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In Brief

Headliners Set for Meliora Weekend 2014
inbriefHEADLINERS: Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (clockwise from top), actor and singer Jason Alexander, and actress Laverne Cox are the special guests for this fall’s Meliora Weekend in October. (Photo: Provided)

Pulitzer Prize–winning presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, actress Laverne Cox, and comedian Jason Alexander will headline this year’s Meliora Weekend, Oct. 16–19.

Friday evening will feature entertainment, including a performance by Alexander, best known for playing the role of George Costanza on the NBC series Seinfeld, at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. A limited number of tickets will be available for the event.

On Saturday, Goodwin will deliver the keynote address. Goodwin, a regular commentator on the presidency, was an assistant to President Lyndon Johnson. She’s the author of six critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling books and winner of the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for History for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. There will be no lottery for tickets to the event; it will, however, be simulcast.

At the Palestra, Cox, who plays an African-American transgender woman on the popular Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, will speak about her role as the first transgender woman of color to play a leading part on a mainstream television show.

For the second year, the weekend will also feature a series of MEL Talks by faculty, students, and alumni on topics related to research, innovation, and artistry. The inaugural series of MEL Talks, held on stage at the Palestra, are available for viewing online on the University’s YouTube channel at

Report Details University’s Economic Reach

The University is directly and indirectly responsible for supporting an estimated 50,300 jobs in the region, according to a new report by the Center for Governmental Research.

With 22,451 full-time-equivalent employees, the University is the eighth-largest private sector employer in New York, the report notes.

The report also finds that the new Institute for Data Science is expected to create 460 construction and permanent jobs and an estimated $530 million in research funding over a 10-year period.

Sculpture Supports Psychiatry Patients and Families

The Department of Psychiatry and renowned Rochester metal sculptor Albert Paley are joining forces to support patients with mental health disorders and their families.

A new sculpture by Paley was installed this spring in the atrium garden at the department’s clinical service, Strong Behavioral Health. Titled Portal, the eight-foot-tall sculpture of weathered steel is surrounded by greenery and natural light and is intended to inspire contemplation and enhance the dignity and warmth of the entranceway.

Part of a nine-piece series of sculptures, Portal was exhibited throughout Europe and the United States before being placed on long-term loan to the University.

Robert McCrory Named University Professor

inbriefHONOREE: The longtime director of the laser lab, Robert McCrory is one of only eight faculty members to hold the title of University Professor. (Photo: Adam Fenster)

Robert McCrory, the longtime director of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, has been named a University Professor in recognition of his contributions to the physics and engineering community and to the University.

McCrory becomes one of only eight current or retired faculty members to hold the honor, one of the highest recognitions awarded by the University.

Under McCrory’s leadership the laser lab has established itself as a world-leading laboratory for the investigation of inertial confinement fusion. Since becoming director, McCrory has been responsible for securing $1.6 billion in funding for the lab, which has consistently received outstanding reviews from the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Scientists from around the world use the lab’s facilities for several research projects, most notably to develop nuclear fusion as a reliable energy source.

inbriefCLASS PORTRAIT: Singer Family Award winners (sitting) were invited to graduation by their Class of 2014 nominators (standing), including Doreen Arney and Daniel Gorman Jr.; John Hathaway and Chelsea Hans; Theresa Sarkis Kruse and Shamen Radcliff; and Robert Collard and Jonathan LoTempio Jr. (Photo: Adam Fenster)

Graduating Students Honor Their High School Teachers

Four graduating seniors honored a special group of people during commencement ceremonies this spring.

High school teachers Doreen Arney, Robert Collard, John Hathaway, and Theresa Sarkis Kruse were recognized with the 2014 Singer Family Prize for Excellence in Secondary Teaching. The annual award honors teachers for their significant influence on Rochester’s newest alumni.

Seniors in the College are invited to nominate a high school teacher for consideration for the prize. The four award winners were invited to the May ceremony to watch their former students graduate.

This year’s honorees were:

Doreen Arney, an English teacher at Pearl River (N.Y.) High School, who was nominated by Daniel Gorman Jr. ’14; Robert Collard, a chemistry teacher at Grand Island (N.Y.) Senior High School, who was nominated by Jonathan LoTempio Jr. ’14; John Hathaway, the director of instrumental music at Mount St. Mary Academy in Kenmore, N.Y., who was nominated by Chelsea Hans ’14; and Theresa Sarkis Kruse, an English teacher at Rochester’s Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School, who was nominated by Shamen Radcliffe ’14.

Paul Singer ’66 established the awards through the Paul Singer Family Foundation.

UR Medicine Launches Wilmot Cancer Institute

The University’s clinical and research programs in cancer, along with a growing network of satellite locations, have been reorganized under the newly launched Wilmot Cancer Institute.

As part of an effort to expand and deepen the institute’s mission, UR Medicine also launched a $30 million comprehensive campaign with a focus on cancer research. The spring announcement included $4 million in support from the Wilmot family and the James P. Wilmot Foundation.

With the Wilmot Cancer Center at the Medical Center as its hub, the new institute encompasses seven satellite treatment facilities and all cancer research activities at the University.

The institute is designed to provide the highest level of care by making the expertise and capabilities of clinicians, faculty, and health care professionals available to patients.