Fast Forward: The University of Rochester Advancement E-Newsletter

April 29, 2011

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Values and Action

Jim Thompson

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure."
—Colin Powell

It can be hard to sift through the many messages you hear and read in today's world of social networking, 24-hour media coverage, and countless marketing campaigns. Our mailboxes and inboxes are filled with a multitude of competing requests for our time, attention, and support. We shuffle through the stacks of letters and e-mails, and an earnest and persuasive request usually gets our attention. I hope this is one of those requests that grabs your attention and you respond favorably to.

For more than 160 years our motto Meliora has inspired us to be "ever better.” It is a shared value that has been instilled in us and that we strive to live every day. You may recall a time when a teacher pushed you to a place you didn't think you could get to; a colleague blazed an unconventional path that led to a research breakthrough; a physician or a nurse showed you an extra amount of care or support; or a mentor, a fellow student, or coach changed the course of your life.

All of these stories, collectively, help build the unique story of our University. These moments, or series of moments, that we share and nod knowingly at are what we call Meliora Moments. The University has launched a project that we hope you will be part of. Please share your story—the pivotal moment when Rochester influenced and helped improve your life in a profound way. You can read more about the Meliora Moments project, read others’ moments, and submit your own at

Together our experiences create the tapestry of our University. We want to celebrate and build our special moments and stories. I'm convinced that by looking back and reflecting on your involvement with the University of Rochester, you'll remain an important and valuable part of its future.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer



Medical Research Building Named for E. Philip Saunders

Philip Saunders

"The most important thing Phil has done today is give thousands and thousands of patients hope."
Dr. Bradford Berk, chief executive officer, University of Rochester Medical Center at an April 4 press conference announcing Philip Saunders’ gift commitment

Rochester businessman E. Philip Saunders, already a major supporter of neuromuscular disease research at the University's Medical Center, has committed an additional $10 million to the neuromuscular disease program and other critically important areas of URMC service. Making one of the largest gifts ever received in the Medical Center’s history, Saunders is dedicating the gift to veterans of the U.S. armed forces. The University's new clinical and translational science building has been named the "Saunders Research Building" in his honor.

Saunders has been a dedicated supporter of the URMC and the ground breaking research under way in its Neuromuscular Disease Center. While the bulk of Saunders' new gift commitment will support clinical care and research in neuromuscular disease, some of the funds will support cancer research and help augment the University's commitment to translational science – accelerating the development of new clinical treatments based on discoveries made in University of Rochester laboratories.

The naming of the research building in Saunders' honor was announced at an opening event held on April 8. Dr. Richard Moxley, director of the Neuromuscular Disease Center, spoke about the promising work being done on myotonic muscular dystrophy, the most common type of muscular dystrophy affecting adults. Dr. Moxley met Mr. Saunders in 1998 when he treated Saunders' daughter for Guillain-Barre Syndrome; it was then that the Saunders family became involved in research efforts at the Medical Center. "Our state and national economy is under severe stress," Moxley said. "We need to pursue the opportunities that our research has discovered. Saunders’ gift makes it possible for us to pursue this goal and pursue it more rapidly."

New Warner School Building Named in Honor of Raymond F. LeChase

wayne lechase

R. Wayne LeChase and his wife Beverly have made a $3.5 million commitment to the University in recognition of the important role education plays in improving lives and strengthening the community. The gift will allow the Warner School of Education to break ground next month and to expand fundraising efforts for its construction and the important research, teaching, and education reform programs it will enable. The building will be named in memory of Wayne's father, the late Raymond F. LeChase. He was the founder of LeChase Construction Services, LLC, and was a pioneer in the Rochester construction community, a renowned philanthropist, and a dedicated supporter of education.

"My family and I are honored to be a part of this new facility," said Wayne LeChase. "I was raised to believe in the values of hard work, perseverance, commitment, and community, and there is no better way to see these ideals come to life than through the support of an institution committed to preparing our future educators. The Warner School of Education is a valuable asset to our community, and we are very excited to watch this come to fruition."

"Raymond LeChase's commitment to social responsibility and the community were founding principles of his company and a legacy that his son Wayne continues as chairman of LeChase Construction and as a Rochester community leader," President Joel Seligman said. Wayne also serves the University as a member of the Board of Trustees and advisor and member of key Medical Center leadership groups. Wayne is helping to shape the future of the University as a volunteer leader and major donor. He and Beverly are charter members of the George Eastman Circle, the University's leadership annual giving society.

Raymond F. LeChase Hall is the first major building to be constructed in the historic Wilson Quadrangle on the River Campus in 30 years. A four-story, 65,000-square-foot facility, it provides a unified home for the Warner School and will feature an expansive suite of 14 classrooms on the first floor that will serve the College during the day and the Warner School in the evening. It also provides an efficient solution to the critical need for classroom space on the River Campus. Raymond F. LeChase Hall is tentatively scheduled to open January 2013.

"All of us at Warner are grateful for Wayne and Beverly's generosity and service and for our shared aspirations for building a great learning environment for the preparation of teachers, counselors, and educational leaders in our community," said Raffaella Borasi, dean of the Warner School. "This is the second transformative gift in Warner's history after the naming of the School in 1993 by William F. Scandling to honor his late wife, Margaret Warner Scandling. This building will create an environment that will not only support teaching and learning, but allow us to work collaboratively with each other and the community to research complex education problems and forge effective solutions."

To learn more about Raymond F. LeChase Hall, click here.

Annual Scholarship Dinner Celebrates the Gift of Education

Eastman Statue winter

"Today, mere weeks away from being called ‘doctor,’ I realize this transformation could not have occurred without a great deal of support and encouragement. For that support and encouragement, in the form of a scholarship funded by Dr. and Mrs. Fine, I wish to say thank you today."
—Anne Whitehead '07, '11M (MD), at the Second Annual Endowed Scholarship Dinner

The University of Rochester held its second annual Celebration of Scholarships dinner on April 14, recognizing generous donors of endowed scholarships and the talented students who benefit from their remarkable philanthropy.

The University-wide event was held in the M&T Ballroom at the Memorial Art Gallery. Speakers included President Joel Seligman and endowed scholarship supporters Trustee Gwen Greene '65, Chair of the School of Medicine and Dentistry National Council Paul Griner '59M (MD), and Board of Trustees Chair Ed Hajim '58. Students Anne Whitehead '07, '11M (MD), recipient of the Fine Family School of Medicine and Dentistry Merit Scholarship, and Yaneve Fonge '11, recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Scholarship, spoke about the opportunities their scholarships made possible; Eastman students Michael Fuller '13E, recipient of the Alan and Jane Handler Scholarship, and Yi-Yang Chen '12E, recipient of the Yi-Kwei and Nancy Lee Sze Scholarship, closed the evening with a thrilling performance of Giovanni Bottesini's Concerto No. 2.

To view a photo gallery of the Second Annual Endowed Scholarship Dinner, click here.

Annual Gala Supports Highland Hospital

Highland Gala

A big thank you to the more than 500 supporters who attended the sold-out 2011 Highland Hospital Gala at the Hyatt Regency on March 26. Ted Kennedy, Jr. was the keynote speaker.

Proceeds from this year's event will help support the hospital's new Neuromedicine Unit. In his keynote speech, Kennedy praised Highland Hospital for its forethought to develop a unit that takes an integrated approach to provide care to some of the most vulnerable patients.

Highland Hospital, an affiliate of the University of Rochester Medical Center, opened in 1889 as one of the first homeopathic hospitals in the United States. In 1921, Highland became the first hospital in the country to use insulin in the treatment of diabetes. Today, Highland is well-known for its comprehensive orthopedics services, women's services, nationally ranked geriatrics program, regional leading gastric bypass surgery center, extensive network of primary care physicians, newly renovated radiology department, medical/radiation oncology, cardiology, neurology, and much more.

To learn more about Highland Hospital, click here.

Top Volunteer Leaders Attend Board of Trustees Retreat


More than 200 volunteer and University leaders led by the Board of Trustees attended a once in a decade Retreat. The Campaign planning effort was highlighted by the internal announcement of much of the Campaign leadership team. The Retreat also included over 20 roundtables in which the Board, Campaign, academic, and administrative leaders engaged in an in-depth process to review priorities and help sharpen Campaign themes.

This was an historic moment as it was the first meeting of our “community of leaders,” representing many of the volunteer boards of the University. The working goal of the Retreat was an ambitious one—to begin to set the priorities of the University for decades to come. The University's involvement in matters of regional, national, and international significance demands vision, strategy, creativity, discipline, and collaboration. Volunteer leaders together with University administrative and academic leaders began identifying areas of strength and potential for the University. Key focus areas include building healthy communities with outstanding outreach and clinical care; research and technology transfer; rich student life and educational innovation; the advancement of faculty excellence; and leadership of music education and performance.

Our volunteer leaders embody the spirit of Meliora and are the backbone of the University's quest to be “ever better.” During the coming years, all of the University’s key leaders—alumni, parents, friends, and community representatives—will be needed to address both our challenges and exciting opportunities. Their leadership on the University's behalf will advance us toward a future of greatness.  

Fast Forward Archive

March 4, 2011
January 27, 2011
December 31, 2010
December 2, 2010

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