Tools Search Main Menu

An Exciting New Year

This is going to be an exciting year, and I want to share with you some of the great things we have ahead of us.

First of all, we are joined by a terrific group of new students in the College. Three quarters of them were in the top 10 percent of their high school classes; about half of those students are from 46 states outside New York; 53 percent are male and 47 percent female; and 14 percent are from underrepresented minority groups.

The entering class in the Eastman School also is supremely talented. It also is very diverse geographically, with students from 32 states and seven other countries. The countries sending the most students are South Korea and Canada. The states, besides New York, sending the most are Pennsylvania, California, and Texas.

The Simon School also is welcoming a strong entering class. The new MBA/MS students number 166, up approximately 20 percent from last year, and the quality of the class, as measured by GMAT scores and undergraduate GPAs, is at its highest level ever. Those students will have an experience that has been shaped by the needs of business, with emphasis on leadership, communication, and problem solving. One curriculum innovation is the Frame, Analyze, and Communicate (FACt) framework that focuses on teaching students how to solve ambiguous and unstructured business problems by solving real world problems in student-active classrooms.

All in all, this is going to be a particularly memorable year for each of us in the University community. Our faculty and students are among the best in the nation; our programs are innovative; and our facilities are constantly improving.

—President Seligman

This fall the Warner School welcomes its first group of students in the accelerated Ed.D. program. The program is designed for working educators and experienced professionals who are looking to enhance their intellectual understanding of specific educational, counseling, and human development issues and to prepare themselves for higher levels of responsibility within their field. This new accelerated option allows students to complete the program in three years part time while holding a full-time job.

The highlight event this fall will be Meliora Weekend (October 6 to 8). It will feature a keynote address on "The Future of Freedom" by Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International; the first Presidential Symposium; the inaugural lecture of the Frederick Douglass Lecture Series; and a comedy improv with Drew Carey. Trustee Hugo Sonnenschein '61, president emeritus of the University of Chicago, will moderate the President's Symposium on "Energy Sustainability," featuring Nobel laureate Steven Chu '70 and energy experts John Holdren and Susan Tierney. Lani Guinier, the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard University, will deliver the Douglass Lecture, and return in the spring for two more Douglass Lectures.

These are just a few high points of what will be a very rich weekend of arts, culture, thought, and entertainment. The full program is available

Throughout the year our athletic teams will be in action, too! An early highlight will be the Courage Bowl, featuring our football team against St. John Fisher College here in Fauver Stadium on Saturday evening, September 9. We believe in athletics at Rochester, for fitness, for the lessons they teach, and for fun. I hope that you will take advantage of the athletic facilities this year and find time to support one or more of the teams.

There will, of course, be many other opportunities for enrichment, including the incredible offerings of the Eastman School, truly a world-class asset for the University and the community. The school is celebrating the 100th birthday of composer Dimitri Shostakovich with a five-day symposium September 13 to 17 on his music and that of his protégé, Mieczyslaw Weinberg. A month later, October 12 to 15, the school will celebrate the twentieth century organ, and in particular the restoration of the Kilbourn Hall Skinner Organ, with a three-day festival. October 20 to 22 is Eastman Weekend, which combines Alumni Weekend, Family Weekend, and the Eastman Community School Open House, with ensemble and individual student performances and the Eastman Philharmonia premier of a new composition by George Walker '56E (DMA). If you are new to the University, let me urge you to take a look at Eastman's calendar frequently. You will find an amazing variety of musical offerings of the very highest quality.

The Memorial Art Gallery is another rich cultural resource for our community, and from October to December the gallery will host a major exhibition of works by American master Georgia O'Keeffe. The show, Georgia O'Keeffe: Color and Conservation, brings together 25 rarely seen oil paintings and two pastels from all periods of O'Keeffe's career. It also will include photos of the artist from George Eastman House. The gallery is one of only three national venues to host this unique presentation. I hope you will take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to view these works and the many other amazing offerings on display.

You will notice that the BME Optics building is now clad in red brick and is being finished. We plan to dedicate it next spring in honor of Trustee Robert Goergen '60, who provided $10 million for its construction. There has been a strong national trend toward interdisciplinary research as scientists and scholars pursue problems wherever they lead, which is increasingly at the boundaries where two or more disciplines meet. We anticipate wonderful opportunities in both research and teaching as faculty and students in engineering, optics, and biomedicine explore the advantages of close collaboration and informal daily contact.

Also under construction is the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. Crews have poured the foundation and are beginning to erect the steel reinforcements for the superstructure of the building, which will allow for the consolidation of all cancer care and translational research in one location. It is scheduled to open in spring 2008.

Later this academic year we also anticipate dedicating the new CardioVascular Research Institute. The former Wyeth-Lederle building on Bailey Road in Henrietta is being renovated to house nearly 120 cardiovascular scientists and lab staff.

We are already seeing the positive results of another investment in facilities, the Loretta C. Ford Education Wing of Helen Wood Hall, which houses the School of Nursing. This is the first full year for the new wing, which opened last spring and has significantly enhanced the school's technological capabilities, especially for instruction. This fall, the school also is launching two new master's degree programs aimed at meeting the increasing demand for children's mental health practitioners. The school's goal is to develop professionals trained to identify and evaluate mental health disorders in children and teens, and to provide timely intervention.

Peter Lennie formally began his duties as Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering on July 1. Peter returns to the University from NYU, where he had been dean for sciences since 1999. He had served on the faculty here from 1982 through 1999 and had been chair of brain and cognitive sciences from 1995 through 1999.

Nine days later, we announced the appointment of Bradford C. Berk '81M (PhD, MD) as senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the Medical Center and Strong Health. An expert on the cellular mechanisms that cause cardiovascular disease, Brad was previously the Charles E. Dewey Professor of Medicine. He had held appointments at Harvard, Emory, and the University of Washington before becoming chief of cardiology here in 1998. He became chair of medicine a year later.

Both Peter and Brad have hit the ground running. The search is under way for a new dean of the Eastman School of Music. Meanwhile, Jamal Rossi '87E (DMA) is serving as interim dean.

Nationally respected pediatric neurologist and scientist Nina Schor became chair of pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief of the Golisano Children's Hospital on September 1. She is known for her research on neuroblastoma and degenerative disease and oxygen radical damage in the nervous system. Nina comes from the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and succeeds Elizabeth McAnarney, professor of pediatrics in adolescent medicine and chair emerita.

There have been a number of other very distinguished additions to the faculty, which the relevant schools will announce in the coming days.

Last month we were delighted to announce that Dalkey Archive Press will move to the University in January, complementing the scholarly work of the University of Rochester Press. Dalkey is the premier press specializing in literary translation. Its translation of Voices from Chernobyl (2005) won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Dalkey's presence here will further strengthen programs in the humanities.

I had earlier committed $100,000 from the President's Venture Fund to support 10 exciting, innovative programs that the College announced last week, including Women in Music, Lives of Performers, Law and the "War on Terror," and History and Philosophy of Physics. I expect that we will all be challenged, enriched, and delighted by the year of programming that the humanities departments have created.

All in all, this is going to be a particularly memorable year for each of us in the University community. Our faculty and students are among the best in the nation; our programs are innovative; and our facilities are constantly improving. Newsweek's designation of the University as one of the 25 "New Ivies" was one more recognition of a dynamic university on the move.

Wonderful things will happen this year. I am delighted to be a part of this remarkable university, and I hope that you are, too.