Wendell Holmes

Let me begin my message by congratulating all those who contributed to Advancement’s record financial performance in the past fiscal year. Our success is built on the vision of our Board of Trustees and led by President Joel Seligman. Their efforts have energized donors and volunteers across the entire University community. The hard work and dedication of our many academic and administrative leaders, faculty, and staff have made this a truly shared achievement. I hope you share my pride in these results and are inspired by the promise of even better things to come in the years ahead.

It is critical that we build on our success and maintain our momentum. The year ahead will require a sustained effort toward our Operation Advance Business Plan goals. We will implement programs to build and organize our volunteer network. We will strengthen ties with our most dedicated leaders and build new relationships with individuals who are passionate about a greater University of Rochester.

One measure of a world class university is the range, size, and commitment of its network of support, including alumni, parents, and friends. Harvard University’s endowment has a financial value of more than $35 billion. But perhaps Harvard’s most valuable asset — built over 369 years — is the network of dedicated Harvard supporters, including people who are engaged as major gift donors and Annual Fund donors, people who are engaged as volunteers for Harvard’s schools and units and who are experienced campaign volunteers.

Throughout the coming year and beyond, we will work to expand the University of Rochester’s network of alumni, parents, and friends. We will engage them in the life and work of the University and get them excited about our future. Let me highlight two key programs:

University Leaders Initiative (ULI): This important program has been created for a select group of supporters who share the enduring values of the University. The program will expand the University’s volunteer network in key regions of the country and identify those capable of making leadership gifts in support of University priorities. More than 25 events are planned over the next 18 months.

National Councils: In partnership with our academic leaders, we are forming National Councils to help shape the vision and plans of the University’s schools and major units. By this fall, National Councils will have been established for The College, Eastman School of Music, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Simon Graduate School of Business, and Warner Graduate School of Education. Over the next several months, with the help of Dean Kathy Parker, a National Council for the School of Nursing will be assembled.

During the busy fall season ahead, we will host many events on campus and around the country. Thousands of alumni, parents, students, and friends will join us. No matter what our individual roles are, it is critical that we demonstrate a commitment to excellence, attention to detail, and gracious hospitality in everything we do.

I would like to highlight the George Eastman Circle Gala for Charter Members on Friday, October 17, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. At this historic event, we will celebrate the spectacular success of the George Eastman Circle’s charter phase with a dinner and featured entertainment by Tony Award winner Christian Hoff, star of the hit Broadway show Jersey Boys. The extraordinary effort to launch the George Eastman Circle was led by a committed group of volunteer leaders, including Trustees Larry Bloch, Tom Sloan, and Gwen Greene. I want to offer my heartfelt and unreserved thanks to them and all those who have joined us. We are truly making history together.  

Advancement’s highest purpose is building enduring institutions that serve humanity. We can best serve this great research institution by working in close partnership with our most faithful supporters and enlarging the University family. In the months and years ahead, we must carry the word from the University of Rochester into the world. And we must bring those in the world who recognize its possibilities and potential into the heart of the University.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer



Robert B. Goergen ’60 Awarded Hutchison Medal

Robert B. Goergen

University Trustee Robert B. Goergen ’60 was awarded the Charles Force and Marjorie Force Hutchison Medal, the University’s highest alumni honor, at the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering convocation held on September 5. The Hutchison Medal is given in recognition of his outstanding career achievements and service to the University.

“Bob Goergen has lived a life exemplified by our University motto, Meliora,” said President Joel Seligman. “His leadership of the Board of Trustees, his generosity that renewed the College’s athletic center and made our biomedical engineering and optics building a reality, and the Goergen Awards for our esteemed faculty, staff, and programs show the breadth of his commitment to excellence.”

Goergen Award Winners

The University of Rochester recognized the recipients of the Goergen Awards September 5 during the College’s annual Convocation, shortly after Robert B. Goergen ’60 was given the Hutchison Medal.

This year’s recipients of the Goergen Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching are Fred Cohen, professor of mathematics; Robert Foster, professor of anthropology; and James Longenbach, professor of English.

Nigel Maister accepted the Goergen Award for Curricular Achievement in Undergraduate Education on behalf of the University of Rochester International Theatre Program. In the final category, Jane Possee, associate director of athletics and recreation, received the Goergen Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Learning.

For a full story on the Goergen Awards, click here.

For more than a decade, the most distinguished teaching awards in the College have been presented during the annual fall convocation. The Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching, the Award for Curricular Achievement in Undergraduate Education, and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Learning all bear the Goergen name. Bob and his wife Pamela have supported the awards since 1997.

A trustee since 1982, including his 12-year tenure as board chair, Goergen is the chairman and CEO of Blyth Inc., of Greenwich, Conn. One of the nation’s most highly regarded business executives, he also is recognized as a leading educational philanthropist. A successful entrepreneur, Goergen founded and is the chairman of The Ropart Group, a private-equity investment firm based in Greenwich.

Goergen has been a key volunteer and a major benefactor of the University for several decades. The Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center and the Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics are both named in recognition of his leadership support.

Goergen graduated from the University in 1960 with a degree in physics. He also holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

School of Medicine and Dentistry and School of Nursing Reunions

John N. Wilder Award Recipients

The School of Medicine and Dentistry celebrated Reunion September 25-27, 2008. Highlights included the 37th Annual George Hoyt Whipple Society Dinner, the George L. Engel Memorial Lecture presented by Dr. Jules Cohen ’53, ’57M (MD), and the Distinguished Alumnus Lecture by Dr. Robert Brent ’48, ’53M (MD), ’55M (PhD), ’88 (Hnr).

Dean David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D. hosted the third annual Generosity Meets Gratitude scholarship reception, which gave current students the opportunity to meet and thank alumni who have provided them with scholarship support. The Back to School session, hosted by Associate Dean for Medical School Education David R. Lambert, M.D., featured current students who shared their perspectives on medical education at the University today.

At the 37th Annual Whipple Dinner, Dean Guzick presented the first John N. Wilder Award to Betsy Small Fuchs ’82M (MD), Marc D. Fuchs ’81M (MD), Judy A. Small ’78M (MD), and Ira Cohen, M.D. in recognition of their generous support through the Small Fuchs Family Scholarship Fund at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. John N. Wilder was an Albany businessman and one of the University’s founders. He served as the first president of the Board of Trustees and led the first organized campaign to raise funds for what was then a fledgling university.

The SMD Heritage Trail Tour featured landmarks and locations that sparked memories while showcasing the extraordinary progress at the school. All in all, Reunion 2008 was a celebration of great accomplishments and an occasion to strengthen bonds across generations.

Marcia and Robert Wilson

The School of Nursing Reunion was also held September 25-27, 2008, and featured events that made it one of the most memorable reunions in the school’s history.

The Annual Alumni Awards Luncheon recognized Madeline H. Schmitt ’65N, ’70 (Mas) as the School of Nursing’s 2008 Distinguished Alumna and featured a keynote address by new dean Kathy Parker. The event also featured the presentation of a reunion check for $291,238, which included a generous bequest from Carolyn Whitney ’47, ’48N and a gift from Marcia ’58N and Robert Wilson, who had established the Marcia Milton Wilson ’58 Endowed Scholarship in honor of Marcia’s 50th reunion.

Dean Parker also was the guest speaker at the 50th Annual Clare Dennison Lecture where her featured topic was translational research. At the 50-Year Club Breakfast, commemorative medallions were conferred upon alumni celebrating their 50th Reunion. A highlight of the weekend was the Dean’s Diamond Circle dinner held at the Genesee Valley Club.

Alumni and friends took guided tours of Strong Memorial Hospital and the Loretta C. Ford Education Wing to view exciting advances in healthcare and education. Other offerings included a wine tasting for graduates of the last decade (1998-2008), a program on palliative care for continuing education credit, and class pictures. A Bon Voyage Bash closed Reunion 2008 with a reception, dinner, and interactive science show.

Two Campuses, One Great Weekend

Meliora Weekend BrochureAll members of the University community are invited back to campus to celebrate Meliora Weekend and Eastman Weekend, together for the first time.

Although keynote speakers, Anderson Cooper, host of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°, and comedian Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, have sold out, there is still plenty to do. The weekend, which runs October 16-19, has something for everyone, from the Simon All-Alumni Reunion celebration to the homecoming football game. Special highlights include:

  • The George Eastman Circle Gala for Charter Members. Dinner to be followed by entertainment by Broadway star Christian Hoff, Tony Award-winner for his role in Jersey Boys.
  • Presidential Symposium on Great Issues of the 21st Century: Can Individuals Make a Difference in the Developing World?
  • A conversation with Charles Strouse ’47E, Tony Award-winning composer of Bye Bye Birdie, Applause, and Annie.
  • Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine panel led by Dr. Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD, PhD), senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center.
  • A conversation with legendary composer and performer Dave Brubeck, winner of the Living Legacy Jazz Award from the Kennedy Center and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Craighead-Saunders Organ dedication and gala concert as part of the annual Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative Festival.

For a complete listing of events and to register, click here.

School of Medicine and Dentistry’s National Council

SMD National Council

The inaugural meeting of the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s National Council was held August 15. The National Council plays a key role in the strategic planning process and focuses on long-term institution building for the school. Council members in attendance included Chair Paul F. Griner, M.D., Ernest (Ernie) A. Bates, M.D., Robert (Bob) L. Brent, M.D., Ph.D., James D. Cox, M.D., C. McCollister (Mac) Evarts, M.D., Robert M. Gannan, M.D., Ph.D., Elizabeth (Lissa) R. McAnarney, M.D., Seymour (Sy) Ira Schwartz, M.D., and Robert M. Sutherland, M.D., Ph.D. They were joined by President Joel Seligman, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of the Medical Center Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., and School of Medicine and Dentistry Dean David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D. Members not present at the meeting include Joseph Martin, M.D., Ph.D. and Robert Rose, Ph.D.

Helen H. Berkeley Makes $1 Million Gift to the Memorial Art Gallery

Helen H. BerkeleyHelen H. Berkeley graciously gave $1 million to the Memorial Art Gallery. The bulk of the gift, one of the largest in the Gallery’s history, will be used to renovate and reinstall the second-floor antiquities gallery. This gallery, which will be renamed the Helen H. Berkeley Gallery of Ancient Art, will showcase a rare pair of fourth-century Egyptian coffins currently on view on the first floor, as well as objects from Egypt, the eastern Mediterranean and the Near East. The rest of her generous gift will be used to establish the Helen H. Berkeley Fund for Art Conservation.

Berkeley is a long-time friend and supporter of the Gallery and an avid lover of art. She served as president of the volunteer-led Gallery Council from 1990 to 1992 and has been a member of the gallery for more than 30 years. She is a member of the Director’s Circle and was active with “Let the Art Live On,” a previous endowment campaign. She was also a sponsor of the national traveling exhibition “American Impressionism: Paintings from the Phillips Collection,” which was at the Gallery in the spring and summer.

Dr. Robert L. and Lillian H. Brent White Coat Ceremony

Dr. Robert L. and Lillian H. Brent White Coat Ceremony

The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry welcomed new medical students to campus in August. Incoming students are formally inducted to the School of Medicine and Dentistry each fall during the Dr. Robert L. and Lillian H. Brent White Coat Ceremony.

Pledge Aimed at Making School of Medicine Tuition-Free

On the 55th anniversary of his graduation from the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Robert Brent, M.D., Ph.D., and his wife, Lillian, have pledged $2 million to match donations to a scholarship fund to make the medical school tuition-free.

“It is our dream to make the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry a school free of tuition, or, at least, to markedly reduce the tuition costs,” said Brent.

Brent and his wife donated $1 million for medical school scholarships in 2006. The $2 million pledge was announced at the School of Medicine and Dentistry Reunion Weekend.

After a week of orientation, both to medical school and to the profession of medicine, students and their families gathered for the ceremony in which students don their white coats for the first time, symbolizing their entry into the profession of medicine. 

The ceremony is named in honor of Dr. Robert L. and Lillian H. Brent, who have been long-time supporters of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. They have committed generous financial support to alumni affairs and innovative scholarship programs and have devoted their time and energy as well.

The Brents are both Rochester natives and alumni of the University. Dr. Brent received an A.B. in 1949, M.D. with honor in 1953, Ph.D. in 1955, and an Honorary D.Sc. in 1988.  Lillian was an English Honors major at the University of Rochester and received her A.B. in 1950.

Beverly Petterson Bishop and Charles W. Bishop Professorship

The Bishops on the Eastman Quad

At a ceremony held last spring in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library, Professor Michael Tanenhaus was officially installed as the Beverly Petterson Bishop and Charles W. Bishop Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. The ceremony was presided over by President Joel Seligman and Peter Lennie, Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. The Bishops created the professorship to support an outstanding scientist who researches cognitive brain functions and teaches undergraduate and graduate students.

The University of Rochester community is deeply saddened by Beverly Bishop’s recent death. She was a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Buffalo, where she studied how the nervous system controls muscle activity. Her research interests were strongly influenced by the late Hermann Rahn, former vice chairman of the Department of Physiology at Rochester. She had received top awards for teaching excellence from SUNY, published more than 150 scholarly articles, and edited four books. Dr. Bishop received her master’s degree in psychology from the University of Rochester in 1946. Her deep commitment to learning and intellectual discovery will long be remembered at Rochester. Her contributions — which brought great distinction to the University during her life — are now part of the institution’s proud history.

Charles Bishop is an associate professor emeritus of medicine at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. He is a pioneer in the field of medical informatics, having designed the CODEN system while working at the Chronic Disease Research Institute at the University of Buffalo. Since then, much of his work has been devoted to making medical information freely available to all through Web-based sources. Dr. Bishop received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Rochester in 1946.

“Michael Tanenhaus is an international authority on the comprehension of language,” said Peter Lennie. “His impact on the field, through his research and through his training of students, has been remarkable, and I am delighted that the generosity of Beverly and Charles Bishop enables us to recognize it.”

Upcoming Events

  • October 2: Norfolk, Virginia area — Celebrate the University of Rochester: An Evening with Vice President Paul Burgett ’68E, ’76E (PhD). Co-hosted by Blair Wimbush ’77, Theresa Canada ’76, ’89W (EdD) and Milt Long ’74S (MBA). 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Town Point Club, Suite 300, 101 W. Main St., Norfolk. $10 admission; includes cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres; valet parking; business casual; registration requested.
  • October 4: New York City area — Rochester at the Races. Hosted by Ira Block ’68. 12:30 p.m., lunch buffet; 1:00 p.m., post time. Belmont Park, 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, N.Y. $20 admission; includes valet parking, track admission, race program, and lunch. Advance registration requested.
  • October 14 to 16: Niagara Falls area, N.Y. and Canada — Class of 1958 Pre-Reunion trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Class members and their guests will see plays by Shaw and Hellman; enjoy luxurious accommodations, fine dining, and wine tasting; and visit area attractions. Advance registration requested.
  • October 16: Finger Lakes Region, N.Y. — Class of 1958 Pre-Reunion Trip. Class members and their guests will tour Cornell’s Museum of the Earth, Women’s Rights National Park, and enjoy fine dining and wine tasting on this day trip. Advance reservations requested.
  • October 16 to 19: Rochester — Meliora Weekend 2008. For a complete listing of events and to register, click here.

Event Registration: To register for events online, check for updates, view attendee lists, and explore alumni programs, click here.

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.


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