Fast Forward: The University of Rochester Advancement E-Newsletter

March 4, 2011

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Values and Action

Jim Thompson

The University’s flag was lowered to half-staff this week in honor of David Kearns ’52, who passed away last Friday. David served three decades as a University Trustee and almost a decade as its chairman. In addition to his monumental contributions to the University, David created a lasting legacy at the University. Every time students go to classes, professors look upon a new class of students, and discoveries are made in our laboratories, David’s life and impact are felt at the University of Rochester. David was a national figure as the much heralded leader of Xerox. He served all of us through his chairmanship of the National Urban League, and he served his country as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education in 1991. We mourn the loss of a man dedicated to making his alma mater, community, and his nation a better place. He truly was an inspiration to all who knew him.

In recognition of his commitment to diversity and excellence, in 2002 the University established the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences and Engineering to expand the number of low-income, first-generation, and historically underrepresented minority students pursuing undergraduate and graduate education. To learn more about David and his legacy, please visit The David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences and Engineering,


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer



$27 Million and Counting—George Eastman Circle Members Celebrate in New York

GEC crowd

The George Eastman Circle turned four years old at the beginning of 2011. On February 10, hundreds of alumni and friends attended the annual George Eastman Circle Dinner at The Pierre. The program included a celebration of milestones, University updates, and a wonderful address by New York Times columnist David Brooks. Here are some highlights of the evening:

      • The original goal of 250 members was broken in December 2007; now, with over 1,650 memberships, the George Eastman Circle is a robust giving society that has committed over $27 million in budget-relieving support to the University. The impact of that support is chronicled in the 2010 George Eastman Circle Honor Roll, which was distributed for the first time in New York. This unique annual giving leadership society has garnered national visiblity and reocognition.

      • After four years serving as co-chairs of the George Eastman Circle, Tom Sloan ’65 and Larry Bloch ’75 transferred leadership responsibilities to Larry’s classmate, Nathan Moser. Under Tom and Larry’s leadership, the George Eastman Circle continually surpassed each of its ambitious goals. They now transtion into new volunteer roles for the University to help guide our campaign efforts. Nathan is a University Trustee and the chair of the Arts, Sciences and Engineering National Council. His wife, Rita Ungar-Moser ’81, celebrates her 30th College Reunion this fall.

      • Nathan announced the creation of a new Associates Level of the Circle. The new level is aimed at graduates of the last ten years and offers them membership at a more attainable level. Associates will commit to a gift of $4,000 spread out over five years.

      • • Estefany Angeles ’11 spoke eloquently of her experience as a student at the University of Rochester. She is majoring in Economics and English, is president of the Spanish and Latino Students Association, a member of the Keidaean Senior Honor Society, studied abroad in Frieburg, Germany, and participated on the Debate Team and the Mock Trial Team. Estefany was recently accepted into Teach for America and plans to attend law school after she finishes her teaching commitment. President Joel Seligman commented that Estefany is representative of so many Rochester students—smart, hard-working, curious, and driven.

      • Two years ago, NPR-Commentator and New York Times journalist David Brooks wrote an interesting piece titled “Marshmallows and Public Policy”. His talk to Eastman Circle members at The Pierre referenced that article and focused on balanced and thoughtful reasoning in politics. (Brooks's article can be found online here.) Brooks also discussed his soon-to-be-published book The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement.

As always, Board of Trustees Chairman Ed Hajim ’58 challenged every Eastman Circle member to recruit a classmate or friend. He said, “You are a group of extraordinary individuals—collectively you reflect the University’s excellence. You are alumni, parents, community leaders, friends, faculty, and staff who recognize the importance of the University.”

To view photos from the George Eastman Circle, click here.

Endowed Professorships—Attracting and Retaining Our Faculty Leaders

Gifts to endow professorships are among the greatest gifts that any University can receive because they exist in perpetuity. They are extremely important resources that strengthen and secure the future of work being done throughout the University. In academia, professorships are among the most coveted and defining rewards that a faculty member can receive.

Tang photoChing Tang, the Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Chemical Engineering in the University of Rochester's Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was awarded the Wolf Prize in the field of chemistry earlier this month. The prize, which is given annually by the Wolf Foundation, is widely considered second in prestige to the Nobel Prize. Tang is the inventor of the organic light-emitting diode (OLED), which gave birth to a multi-billion-dollar industry.

Professor Tang came to the University in 2006 from Eastman Kodak Company where he was a Distinguished Research Fellow. His recruitment and subsequent installation as the first Doris Johns Cherry Professor in 2007, underscores the importance of endowed professorships to a University. The ability to attract and fund accomplished and award-winning scholars is the hallmark of prestigious research universities.

The impact of the visionary gift from the late Doris Johns Cherry ’43 is clear. The University recently received two significant gift commitments to establish professorships.

Bell & ChenRichard T. Bell is celebrating his triumph over cancer with a gift of $1.5 million that will be used to establish the Richard T. Bell Endowed Professorship in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. The gift is given in honor of Yuhchyau Chen, M.D., Ph.D., interim chair of the department and a professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, who treated Bell. It will be used to support research activities in clinical cancer and radiation oncology, and to retain and recruit new faculty to further strengthen the University’s contribution to the fight against cancer.

Joe and Andrea Cunningham have established the Joseph F. Cunningham Professorship in the School of Arts and Sciences. Their leadership gift creates a professorship to be awarded to a scholar whose work focuses on modern European or American History. A Rochester native who grew up near campus, Joe has fond memories of spending time on campus as a youth, sledding near the athletic fields and playing pick-up basketball. After attending John Carroll University and serving in the U.S. Army, Joe returned to Rochester and earned his master’s degree in history in 1967. Joe’s lifelong connection with the University and his love of history has kept him associated with the history department ever since. Joe is a member of the Washington, D.C. Regional Cabinet.

Technology Investment Fund Makes Inaugural Awards to Fuel Cell and Vaccine Projects

Research in vaccine development and fuel cell production are the first two projects to be funded under the new University of Rochester Technology Development Fund. The fund was created in 2010 to provide grants to University scientists. These grants help researchers move a technology closer to the stage where it can be transferred to the market.

Jacob Schlesinger, Department of Medicine, has been awarded $100,000 to continue to design and test a vaccine for dengue fever, a disease primarily found in the developing world and one that has so far eluded efforts to develop a vaccine. Schlesinger's research in this area has received support from the Gates Foundation and the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative.

Yang photoHong Yang, Department of Chemical Engineering, has been awarded $60,000 to produce and test a novel catalyst for fuel cells. The catalyst, which is constructed of nano-materials, has the potential to increase effectiveness and reduce cost of the hydrogen and methanol fuel cells.

The Technology Development Fund is a philanthropic source of strategic funding to bridge a critical gap – known to researchers and venture investors as the “valley of death”. The Fund supports development of promising research and technologies at their most vulnerable stage, helping them mature within the University environment to a stage where they are appealing to private funders. For the past eight years, the University has ranked in the top fifteen institutions nationally in royalty revenue from licensed technologies. Rochester leads universities nationwide in terms of commercial value generated per dollar of research funding.

Led by Provost Ralph Kuncl and Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Dean Rob Clark, the Fund seeks to create an eco-system of entrepreneurship to compete with similar programs that exist in places such as Cambridge and Palo Alto. The University has the components to compete: world-class research, internal policies that support entrepreneurship, and a Department of Technology Transfer.

Philanthropic contributions to the Technology Transfer Fund strengthen the University of Rochester and enhance its role as a source of innovation that creates economic value, enhances national and regional competitiveness, and improves the lives of millions.

To read more about the University of Rochester's Technology Development Fund, click here.

For more information, contact the Office of University Advancement:
Rob Gibson
Senior Associate Vice President
University Advancement

Benefit Performance by Renée Fleming ’83E Supports Scholarship at the Eastman School of Music

Meliora seal

Renée Fleming ’83E, the world's most beloved soprano, returned to her hometown and alma mater for a performance with the Eastman Philharmonia. Under the direction of Neil Varon and Eastman School of Music Dean Douglas Lowry, the concert featured Fleming performing across a variety of styles—highlighted by an encore from La Traviata with three Eastman student tenors.

The University presented Fleming the honorary degree of Doctor of Music. Fleming recounted memories of her time at the Eastman School after accepting the doctorate and credited the instruction and inspiration she received for shaping her renowned career.

Sponsors of the event attended a small post-dinner concert with Ms. Fleming at the Genesee Valley Club. The Renée Fleming Endowed Scholarship Fund was established thanks to the generous support of our sponsors— Canandaigua National Bank & Trust; JP Morgan Chase; HSBC Bank USA, N.A.; the Eastman Theatre Book Group; Catherine B. Carlson; and First Niagara Financial Group. The Fund will support students in the voice and opera program at Eastman School and is part of a continuing effort at the University to raise awareness about the need for scholarship aid.

Regional Cabinet in Washington, D.C. Launches

GEC book

Following in the steps of Regional Cabinets operating in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago, the Washington, D.C. Regional Cabinet (pictured above) convened for their inaugural operational meeting on February 8. Regional Cabinets are part of a continuing effort to enhance the Rochester community at a local level throughout the country.

The cabinet in Washington, D.C. includes alumni representatives from Arts, Sciences and Engineering, the Simon School, the Warner School, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry. In addition, parents of Rochester students are cabinet members.

Their annual dinner will be held next fall. Cabinets on the west coast and in Boston and Chicago will meet again this spring and the Westchester County Cabinet launches in May.

Fast Forward Archive

January 27, 2011
December 31, 2010
December 2, 2010
November 8, 2010

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