University of Rochester

Senator Robach Awards $3 Million for Biomedical Optics Research

October 24, 2006

State Senator Joseph Robach and University of Rochester President Joel Seligman today announced $3 million in state funding for the Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics at the University.

"Rochester remains one of the top communities for higher learning and this new biomedical engineering and optics facility will enhance our ability to attract quality professors and new students, not only from our own region, but from all over the world to locate here to teach and learn," says Robach. "This grant will help bring new jobs to our community and further the education of our young people in the field of biotechnology. I am very proud to have worked with our entire Senate delegation to secure this grant and I look forward to our local economy benefiting as a result."

The building will expand on both the University's and the city's world-class optics research, and encourage the growth of the University's newest discipline, biomedical engineering.

With the estimated 400 to 700 jobs created by this project, the Goergen Hall will provide an important component for economic development in the Rochester area and serve as a model for partnering industry with academia. Housed alongside the scientists will be the new Center for Institute Ventures, which is designed specifically to help bring University knowledge to the marketplace.

"Not only has Joe Robach's support been so critical in helping bring us closer to the completion of this new, state-of-the-art structure, but he has been instrumental in leveraging private philanthropy—most notably through the generosity of individuals like Robert Goergen and Charles Munnerlyn and foundations like the Whitaker Foundation," says Joel Seligman, president of the University. "With the creation of the Robert B. Goergen Hall of Biomedical Engineering and Optics, the University of Rochester has an unprecedented opportunity to be number one in the world in the growing field of biomedical optics."

The funding also has been funded from support by State Senators Michael Nozzolio, James Alesi, and George Maziarz.

"The key to New York's high-tech future rests in the hands of our universities that not only educate the necessary workforce, but also attract the best and brightest professors to do research in the fields of math and science," states Alesi. "This grant is another important step toward establishing the Rochester region as the epicenter for biotechnology research and education. These monies will not only create jobs, but also attract new talent who will help grow the economy by making Rochester their home."

According to Nozzolio: "It is extremely gratifying to have worked to secure this state funding for the new biomedical engineering and optics building. The research being done at this new facility will establish the University of Rochester as one of the premier research centers in the nation in the field of biomedical optics. This announcement is also great news for the developing high-tech sector in the Rochester area and will create high-paying new jobs for the local economy. Securing this state funding required teamwork and I am proud of the efforts of the Rochester state legislative delegation."

"I am proud to stand with my legislative colleagues to announce good news that will strengthen one of Rochester's most valued resources—the University of Rochester—and keep it on the cutting edge of technology in the 21st century," said Maziarz. "The new Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics will result not only in advances in academics and research, but also in our efforts to grow our tech-driven economy and create jobs."

Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics Facts:

  • The new building will have extensive research facilities, undergraduate and graduate teaching labs, state-of-the-art demonstration halls, a 155-seat lecture hall, and the new Center for Institute Ventures.
  • The completed 101,000 sq. ft. building will cost $37,700,000. $32 million has already been raised with a remarkable $15 million came straight from alumni donations, and the rest from the Whitaker Foundation and New York State and federal funds.
  • Construction began in the spring 2005 and is expected to be completed in the spring 2007.
  • The Center for Institute Ventures will translate University research into new technologies that serve as a platform for high-growth businesses, to efficiently transfer technologies, to attract high-growth businesses to the Rochester area, and to encourage and catalyze venture capital investment throughout the Rochester area.
  • The University's biomedical engineering program ranks among the 15 leading programs in the nation, and the Institute of Optics alone has graduated more than half of the country's optics specialists.