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President’s Page

Fantastic Finish By Joel Seligman

We did it. By its end on June 30, 2016, The Meliora Challenge capital campaign had raised more than $1.373 billion, some 14 percent above its $1.2 billion stretch goal.

Not since 1924 has this University completed a comprehensive capital campaign, and the mobilization of outstanding volunteer and academic leadership made this one an unparalleled success. We achieved success across each of our objectives: We added 103 professorships; provided $225 million in student support; galvanized $857 million in construction, thanks to $129 million in lead gifts; tripled annual giving with more than $15.6 million in this past year; and created the remarkable George Eastman Circle, now with 3,351 members.

The Campaign’s success will have a lasting impact on our University.

During the Campaign, we installed outstanding faculty in endowed professorships in virtually every discipline. Patricia Sime, for example, was appointed the C. Jane Davis and C. Robert Davis Distinguished Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, and is an authority in the field of pulmonology best known for her basic and translational research of lung inflammation and scarring.

Ray Dorsey, the David M. Levy Professor in Neurology, is building a medical network for the 21st century for the millions of people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Narayana Kocherlakota, the Lionel W. McKenzie Professor of Economics, joined us in January 2016 after a distinguished academic career at Stanford and the University of Minnesota and recent service as president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank. Joanna Wu, the first Susanna and Evans Y. Lam Professor at the Simon Business School, focuses on international and United States financial reporting and accounting. Vera Gorbunova, the Doris Johns Cherry Professor, has done critical work in DNA repair, the aging process, and cancer resistance, using animal subjects as variegated as the naked mole rat and the sperm whale. Jamal Rossi is the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music. As of this writing faculty members are yet to be appointed to several endowed positions, including the Carol Anne Brink Professorship, which will support a faculty member in geriatric nursing and education, and the Ani and Mark Gabrellian Humanities Center Directorship. Endowed positions provide particularly consequential support to faculty research, scholarship, and teaching.

During our Meliora Challenge campaign we created 406 new endowed scholarships. These will be pivotal in helping us attract students who will be tomorrow’s leaders. Raymond Lopez-Rios ’17, recipient of the Peter Austin Bleyler and Marion Scott Richardson Bleyler Endowed Scholarship, came to Rochester to study optics. He served as Optical Society president and outreach coordinator for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and has mentored high school students through the Minority Male Leadership Association.

When Patrick Towey ’14E, a pianist and recipient of the Louis P. Ciminelli Endowed Scholarship, was accepted at Eastman, he was thrilled but concerned about his financial realities. Being given a scholarship helped make his dreams of being a music teacher come true. Today, he is the band director at Plattsburgh High School in New York.

Akosua Korboe ’16M (MD) is the first recipient of the Levitan Family Endowed Scholarship. As an international student, she was not eligible to receive the same loans as others. This scholarship helped her overcome her financial obstacles and attend the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Her goal is to advance health care around the world, particularly in her native Ghana. Our campus has been transformed by capital projects made possible by the Campaign. During Meliora Weekend in October, we will dedicate the new Wegmans Hall, home to the Goergen Institute for Data Science, situated in the newly developed Hajim Science and Engineering Quadrangle.

The Humanities Center, whose creation was announced a year ago, will soon have a new renovated space in Rush Rhees Library. The center will further enrich the student experience of humanistic inquiry in an interdisciplinary setting. Technologies and collaborative modes of scholarship in this new space will deepen knowledge of the human experience.

Our Warner School has undertaken the creation of the Center for Urban Education Success. Coordinate with our partnership with East High School which began last year, the center will bring together Warner’s educational programs, community outreach, research about urban schools, and the University’s work at East to aid in the revitalization of K-12 urban education regionally, nationally, and globally. We aim to create replicable models of success.

The Campaign has enabled us to envision our Next Level of progress. We can build on the momentum and enthusiasm of The Meliora Challenge campaign. By 2020, we envision a University of Rochester that is one of the most outstanding research institutions in the United States, with pathbreaking initiatives in data science, neuromedicine and neuroscience, the humanities and the performing arts, and the University’s role in the community.

We look forward to engaging every constituency of our community in the next bold phase of our progress. Universities are permanently works in progress. We can all take enormous pride in the progress we recently have made. But in the spirit of Meliora, our challenge remains to be ever better.