Fast Forward: The University of Rochester Advancement E-Newsletter

November 8, 2010

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Values and Action

Jim Thompson

Another fantastic Meliora Weekend! I want to congratulate and thank everyone for their involvement in what has truly become a “Meliora Week” for us. We conducted important Board and National Council meetings; we had a sneak preview of the Eastman Theatre’s new wing and cheered at the Eastman Theatre’s illumination of the new Dale Chihuly “Blue and Gold Chandelier”; and we celebrated some of our best alumni at a series of school awards dinners. Meliora Weekend officially started on Thursday, and by the time campus settled down on Sunday afternoon with our final events, we had staged an astonishing 240 events!

Thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who contributed their hard work, ideas, energy, and enthusiasm to make this a weekend to be remembered. My deep appreciation also goes to the Advancement team and our many academic and administrative partners across campus. The series of events on health issues, for instance (Sanjay Gupta's keynote address, Dr. Brad Berk's and Mary Berk’s Compassionate Care talk, the Presidential Symposium on Health Care with Hugo Sonnenschein, Sanjay Gupta, Philip Pizzo and Steven Goldstein, and several other events from medical alumni), is an example of the collaboration among staff, alumni, administrators, and trustees in developing great programming. No other university I know attempts anything this comprehensive and complex, nor do they offer events of the quality and with the precision the University of Rochester produces year after year.

The range of events we all enjoyed and from which we gained so much proved what is possible when all the members of our community work together. United by our shared belief in the ethos of “ever better,” we are making strides today that impact many lives. What we do today – at this crucial moment in our history — also shapes the future. Let us continue to move forward with a shared vision and purpose to improve our world today.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer



College Reunion Giving Surpasses $10M Mark at Meliora Weekend 2010

award recipients

Reunion Giving Records Set at Meliora Weekend 2010 (numbers reflect totals as of 11/1/10)

Class of 1960 – The Robert B. Goergen Challenge
An all-time class giving record set: $5,600,752

Class of 1965 – The Greene-Sloan Challenge
A new 45th Reunion class record set: $1,113,138

Class of 2000
A new 10th Reunion class record set: $83,347

College alumni expressed their belief in the University of Rochester’s future through unprecedented generosity at Meliora Weekend 2010. For example, the total giving for undergraduate classes with years ending in 0’s and 5’s is already at $10,578,675 — a 69% increase over the previous year to date. Reunion 2010 brought 55 new members into the George Eastman Circle, and 12 current members upgraded their status. “People were excited and energized by Meliora Weekend,” said Matt Siegel, director of Reunion Giving. “We are extremely grateful for the way the classes embraced giving this year.”

Among the many outstanding class initiatives, the Robert B. Goergen Challenge — issued to the Class of 1960 — is notable for its ambitious goals and record-breaking results to date. The Goergen Challenge set a new class gift record of $5,600,752 (and counting!) as the result of the generosity of the Class of 1960. At the dinner, Robert B. Goergen ’60, Board Chairman Emeritus, proudly shared news of giving totals with classmates and guests and also announced he was extending the challenge, matching every gift two-to-one up to an additional $250,000 through December 31, 2010. T.C. Lewis ’60, chair of the 50th Reunion Gift Campaign, spoke about his classmate’s generosity at the dinner. “At first, Bob’s challenge seemed unattainable. However, one at a time, classmates began stepping up to the challenge. Personally, Bob’s challenge to our class made me consider doing something more than I had intended to do in honor of my 50th. Let me tell you, I am so happy I did. The challenge serves as a vehicle to educate, excite, and involve as many of us as possible in supporting the University of Rochester in diverse and important ways.”

Meliora Weekend Dinners Feature Alumni Award Recipients

ASE awards dinner

“No great university has been built without great alumni” Board Chairman Ed Hajim ’58 said at the Arts, Sciences, and Engineering dinner. Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, the Simon School, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry all recognized some of their outstanding alumni at special dinners over Meliora Weekend. This reflects the significance of the awards, the recipients, and their remarkable accomplishments.

Listed below are 13 alumni whose outstanding service, commitment, and leadership are helping to make their schools, our University, and the world ever better.

awards list

Click here for a photo gallery of the awards dinners.

Click here to view the Robert B. Goergen Dean’s Medal video.

Alumni and School Participation Makes Meliora Weekend 2010 Better Than Ever

Diamond Circle menu

This year brought the fourth highest attendance at Meliora Weekend with more than 6,500 alumni, students, parents, faculty, friends and staff members, and special guests gathered in Rochester! Some 240 programs were offered with 162 alumni serving as speakers, panelists, or event hosts. With the participation of the School of Medicine and Dentistry this year, the breadth and depth of weekend programming became even more impressive. Below is a recap of just a few of the great panels from the weekend:

Financial Regulations and Job Creation: Hosted by the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, the panel was moderated by Simon School Dean Mark Zupan. Panelists included Bernard Ferrari ’70, ’74M (MD), chairman of Ferrari Consultancy, LLC; Alan Zekelman ’87S (MS), president of Atlas Tube; and Louise McDonald ’99S (MBA), executive vice president and president, international operations, Welch Allyn. This lively discussion focused on the panelists’ experiences coping with the impact of the economic downturn on their respective industries, government policies in the context of global markets, and the increasing importance of higher education to the nation’s economic health and competitiveness.

Dean’s Breakfast – Warner Alumni Making a Difference: Sponsored by the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, the discussion was moderated by Assistant Professor Edward Brockenbrough. Participants were Mary Elizabeth Bickel ’91W (EdD), co-founder, Hoenny Center for Research and Development in Teaching; Lauren Doyle ’98W (MS), executive director, Matt Talbot Ministries; Mary Lupiani Farrell Ph.D., ’72W (MS), professor, Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Education, and director, Center for Dyslexia Studies; Jon Hunter ’88W (EdD), superintendent, Fairport (NY) Central School District; and Elizabeth A. Whitaker ’82W (MS), former senior foreign service officer in the U.S. State Department. Presented in an informal setting that brought together alumni and members of the campus community, the discussion centered on how Warner degrees are put to use to improve education and counseling. Also, Dean Borasi shared news about the new building being planned for the Warner School.

Health and Medicine in Ethiopia: Far More Than Primary Care: Rick Hodes ’82M (MD). As medical director of a clinical effort in Ethiopia for the past 20 years, Rick Hodes ’82M (MD) is known as “Dr. Rick” to his patients, many of whom are children. His humanitarian effort has been chronicled in a documentary film, Making the Crooked Straight. More than 100 students, alumni, and faculty members attended the kick-off lecture and lunch.

The Power of Compassionate Care: Dr. Bradford Berk ’79M (MD), ’81M (PhD), CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center, and his wife, Mary Berk. In a deeply moving and informative session, Dr. Berk described the experience of being a patient after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in May 2009. Months of rehabilitation and treatment gave him a new understanding of caregiving – from the importance of a touch or smile to establishing relationships with medical staff. These insights led him to the idea of “Compassionate Care,” whose principles are based on interaction, communication, and trust. Mary shared her experiences – ranging from the emotional to the clinical – emphasizing in a dramatic way the decisive role of family involvement in healing.

Miller’s Court-Sports and Society: Hosted by celebrated constitutional law professor Arthur R. Miller ’56, ’08 (LLD), this year's discussion featured panelists from across the University. Sports psychiatrist Tim Benson ’00M (MD), former Sports Illustrated editor and Life Trustee Myra Gelband ’71, anti-doping expert Don Catlin ’65M (MD), former NBA player and coach Bob Weiss P’12, and Judge Robert Sack ’60.

Networking in the Digital Age: The Edmund A. Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences hosted this event with moderator John Major ’67, founder and president of The Technologies Solutions Group. Panelists were Nomi Bergman ’85, president of Bright House Networks; Don Rose ’79, P’07, P ’10, P ’14, principal and deputy general counsel, KPMG LLP; and Susan Major, co-founder and managing partner of DavenportMajor. The discussion focused on trends in professional networking. Participants shared their perspectives as potential employers, providing students in the audience with valuable advice about how to submit inquiries, resumes and supporting material, and how to maintain communication through the selection process. The conversation also provided many pointers about creating effective networks for established professionals.

Is Congress Broken?: An audience of more than 100 enjoyed a very timely panel discussion on congressional politics. Moderated by Gerald Gamm, chair of the political science department and associate professor of political science and history, our panel was led by Jim Kennedy ’75, whose career in politics includes positions with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Joe Lieberman. Former congressmen Tom Reynolds and Martin Frost also sat on the panel.

Click here for a photo gallery of Meliora Weekend events.

George Eastman Circle Special Events

Sanjay Gupta GEC

George Eastman Circle members, their guests, and friends of the University enjoyed an evening with David Sedaris, humorist, author, and NPR commentator, during Meliora Weekend. The event, which included a special reception and book signing, attracted more than 600 guests – an increase of almost 200 from last year. Sedaris signed (and sometimes drew in) books at the Alumni and Advancement Center until almost 1 a.m.!

During the reception, Board Chair and Eastman Circle Charter Member Edmund A. Hajim ’58 thanked members for their wonderful support. He said: “You have created a momentum singular in University history – nothing like this has ever happened before.” Hajim also announced that the 2011 George Eastman Circle Dinner in New York City will be held on February 10 at The Pierre. The featured speaker will be New York Times editorial columnist David Brooks.

Following the keynote address on Saturday, founders, patrons, fellows, and benefactors of the George Eastman Circle gathered again for a luncheon and further remarks by featured speaker Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Introducing Dr. Gupta, Eastman Circle National Co-Chair and Charter Member Thomas R. Sloan ’65, ’67 (MS) reflected on the relevance of Dr. Gupta’s appearance at the University. “Health care is an important part of what we do at the University of Rochester,” Sloan said. “The George Eastman Circle supports health care significantly.”

When Dr. Gupta took the podium, he affirmed Sloan’s remarks, saying he enjoyed being in an environment that “stimulates new thoughts” and said he felt a part of the University community. Dr. Gupta said his familiarity with the University includes his deep respect for the work of Dr. Seymour (Sy) Ira Schwartz ’57M (Res). A member of the School of Medicine and Dentistry National Council and longtime distinguished member of the faculty of the University, Dr. Schwartz is a pre-eminent surgeon who for 35 years served as editor-in-chief of the landmark textbook Principles of Surgery.

Gupta also spoke about the powerful impact and necessity of philanthropy for building strong university medical centers. “I feel like I’m becoming a part of the University of Rochester family,” he said. In fact, earlier that morning, Dr. Gupta tweeted:

Gupta twitter page

Key Supporters of Eastman Theatre Renovation and Expansion Gather for Preview and Chihuly Chandelier Illumination


In an event that anticipated the 2010 Eastman Weekend celebration, honored guests gathered at the Eastman Theatre on the evening of Wednesday, October 13, for a reception, tour of the theatre expansion and new wing, and the illumination of the new “Blue and Gold Chandelier” by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. A reception, including a viewing of Kodak Hall, was held in Wegman Gallery and the Oval Lobby. Guests — representing key leaders of the Eastman Theatre Renovation and Expansion Project — then moved to Wolk Atrium for the illumination ceremony and remarks by University leaders.

Dean Douglas Lowry said the Eastman School will officially dedicate the Theatre’s new wing — which includes Hatch Recital Hall, Wolk Atrium, and the studio and rehearsal spaces — on December 10. In celebration, the School will present The New Eastman Evolution, an array of concerts by faculty members, students, and guests, beginning on December 6. “In reality, the festival begins here tonight in Wolk Atrium. We welcome you to the New Eastman Evolution,” Lowry said.

University Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58 spoke about the project’s impact on the Eastman School’s future: “It will take us into the 21st century – way into it,” he said. “The School will rise to a new level.” Hajim thanked the donors and praised Eastman School Dean Douglas Lowry and Senior Executive Associate Dean Jamal Rossi for their leadership of the project and contributions to a strategic plan for the Eastman School’s future.

“The illumination of the Blue and Gold Chandelier represents the beginning of a new movement in Eastman School history,” Dean Lowry said. He explained that in addition to Kodak Hall, the Eastman Theatre project has created new spaces for students and faculty that provide access to the most advanced audio and visual technology available. These facilities will enable the Eastman School to remain at the forefront of the rapidly changing world of music during the decades ahead.

President Joel Seligman said he was proud to be able to help fulfill George Eastman’s vision “to be always at the forefront of music.” He spoke about Eastman’s philanthropic support of the city of Rochester and the Eastman Theatre’s central place not only in the community but in the world. “I am here tonight, more than anything else, to thank the people responsible,” President Seligman said. “We have so many who joined us on this quest.”

Regional Burn and Trauma Services Renamed to Honor Laurence and Dennis Kessler

Kessler photoOn Friday, October 15, the University of Rochester Board of Trustees approved the renaming of the Medical Center’s regional burn and trauma services in honor of Laurence Kessler and Dennis Kessler. The two local restaurateurs have given more than $3 million to support the services; they recently made a new commitment of $1 million to begin an endowment that ensures growth of burn and trauma programs and also supports other University projects.

“Year after year, the Kesslers have been the largest individual donors to Strong Memorial Hospital,” said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., the Medical Center’s chief executive officer. “Kessler donations have given us the area’s best facilities for treating patients with traumatic injuries or burns. Their ongoing commitment to the Center’s endowment will ensure that our program meets regional needs and sets the pace nationally among centers that treat burns and other traumatic injuries.”

The Kessler Burn & Trauma Center name is now used to reference all areas within the Medical Center that provide emergent, inpatient, and outpatient care for patients with traumatic injuries and burns. Previously, only the Emergency Department’s trauma unit and Burn/Trauma Intensive Care Unit bore the Kessler name. 

The Kessler Center treats more than 3,000 people each year and features the area’s only dedicated burn service. With the Kessler-funded endowment, the Center hopes to attract more specialists who can offer a wider array of treatment options. In addition, Jeffrey H. Peters, M.D., the Seymour I. Schwartz Professor and Chair of Surgery at the Medical Center, said the Kessler Center will now be able to expand clinical research, become a leading presence in regional and national professional societies, and continue to improve patient care and surgical training.

Click here for the entire article.

Fast Forward Archive

September 29, 2010
August 31, 2010

July 30, 2010
June 25, 2010

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