University of Rochester

Rochester Review
September-October 2010
Vol. 73, No. 1

pdf image
Section as a PDF


Review home

President's Page

Two Remarkable MilestonesBy Joel Seligman

In December we will formally dedicate the new 61,800-square-foot wing of the Eastman School of Music, completing a vision first articulated by benefactor George Eastman almost 90 years ago when he engaged the University in his “great music project.”

At the Medical Center this spring, we will dedicate the new 200,000-square-foot Clinical and Translational Science Building, the first of its kind in the United States designed to accelerate the applications of the discoveries of medical science.

These two buildings are remarkable milestones in the progress of our University.

With George Eastman’s enthusiastic support and encouragement, the University opened the Eastman School in 1921 as the first great music school established within a university rather than a stand-alone conservatory. Insisting that music was a discipline with equal academic stature to that of other subjects in the liberal arts, then University President Rush Rhees noted, “educated musicians should be much more than expert musical technicians.” This approach has influenced music education for the past 89 years.

In 1921, the founding dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, George Whipple, arrived in Rochester after being recruited to lead a pathbreaking academic medical program. The model, originally developed by Johns Hopkins, was popularized by Abraham Flexner of the Rockefeller General Education Board. Rochester became one of the first medical education programs to combine the scientific, research, and intellectual discovery of a medical faculty with the clinical education and expertise provided by a teaching hospital—all under one roof. The University of Rochester Medical Center (including the School of Medicine and Dentistry, a Nurses’ Training School, and Strong Memorial Hospital) accepted its first patient in 1926.

Over the past nine decades, both Eastman and the School of Medicine and Dentistry have earned reputations as innovative leaders. Few music schools have thought more deeply about how to enrich the life of a musical scholar as a member of a musical community that reaches far beyond a performance hall. The school has recently added the Eastman Initiatives, the Institute for Musical Leadership, the Music for All program, and Internet 2–driven partnerships with orchestras and schools around the world. By all measures, including U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, and The Fiske Guide to Colleges, the Eastman School continues to be a premier music program in the United States.

The Medical Center, too, has remained one of the country’s top academic health programs, whose transformative ideas include the biopsychosocial model of education, the “Double Helix” curriculum, the unification model of nursing education, and nurse-practitioner programs. Rochester scientists pioneered the technology behind a vaccine that has virtually eradicated a leading cause of meningitis in preschoolers as well as a vaccine against a virus that causes cervical cancer, the first vaccine to target a known cause of cancer. Breakthroughs in the understanding of heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases will benefit generations to come.

At the Eastman School, the new wing will house performance and rehearsal spaces, faculty studios, and a state-of-the-art recording and media control room. Our students and faculty will be able to explore new ways to engage audiences and to explore how the role of music and musical performance is changing in an increasingly digital world.

At the Medical Center, the Clinical and Translational Science Building will be home to more than 600 scientists, physicians, nurses, and professional and support staff. The National Institutes of Health recognized Rochester’s remarkable history and potential to succeed in this new endeavor by awarding the Medical Center a $40 million grant, the largest NIH award in the University’s history, as one of the original 12 sites selected in 2007 to establish translational medicine programs.

The new buildings are physical manifestations of Rochester’s commitment to the highest standards of excellence, whether in academia, clinical care, or the performing arts. The Eastman Theatre complex and the new Clinical and Translational Science Building also reflect a partnership involving the University, the state—which provided substantial funding for both projects—and community leaders and benefactors, all dedicated to accelerating the progress of both Rochester and the University of Rochester.