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President’s Message

Rooted in Community, Flourishing as a UniversityHistoric projects highlight our commitment to the community as well as to educational, clinical, and cultural excellence.By Sarah C. Mangelsdorf

Springtime at great universities like Rochester is an inspiring season. We celebrate commencement, of course, in which we congratulate the members of the graduating class and see them off with great hope and excitement for what their futures will bring.

At this year’s University-wide ceremony, the Class of 2023 was joined by one of our very accomplished graduates. Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro ’95, the first alumnus elected as a state’s top executive, gave a rousing address animated by the inspirational ethos that Meliora does—and should—shape how we think about the communities in which we live and how we can work to improve the world around us.

I was reminded of Gov. Shapiro’s message as we celebrated historic events this spring, which, in different ways, emphasize the University’s commitment as an eager contributor to the success of Rochester and its surrounding communities as well as our dedication to educational, clinical, and cultural excellence that transcends regional boundaries and reflects our stature as a leading research university.

The first milestone was the formal opening of UR Medicine’s Orthopaedics and Physical Performance Center, a 330,000-square-foot project located in nearby Henrietta. Part of the Medical Center’s long-term strategic plan to serve the area’s and the nation’s growing need for orthopaedic care, the center is the largest off-site building project in the University’s history.

More than four years in the making, the center provides state-of-the-art orthopaedic medicine, including ambulatory surgery, advanced imaging, physical therapy and athletic performance training, motion analysis, customized prosthetics, and advanced approaches to injury prevention.

The center provides care to patients in Rochester as well as the surrounding Finger Lakes region of New York. At the same time, it provides a cutting-edge learning environment for our students in medicine and nursing.

Just days later, we dedicated the second phase of the Memorial Art Gallery’s Centennial Sculpture Park, a project that extends the original park on the museum’s campus west to Prince Street. Featuring new installations from Rashid Johnson, Pia Camil, Sanford Biggers, and other artists, the addition serves as a welcoming entrance to the museum from the School of the Arts, part of the Rochester City School District. Johnson, a key figure in the re-emergence of abstraction, was inspired by the Black and Brown students of the school and designed an elegantly curved sculpture as a physical and symbolic gateway inviting the larger community into the museum.

The park is the latest manifestation of the museum’s efforts to serve as a cultural resource for the community and the region. Beyond curating an extraordinary and innovative collection, the museum serves as a Rochester-wide center for creativity, bringing together artists and creators of all kinds as an inclusive hub of the arts.

The project represents foundational ideas about the University. From George Eastman’s commitment to medical care and music to the Sibley family’s commitment to the arts and culture and to our current initiative as partners with East High to improve education in the Rochester area, we are deeply engaged in the life of the community. I often say that we are the University OF Rochester, and we take that responsibility to heart as we think about the future of the institution and the region.

That’s why one of the three core beliefs of our new strategic plan, Boundless Possibility, emphasizes our connections to the community.

While we’re putting the finishing touches on the plan this summer, we have never wavered from the idea that, as the draft plan notes, “Our future is inextricably linked to the city we call home, and we are committed to continued economic, educational, social, and cultural partnerships with the greater Rochester community.”

In other words, “Contributing to and benefiting from a just and vibrant city of Rochester and the Rochester region” is a pillar of the plan.

Helping us move forward with those aspects of the plan will be Shaun Nelms ’13W (EdD), who since 2015 has led the University’s partnership with East and has demonstrated great success in improving outcomes for students at the school. He joins the University’s leadership team this summer as the inaugural vice president for community partnerships.

He will be responsible for developing an actionable plan for cultivating and stewarding productive collaborations throughout the surrounding community.

We have an outstanding and ongoing legacy in that regard, one that demonstrates that we flourish as a leading research university when we are rooted in our community.

I’m confident that we will all grow stronger in the coming years.

Contact President Mangelsdorf at thepresidentsoffice (at) Rochester (dot) edu. Follow her on Instagram: (at) urochestermangelsdorf.