University of Rochester


Measuring Tech Success

It was nice to read that the University ranked ninth on the Association for University Technology Managers (May-June). While achieving such a milestone is certainly praiseworthy, it’s equally important to note that the program isn’t just about the money.

When done optimally, technology transfer represents the perfect symbiosis of a research university and its constituents. From the faculty, students, and researchers who do the inventions to the administrators who manage and leverage those inventions to the business community that commits to commercializing the inventions, technology transfer is a part of an ecosystem of innovation that should never to subsumed into profit-driven goals or misplaced financial gain.

Placing too much emphasis on maximizing profits can actually subvert the mission of a tech transfer program—which is to ensure that federally funded research is developed to benefit the public—and can draw criticism from those who worry about inherent conflicts of interests when universities have increased dealings with industry.

An efficient tech licensing office is concerned with doing as many good deals as possible regardless of the economic bottom line. Success can be measured by other means than the total revenue, such as the number of startup companies formed in a given year or the number of total license agreements done.

At MIT, where I work as an associate technology licensing officer, we often say technology transfer should be about impact, not income.

Daniel Dardani ’96


What’s in a Nickname?

In view of recent letters regarding the University logo (May-June), I would like to revisit a longstanding mystery.

When I was a graduate student in 1968, a long-time member of the gymnasium staff told me that the Yellowjackets nickname for the football team and their uniform color arose in the 1930s and was based on a winking reference to the yellow Kodak film box. This seemed logical to me but I don’t recall ever having seen this mentioned in any official University history or sports articles.

I would appreciate a definitive answer (if possible) regarding the University nickname. Can anyone shed some light on this?

If true, then Rochester sports spectators should start wearing Styrofoam replica Kodak boxes on their heads similar to the yellow hats worn by the “cheeseheads” who cheer on the Green Bay Packers. I look forward to receiving royalties for this idea and to wearing a yellow box during my annual Meliora Weekend visits.

Arthur Bernstein ’70S (MBA)

Boca Raton, Florida

While both institutions have a long affiliation with yellow, the University’s claim on the color predates Kodak’s by a few decades. As recounted in Rochester Review (1991) and University Library resources, the alumni organization in 1892 recommended yellow as a school color because of the prominence of the dandelion in University lore. The mascot’s name originated in 1925 when injured football player J. Howard Garnish ’27 tried to rally support for the yellow-clad team with the exhortation, “Go to it, you Yellow Jackets!” in an editorial he wrote for The Campus newspaper. Although George Eastman had laid the groundwork for what would become Eastman Kodak by 1892, according to the George Eastman House’s records, yellow began appearing as a prominent color in the company’s packaging about 1910. The distinctive yellow and red Kodak logo made its appearance in the 1930s.—Editor.

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