George Eastman Circle Newsletter

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George Eastman Circle Newsletter

Eastman Statue

The Impact of Leadership Annual Giving

The George Eastman Circle’s original goal of 250 members was broken in December 2007; now, with over 1,700 memberships, the George Eastman Circle is a robust giving society that has committed over $27 million in unrestricted support to the University.

Philanthropy through a collective effort like the George Eastman Circle is a powerful force. Funds are distributed throughout the University and help support programs and initiatives that otherwise might never get to fruition. The impact of that program support has a ripple effect. For instance, George Eastman Circle dollars at the Warner School went to support scholarship and research initiatives which, in turn, bolster the interaction, outreach and partnership that the Warner School has with the local education community. The School of Medicine and Dentistry uses George Eastman Circle funds to support vital research taking place within each clinical department at the Medical Center. Scientists work tirelessly to uncover new treatments, preventions, and cures for many of the world’s most devastating diseases and conditions. At the Simon School, Circle funds are used to help recruit and retain top faculty members. The faculty of our University is our most precious resource; their talent and imagination leads to groundbreaking ideas and advances in research funding, innovative education, student recruitment, and institutional reputation. And so on—the ripples continue.

You can read more about the powerful impact of the George Eastman Circle in the 2010 Honor Roll, which was mailed to all members last month. Together, we are making a significant and lasting difference! We are the vanguard of a new generation of supporters in the tradition of George Eastman. Thank you! Please help to expand the Circle and ask a friend to join.

Making your payment or extending your membership? Contact Justin Croteau or visit the George Eastman Circle web site.

Nathan Moser ’75 to Chair George Eastman Circle

Nathan Moser speaking

The George Eastman Circle was founded in 2007, in part, to establish an enduring tradition of philanthropy for future generations of supporters. In just a few years, the George Eastman Circle has grown to an extraordinary group of over 1,700 memberships. The volunteer leadership of National Co-Chairs Larry Bloch ’75, Tom Sloan ’65 and many dedicated vice-chairs, along with National Annual Giving Programs Chair Gwen Greene ’65, has been instrumental in leading these efforts. After four years of leadership, Tom and Larry have moved to new volunteer roles with the University, and Nathan Moser ’75 assumed the chairmanship in February at the Annual Dinner in New York. Nathan has been actively involved as a vice chair. He and his wife Rita have been members since the Circle’s inception.

Journalist David Brooks Featured at the Annual Dinner

David Brooks

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. View photos from the event here.

As chairman, Nathan hopes to encourage additional supporters and continue to build upon the great base of support established by the founders. “We (the University) are doing more to engage our recent graduates and help them become leaders in the world, impacting their communities in every way, including philanthropically,” Nathan remarked at the dinner. “That is why we have launched a new level of the George Eastman Circle, the Associate Level, just for our recent graduates. It gives them a chance to join us at a more attainable level, getting them into the habit of giving back every year in support of the University.”

While adding new members is crucial, it is equally important to retain members coming to an end of their first five-year pledge. Nathan stressed, “To maintain our impact upon the University, it is imperative that all George Eastman Circle members renew their commitment and continue to support their passions.”

Nathan said, “Everyone’s reason for joining the George Eastman Circle is different. That is why the George Eastman Circle works. It provides many different opportunities for members to connect and expand within your reach, whether in your region, reunion class, or professional or social circles. The more ways you connect to alumni and friends of the University of Rochester, the more you stay connected to the University for years to come.  This is our ultimate goal; to keep all the members we have and keep adding more!” 

Nathan earned his B.A. in political science in 1975 from the School of Arts and Sciences and his J.D. from Syracuse University Law School in 1978. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and serves as the founding chair of the Arts, Sciences and Engineering National Council. Last year as the co-chair of his 35th Reunion, Nathan co-sponsored with Larry Bloch a gift challenge to their classmates. The challenge helped the Class of 1975 set the record for the largest number of George Eastman Circle members—34—in one class.
Nathan's wife, Rita Ungar-Moser, is a 1981 graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences. The two established the Rita Ungar-Moser and Nathan F. Moser Scholarship in 2002. They live in New York City and have four children.

Click here to read the George Eastman Circle Charter.

Member Profile: Connie Leary ’59N 

Connie LearyAll of our members have wonderful stories to share. We are pleased to feature one such story.

Connie remembers the very moment when she realized the importance of supporting the annual fund through the George Eastman Circle. She had returned to the School of Nursing for her 50th reunion, and was on a tour of the Simulation Lab.

"The Lab gives students valuable, direct experience without the exceptional stress of holding someone's life in their hands while they're learning," she says. "I was absolutely astounded by the technology required to simulate a realistic patient environment. I also appreciated the tremendous amount of financial support it requires to stay at the forefront of nursing education."

Connie has been a longstanding supporter of the School, including the Class of 1959 Nursing Award which she helped establish with classmates in 2005. That fund has since almost tripled in size, thanks to Connie and her classmates' commitment, providing outstanding clinical students with funds to help pay for expenses ranging from books to rent. "We are amazed and happy with the success of this fund. It feels wonderful to help students and make a difference for them."

But after seeing the Simulation Lab, Connie wanted to do even more. She saw the George Eastman Circle as a perfect complement to her support of the endowed Nursing Award. "One lasts forever, the other helps the School plan for and meet its most immediate needs."

Since joining the George Eastman Circle, Connie has enjoyed watching the School continue to provide a superior nursing education and seeing how her support helps. "As an alumna, I believe it's important to give back to the institutions that have helped you achieve success in life. Dean Parker is doing a wonderful job — the School is one of the top-rated in the country. I feel confident my contributions will help maintain its level of excellence, the caliber of students it produces and the impact they have on our hospitals and communities. Supporting the School through the George Eastman Circle is one of the best investments I could make."

Meliora Moments Project Launched—Gwen Meltzer Greene ’65 Shares Her Moments

Click here to learn more about the Meliora Moments project and to contribute your own story of a defining Meliora Moment.

Meliora is not just our University’s motto, it’s an ethic that we share as a community, a way of life that unites us in a common bond—a powerful description of who we are and what we value. As part of that very special commitment to always be better, the newly launched “Meliora Moments” website invites the entire University of Rochester community to join together and tell their own stories and collectively, to tell the story of the University of Rochester.
Below, George Eastman Circle Charter Member and University Annual Giving Programs Chair Gwen Meltzer Greene ’65 shares the many ways in which the University’s motto shaped her life, both as a student and afterwards.

Gwen Greene“When I first arrived on campus 50 years ago, I had not seen the University beforehand—we could not afford to visit campus - and when my mother, younger sister and I drove up to campus and saw Rush Rhees Library and the quad, it was so beautiful I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. That was my first Meliora Moment.

My second occurred perhaps 25 years later, when I re-engaged with the U of R after far too long an absence, and one of the senior staff—Jack Kreckel—shared with me a letter my mother had written to the school several years after I graduated. She was always enormously proud of the fact that I had gone to Rochester; she was a young widow raising two daughters, and she was so grateful for all the University had done for me. She sent a modest donation, told them of my many accomplishments—for which she gave the UR full credit (!)—and said something to the effect that she had been prepared to wash floors so that I might have this amazing education. She then thanked them for the financial aid they had given me so that she never did have to wash floors. That was my second Meliora Moment.

My third Meliora Moment occurred a few years ago when my husband and I traveled to India for the wedding of Navin Ram, Class of 1995. Navin was the first UR student I mentored, and he subsequently made sure I met every other Indian student who came to Rochester and wanted to work on Wall Street! Many of these former students were at the wedding, and this time around they were helping me, eager to repay me for my assistance. I in turn was amazed and delighted with how successful they had become. What was equally thrilling were all the adults who approached me—they had children or nieces or nephews who had gone to UR. They wanted to thank me and to tell me about the children still at home who would make GREAT candidates for the University. That was my third Meliora Moment!

My most recent (but I hope not my last!) Meliora Moment has just occurred. I am passionate about our Career Center, and mentoring current and former students to help them find jobs in Finance. With that in mind, I helped recruit Burt Nadler almost 14 years ago to head up the center, and working with Burt and the staff we have achieved remarkable results to date. I have a strong conviction that our students are as qualified as any to get those coveted jobs, and that with the help of alumni and friends of the U of R they can compete successfully, and then in turn they will help others and find many ways to “give back” to the U of R. To ensure that future generations have the same opportunities, I have decided to make a substantial gift to the Capital Campaign that will support the Career Center in staffing, programming, educating and helping all students who walk through our doors, so that they have every opportunity to have the career of their choice. My Meliora Moment has arrived with the incredible honor the U of R has given back to me, in naming it the Gwen M. Greene Career Center: that will be my enduring legacy to the U of R.”

Eastman Circle Members Make Leadership Gifts

UofR membership booksCharter Members Rich and Martha Handler and Wayne and Beverly LeChase both recently committed significant gifts to the University.

In February, Rich Handler and his wife, Martha, announced their intention to make a gift of $20 million that will raise their total campaign giving to $25 million—the largest contribution to student scholarship in University of Rochester history. The additional gift will provide substantial support to the Alan and Jane Handler Scholarship Fund. The fund was established in 2007 by Rich and Martha with a commitment totaling $5 million and is named in honor of Rich's parents.

Student recipients are known as the Alan and Jane Handler Scholars and are selected on the basis of outstanding scholarship potential, financial need because of under-privileged backgrounds, and outstanding potential to be future leaders. Each student receives a scholarship that covers all University expenses, including tuition and fees, room, board, and books. Handler Scholars receive awards annually throughout their undergraduate years at the University, as long as they demonstrate adequate academic performance. Richard Handler is a Class of 1983 graduate, Chairman and CEO of Jefferies & Company and a member of the University's Board of Trustees.

LeChase photoThe new home of the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development will be named in memory of the late Raymond F. LeChase, founder of LeChase Construction Services, LLC, who was a pioneer in the Rochester construction community, renowned philanthropist, and dedicated supporter of education. R. Wayne LeChase, his wife Beverly, and LeChase Construction 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 in April and to expand fundraising efforts for its construction and the important research, teaching, and education reform programs it will enable.

Wayne LeChase is chairman of LeChase Construction and is a Rochester community leader. He also serves the University as a member of the Board of Trustees and advisor and member of key Medical Center leadership groups, helping to shape the future of the University as a volunteer and donor.

Click here for more information about the Handler Scholarships.
Click here for more information on Raymond F. LeChase Hall.

Eastman School of Music’s Hatch Recital Hall—Seat Naming Campaign Ends June 30

Rochester cityscape

This has been a remarkable and exciting year for the Eastman School of Music. With great fanfare the University celebrated the opening of the School’s new addition to the Eastman Theatre which houses a rehearsal hall large enough to accommodate Eastman ensembles of any size, teaching studios for Eastman faculty, and a new recording and media control room. However, the crown jewel of the new wing is the Hatch Recital Hall, an elegant, world-class 222-seat performance hall for solo recitals and chamber music.  

Many George Eastman Circle members are ardent music lovers and supporters. We invite you to join this special community of alumni, parents and friends who have already named a seat in Hatch Recital Hall. Many have inscribed a seat plate in loving memory of a family member, chosen to honor a special teacher, thanked their supportive parents, or inscribed their own name to leave a lasting legacy. All donations will be directed to the Eastman Fund which supports student scholarships and provides crucial unrestricted support for the School. A new pledge of $1,000, payable over a 2-year period, will allow you to name a seat.

If you are interested in making a new pledge to name a seat in Hatch Hall, please visit the web site at and click on “Seat Naming Campaign, Hatch Recital Hall.” If you have any questions, please contact the Eastman Office of Advancement at 585-274-1040 or e-mail        

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Contact Us

We are deeply grateful for your support and commitment to the University of Rochester. Please contact us with comments and suggestions for future issues of the George Eastman Circle newsletter. You can bookmark our web site to learn how to become more involved.

Justin Croteau
Director of the George Eastman Circle
University of Rochester
Alumni and Advancement Center
300 East River Road
P.O. Box 270441
Rochester, NY 14627
Tel. (585) 276-3597 or (800) 598-1330
Main Advancement Tel. (585) 273-2700
Web site: