We are going national. On June 5 in San Francisco, we launched the first of our regional campaigns. More than 160 alumni, parents, friends, and academic leaders attended, making this the largest University event in San Francisco in our history.
The audience heard remarks by University Trustee Larry Bloch ’75, campaign vice chair for the West Coast; Joe Abrams ’74S (MBA), P’02 and Trustee Carol Karp ’74, P’11, cochairs of the San Francisco Bay regional campaign; and student Diana Pratt ’13. Diana, a recipient of the Dr. Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Endowed Scholarship, spoke from personal experience about the important opportunities that campaign support is already providing to our students. Joe and Carol announced the regional campaign goal of $45 million and at least 120 George Eastman Circle members. In my remarks about The Meliora Challenge, I encouraged everyone to “come home” to be reacquainted with the University and to explore how to help us be “ever better.”
This special dinner was possible because of the dedication of the members of the San Francisco Area Regional Cabinet. This is one of our first Cabinets—led by its inaugural Chair Dr. Charles Munnerlyn ’69 (PhD)—and is the first to launch a regional campaign. Regional Cabinet members are the University’s most visible leaders within their regions, and they will be instrumental in helping us increase the profile of the University outside western New York. Regional Cabinet members provide feedback on the University’s strategic direction and are engaged in a variety of activities, including corporate and foundation relations, admissions, alumni relations, and career services. But perhaps more than anything they are charged with enhancing the network of Rochester’s engaged alumni and friends.
A dozen Regional Cabinets are in the process of being formed, including those in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago/Midwest, Texas, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Boston/New England. We are also establishing four Regional Cabinets in the New York City metropolitan area: New York City, Westchester- Fairfield Counties, Northern New Jersey, and a “New Leaders” group focused on younger alumni and friends.
As the San Francisco effort demonstrates, key volunteer groups are connecting alumni in creative ways. One example is the Lifelong Learning Advisory Committee, which helped us develop The Rochester Forum, a half-day symposium for alumni, who hear from faculty members on topics as diverse as global warming, musical improvisation, and healthy aging. In recent years we have also begun holding University events around major regional musical festivals, including Tanglewood in the Berkshires, Chicago’s Ravinia, and our own Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.
Another creative new approach is our Faculty Ambassadors program, which is just under way with a core group of 48 faculty and academic leaders representing many different areas of the University. The Ambassadors will be traveling around the country to speak on a wide variety of topics at gatherings of alumni, parents, and friends.
I hope that you are able to take advantage of some of these opportunities to embrace and celebrate the University in your own community. When the regional campaigns reach your area, I hope that you will be able to join me to create what is sure to be a remarkable and engaging event. With your help, our progress will continue to accelerate.