University of Rochester

President’s Page

Dedication of Goergen Hall

by Joel Seligman

On May 17, 2007, the University will dedicate the Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics. The opening of the 101,000-square-foot facility, the first new academic building for the College in 20 years, represents an important milestone in the progress of our University.

Designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among scholars and students in the fields of optics and biomedical engineering, Goergen Hall draws on a remarkable legacy of groundbreaking discovery and academic innovation at Rochester.

Founded in 1929, the Institute of Optics is the oldest optics program in the United States. Officially founded in 2000, the Department of Biomedical Engineering is one of the newest in the College.

Together, the two programs are charting a course for cutting-edge research and teaching that will influence the lives not only of future generations but of the biomedical sciences as a whole.

Goergen Hall is a testament to the vision of two great Rochester academic leaders. Shortly after he was appointed director of the Institute of Optics in 2001, Wayne Knox began working with Richard Waugh, founding chair of biomedical engineering, on plans for a building that would capitalize on the strengths of their programs. Supported by the leadership of the College and the Medical Center, they set out an innovative course that has attracted attention throughout the discipline.

As Bob Goergen said in March 2006, “The building will have an impact beyond bricks and mortar. It will be a wonderful hub of activity for a field of growing importance that will transform lives—not only on campus, but around the world.”

When biomedical engineering was offered to the first class of Rochester students that could major in it, a total of 10 undergraduates formally declared their interest. By 2006, a total of 290 undergraduates and graduate students were studying in the department, including 90 freshmen. Another 200 students were enrolled in optics.

Those students are learning from some of the world‘s best faculty-scholars. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, which is home to the Institute of Optics, counts more than a dozen fellows of the American Physical Society, nine members of the National Academy of Engineering, and 16 fellows of the Optical Society of America on its faculty. In addition, Rochester has had six winners of the Frederic Ives Medal, the nation‘s highest award in optical science.

Recently joining the faculty is Ching Tang, the first Doris Johns Cherry Professor in the College, a nationally regarded scientific leader whose work spans the fields of materials science, engineering, and optics. Tang, the holder of more than 70 U.S. patents, is considered the father of the multibillion-dollar organic light-emitting diode industry.

In its conceptual mission as well as in its planning and architectural design, Goergen Hall exemplifies the future. In an effort to plan in a sustainable way, the building, for instance, follows many of the guidelines of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, a program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The new building recognizes the generous support of Bob Goergen ‘60, chair of our Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2003 and current chair of our Strategic Planning Advisory Committee. Bob and many other great supporters, including Charles R. ‘69 (PhD) and Judith Munnerlyn and Thomas R. ‘65, ‘67 (Mas) and Linda Sloan, provided substantial financial resources that were combined with support from the federal and state governments to make possible this grand new facility.

In 2004, when the Institute celebrated its 75th anniversary, Carlos Stroud, a professor of optics, edited a book of essays by scientists from the institute called A Jewel in the Crown. Goergen Hall and our biomedical engineering and optics programs will establish themselves as jewels for the next 75 years and beyond.

I invite all of you to join us on campus for the May University Commencement and dedication of the Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics.