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In the Community

aerial photograph of River Campus and the city of Rochester skyline

Throughout our 167-year history, the University of Rochester has been committed to the success of the greater Rochester community, and our futures are inextricably linked.

As the University has grown, so has the number of our connections and contributions to the vitality of the region. Every day, the University makes significant economic, educational, social, and cultual contributions to the Rochester community and to the state.

The University provides essential benefits to the public through our core missions—patient care, research, teaching, and community health. Fulfilling these missions without both public and private support would be impossible. We serve this community best by focusing on these missions. As a result, we are one of the leading higher education and research institutions in the world today and play an active role in creating positive change in our local community.

Economic benefits | Research | Health care | Education | Arts and culture
Community enrichment | Economic development

Economic benefits

We are the region’s largest private employer and the state’s seventh-largest private employer. We are the leading and most specialized health care provider in the Finger Lakes; the generator of an increasing number of new jobs, technologies, and businesses; and a significant contributor to the region’s rich arts and cultural resources.

According to a 2014 Center for Governmental Research report, the University of Rochester and our affiliates

  • are responsible for approximately 450,300 jobs (direct and spillover), or 10 percent of the total employment in the region;
  • paid more than $2.48 billion in wages;
  • purchased local goods and services in excess of $854 million;
  • spent an average of $241 million per year in capital improvements over the last five years; and
  • generated approximately $160 million in sales tax, personal income tax, and local property taxes ($3.9 million in local property taxes alone).

The University of Rochester’s START-UP NY plan is focused on attracting eligible companies in the broad fields of science, engineering, social science, health science, business, and music. Launched in June 2014, Governor Cuomo’s groundbreaking initiative will give approved companies tax exemptions for 10 years, when they locate on designated areas associated with colleges and universities and align with a school's core academic mission. The University has designated 105,894 square feet of space at High Tech Rochester's (HTR) Lennox Tech Enterprise Center and at two buildings within Eastman Business Park. The goal is to generate positive community and economic benefits through job creation, including opportunities for student internships and academic/research collaborations, and to spur additional entrepreneurial opportunities.


The University continues to attract funding to support life-changing research and innovations. Our School of Medicine and Dentistry alone attracts more National Institutes of Health grant dollars than all of the medical schools in Albany, Syracuse, and Buffalo combined.

Lead abatement

researcer at a house holding test tubes

Katrina Smith Korfmacher, associate professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Steven Turner of Action for a Better Community (ABC) take samples from porches of homes in the Maplewood neighborhood as part of a HUD-funded study by the city of Rochester, ABC, and the National Center for Healthy Housing to test lead levels and develop a national standard for lead dust on porches. The coalition’s efforts culminated with the 2005 passage of an ordinance requiring inspection for lead paint hazards as part of the city’s certificate of occupancy process.

These innovations draw the interest of local businesses and venture capitalists, helping stir investment in the region that can lead to additional jobs in the private sector.

These university-business partnerships can also be seen in the form of new startup companies. Since 1996, 56 companies have been created based on University-licensed technologies. When surveyed in 2010, these companies employed 295 people, collectively.

Health care

UR Medicine is the region’s only academic medical center, the leading source of new physicians in the area, and the safety-net provider for our most vulnerable citizens.

Through UR Medicine's community health mission, we provide important services, wellness activities, and community-based research that are designed to improve health outcomes, reduce costs, and eliminate health disparities. These include our lead poisoning research and abatement in inner-city housing, school-based health and dental clinics, dental services through the Eastman Institute for Oral Health’s SMILEmobile, and tobacco cessation programs, to name just a few.


Over the past 15 years, the Warner School of Education has been awarded nearly $20 million in grants that have supported education reform in more than 20 school districts in western New York, including focusing on ways to improve educational outcomes in urban education. These grants supported programs in mathematics, science, literacy, and early childhood education, as well as the education of students with significant disabilities and English language learners, and the professional development of more than 2,000 educators.

Eastman Community Music School

kids and teachers playing musical instruments

Eastman Community Music School faculty member Bill Tiberio [sax] leads the Eastman School of Music Summer Session Middle School Jazz Workshop. The school has been educating residents of the Greater Rochester and western New York area for more than ninety years. An estimated 60,000 students have received music instruction at the school since its inception in 1921.

The University also provides nearly $1.8 million in scholarships every year for Rochester City School District (RCSD) students. Since its launch at the University in 2007, more than 70 City graduates have taken advantage of the Rochester Promise scholarship program, which guarantees any graduate of City high schools at least $100,000 in sponsored scholarships to attend the University's College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering.

Arts and culture

The University also enhances and contributes to the region’s uniquely rich cultural capital through ongoing initiatives that creatively connect our resources with the community, regardless of means. For nearly 100 years, the Eastman School of Music’s Community Music School has provided instruction to more than 60,000 students of all ages.

The Memorial Art Gallery is one of the few university-affiliated art museums open to the public. Consistently recognized as one of the finest regional art museums in the nation, it serves more than 16,000 area school children annually at no charge.

Mt. Hope Family Center

students with teacher sitting on the floor in a classroom

Children and counselors participate in after school programs at University of Rochester's Mt Hope Family Center. This unique center studies how violence, maltreatment, and other traumas affect human development and family relationships, and uses those findings to provide evidence-based programs and services for at-risk children and families.

Community enrichment

The University also enhances our community in many ways that go unrecognized but are of vital importance to the public.

  • $804,000 in financial incentives to help University of Rochester regular full-time and part-time faculty and staff achieve the dream of homeownership in city neighborhoods surrounding the University; more than 280 mortgages supported since the program began in 2008, and 51 in 2013 alone.
  • More than $1.5 million contributed by the University community to the United Way of Greater Rochester, through a campaign chaired by President Seligman that raised $26.6 million in 2013
  • $392,000 in direct support to various community groups
  • a collective 30,000 hours of community service per year provided annually by undergraduate students, about 60 percent of whom take part in service

Economic development

The University partners with our surrounding neighbors, the City of Rochester, and private developers on projects to revitalize and redevelop the areas surrounding the University.

Wilson Day

students sorting books and games

University of Rochester freshmen clean a playroom at Gilda's Club Rochester during Wilson Day, a day of community service during which students volunteer at various organizations throught the city.

The University helped make projects like Brooks Landing and Riverview Apartments possible by leveraging our employee and student populations and geographic proximity in order to be an anchor tenant renting office space and student housing. In total, the University leases 1.4 million square feet of space in locations throughout the region, which involves over $178 million in annual lease payments.

We have also made 16 acres of University land available to develop College Town, the culmination of years of community planning, which will not only generate tax revenue but also will revitalize the commercial corridor that serves as a gateway to the city. Currently, more than $120 million (600,000 sq. ft.) in additional private development in the city is planned thanks to support from the University.

The University also works with a number of partners to foster the commercialization of technology and regional economic development from our research.

Students in the Community

Looking for student volunteers to work with your organization? Complete this Volunteer Request Form.