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Meliora Challenge campaign exceeds expectations with historic $1.37 billion

July 7, 2016
students and university president pose holding letters that spell out THANK YOU.University President Joel Seligman and students thank donors at the close of the Meliora Campaign. (University photo / J. Adam Fenster)

The University of Rochester concluded The Meliora Challenge campaign on June 30, raising more than $1.368 billion, exceeding its initial $1.2 billion goal by more than $168 million. The preliminary numbers, released today, will be finalized once all gifts through the end of fiscal year 2016 are counted.

“This is a historic moment for everyone who cares so deeply about this University and our future,” said President and CEO Joel Seligman, the G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor. “The Meliora Challenge supports our vital mission to society by providing the resources needed to support our students, our faculty, groundbreaking research, teaching, innovative health care, and public service.”

The Meliora Challenge exceeded our expectations and galvanized the University of Rochester family like never before,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Danny Wegman. “Together, we are transforming lives in Rochester and throughout the world.”

The Meliora Challenge was the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in the University’s history. Launched publicly in 2011, the Campaign exceeded the $1 billion mark in November 2013 and surpassed its initial goal of $1.2 billion in March 2015. Nearly every goal established for the Campaign has been achieved—a testament to the commitment, loyalty, and generosity of more than 200,000 alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents, and students around the world who donated to the University of Rochester during the time of the Campaign.

University Trustee and Advancement Committee Chairman Larry Bloch praised the efforts of the Campaign’s many donors and contributors as well as the faculty and administrative leaders who worked together to reach this historic milestone. “Our success is emblematic of a large and dedicated community of leaders and volunteers. Their passion and enthusiasm for the University of Rochester is without bounds.”

“Throughout history, universities like ours have been key to societal progress and improving the human condition,” said Senior Vice President for Advancement Thomas J. Farrell. “This moment marks the start of a new phase in the University of Rochester’s evolution, one that will be driven by the remarkable philanthropy and ongoing engagement, advocacy, and giving that has become an integral part of the culture of this institution. I am especially grateful for the outstanding leadership provided by our Campaign co-chairs Cathy Minehan and Rich Handler, as well as the generosity of our other trustees, volunteers, and University leaders whose efforts inspired and engaged so many others.”

Financial highlights from The Meliora Challenge include:

  • More than $225 million in student support including the establishment of 393 new scholarships and fellowships, including the Hajim Scholars and the Alan and Jane Handler Scholars, which have helped to increase access to a University of Rochester education
  • More than $423 million in faculty support, including the creation of 103 new endowed professorships to enable the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty
  • More than $426 million for program support including new initiatives in data science, the humanities, and the performing arts
  • More than $129 million for new and improved facilities and infrastructure including Golisano Children’s Hospital, a first-rate pediatric facility for the region’s children, and the largest project in University history; Raymond F. LeChase Hall, a new home for the Warner School of Education; Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation, to advance practical skills and theoretical understanding of digital technology; the Saunders Research Building, a hub for clinical and translational research; the William and Mildred Levine Autism Clinic, to address the growing need for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder; the Brian F. Prince Athletic Complex, providing renovated and expanded outdoor athletic facilities; and Wegmans Hall, which will house the University’s new Goergen Institute for Data Science in January 2017
  • Nearly $150 million in unrestricted donations to the University’s Annual Fund to support new opportunities and school and unit financial needs

The University of Rochester Medical Center, a community anchor and a major component of the Campaign, raised nearly $690 million for medical education, research, and patient care facilities.

Memorial Art Gallery raised more than $35 million during the campaign to fund community-enriching projects like the Centennial Sculpture Park, new art installations, collection curation, and educational programs.

Seligman characterized The Meliora Challenge as a platform for the University to achieve future goals. “These accomplishments will help us ascend to The Next Level as one of the nation’s top research universities. We look forward to strengthening our national leadership in data science, neuromedicine, and clinical and translational research and continue to achieve excellence across the University—in undergraduate education, professional training, our health system, and the creative arts.”

The University will celebrate the success of The Meliora Challenge during this year’s Meliora Weekend, October 6–9. Along with reunions, homecoming, and family activities, several events are planned to thank the University community and commemorate Campaign achievements.

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Category: University News