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Danny Wegman becomes board chair, two new trustees named

May 13, 2016

Science & Engineering Quadrangle named to honor Chairman Emeritus Ed Hajim

Danny Wegman

Danny Wegman

Danny Wegman, CEO of Rochester-based Wegmans Food Markets, Inc., became chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees at the Board’s May 13 meeting. Wegman, who served as chairman-elect for the past year, will serve a five-year term as Board chairman and succeeds Edmund A. Hajim ’58, who transitioned to chairman emeritus. The Board also elected two new trustees at the meeting.

Wegman has served as a University trustee for more than 15 years. He and his company have been honored many times as a model employer and retailer, as well as for excellence in community service.

“I’m very honored to begin in this leadership position and want to thank Ed Hajim for this past year of transition, as well as all of his years of service to the University,” said Wegman. “Our Board is composed of extremely devoted individuals who provide many intellectual contributions for the betterment of the University and I look forward to continuing to work with them.”

“The University Board and I are thrilled that Danny will be our new chair,” said President and CEO Joel Seligman, who is also the G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor.  “For decades Danny has helped lead one of the most extraordinary private business companies in our country, one regularly ranked at or near the very top as one of the best companies for which to work and regularly ranked as among the most admired in its industry.  Danny has been recognized as the most respected business leader in the greater Rochester community.  Danny is much more than that.  As co-chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, he took the lead in helping develop a strategic plan for our region’s future that was awarded a $500 million prize by the State of New York last December.  Danny is a community builder who has provided inspiring leadership in K-12 education through the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection and in many ways to improving healthcare.  He is devoted to the University of Rochester, although not a graduate.  Danny will be instrumental in helping us achieve the Next Level in our University’s progress.”

Wegman joined Wegmans Food Markets after graduating from high school and was named a store manager in 1969, the same year he graduated with honors from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He became president of Wegmans in 1976, and was named CEO in 2005. Today, Wegmans operates 88 stores in six states and is consistently recognized in Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” earning the No. 4 spot in 2016.

In April 2014, Wegman, president and chairman of the board of the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation (WFCF), announced two major contributions to the University—a $10 million lead gift to the new Goergen Institute for Data Science and a $7 million gift to support the Golisano Children’s Hospital. Together with previous gifts to several programs across the University campuses, the WFCF has provided more than $20 million to The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester.

Wegman has also served as honorary chair of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s campaign in support of The Meliora Challenge. A former member of the Medical Center Board, Wegman and his wife, Konstanze (Stency), since 2007 have supported the Toast to Your Health Wine Auction, which supports initiatives at the Medical Center. They are members of the George Eastman Circle—the University’s leadership annual giving society—and in 2010, Danny received the University’s Eastman Medal, which honors outstanding professional achievement and dedicated service.

Ed Hajim

Ed Hajim

In addition to welcoming a new chairman, the Board also recognized the outstanding contributions of outgoing chairman Ed Hajim at the May meeting.

“Ed has been an exemplary Board member for more than 28 years,” said Seligman. “There are few people who will ever show their passion for the University as much as Ed does. I speak for the entire Board in thanking him for his truly inspirational leadership and commitment, as well as his incredibly generous support to the University. We are enormously grateful to him.

“As a sign of our gratitude, the Board voted that the new Science & Engineering Quadrangle on River Campus will be named for Ed Hajim,” said Seligman.

The Edmund A. Hajim Science & Engineering Quadrangle is currently being constructed and is the area enclosed by Robert B. Goergen Hall, Hylan Hall, Hutchison Hall, the Computer Studies Building and the future Wegmans Hall. It is being transformed for this fall with new walkways, trees, seating, and a botanical rain garden.

Hajim, president of Diker Management, LCC, has served as chairman for the past eight years. The recipient of numerous University awards including the Arts, Sciences and Engineering Dean’s Medal, he will receive the Eastman Medal at the 166th Arts, Sciences and Engineering Commencement ceremony on May 15 in recognition of his outstanding achievement and dedicated service to the University.

Hajim has served the University in many capacities for nearly 60 years, starting as an undergraduate student leader.  A driving force on the Board of Trustees for nearly three decades, Hajim has had a transformative effect.  As chairman of the Board’s Investment Committee, he was instrumental in strengthening the University’s endowment, and has been especially involved in strategic planning and advancement efforts.

In 2008, Hajim’s $30 million commitment to the University was the largest single gift commitment in the institution’s history and catalyzed the $1.2 billion Meliora Challenge campaign.  In recognition of his generosity, the University named the Edmund A. Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences in his honor in 2009.

“It has been my honor to serve the University as board chairman and to be able to work with such talented and thoughtful individuals,” said Hajim. “Contributing to a vibrant center of innovation and discovery like the University of Rochester is among my proudest achievements. The University has tremendous momentum to accelerate in the years ahead its ascension among national leading research universities, especially with a leader like Danny Wegman at the helm.”

Newly elected trustees

Two new board members were elected at the May meeting.  “I am delighted that the board has elected two exceptional new trustees, Lizette Pérez-Deisboeck and Alan Zekelman, to join our board.  We all look forward to working with them,” said Seligman.

Lizette M. Pérez-Deisboeck

Lizette M. Pérez-Deisboeck

Lizette M. Pérez-Deisboeck ’87 is general counsel of Battery Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital and private equity firm focused on worldwide technology and innovation investment.  She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University in 1987 and a JD from Boston University School of Law in 1991.

Before joining Battery Ventures in 2009, Pérez-Deisboeck was a partner at Goodwin Procter, LLP, where she practiced in the area of technology and emerging companies, and was vice president for Legal Affairs and Operations for Idealab, a creator and operator of pioneering technology companies.  Before this, she was general counsel for Juniornet Corporation, a commercial-free online learning service for children, and an associate at Baker & McKenzie and at Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle LLP (now Nixon Peabody).  She also served as law clerk to the Honorable Michael A. Telesca ’52 of the United District Court of the Western District of New York.

Pérez-Deisboeck currently serves on the University’s Diversity Initiative Campaign Committee and was on her 25th Reunion Committee.

Alan Zekelman

Alan Zekelman

Alan Zekelman ’87S (MS) is a director of JMC Steel Group, the largest independent tubular products manufacturer in North America.  He is the former president of Atlas Tube, a company founded by his late father, Harry, in 1984.  In December 2006, Atlas Tube merged with JMC, which now operates 10 manufacturing plants in six U.S. states and one Canadian province.

A native of Windsor, Ontario, Zekelman holds a bachelor of commerce from the University of Toronto and a master of science from the Simon Business School.  In 1990, he received the University of Rochester’s Richard L. Rosenthal Award for Innovation in Investment Management/Corporate Finance.  He will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the Simon School commencement ceremony in June.

Zekelman has served on Simon’s Executive Advisory Committee, National Council, and Advisory Council.  He and his wife, Lori Talsky-Zekelman, established the Lori and Alan S. Zekelman Distinguished Professorship of Business Administration at the Simon School.

Zekelman serves on the executive committee of the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus.  He is chairman of the board of the American Friends of Bar-Ilan University, which presented him an honorary doctorate in 2009.  He also serves on the boards of Yeshiva College, the Menachem Education Foundation, the Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network, the American Friends of Yahad-In-Unum, and the Birmingham Jewish Connection, as well as on the investment committee of the United Jewish Foundation.

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