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Fall 2012: Welcome Back

Welcome back to the students and faculty who are returning for the fall 2012 semester and a special welcome to the Class of 2016.

This summer we have been busy!

Just 12 months after we broke ground for an undergraduate residence, our new dorm, O’Brien Hall, is now open and completes Jackson Court at Wilson Boulevard and Intercampus Drive.  Jackson Court is destined to be a new gathering place for students, replete with fireplace, green space and including O’Brien, Anderson and Wilder residence halls, Sage Art Center, and the newly landscaped courtyard they surround. 

Steps away from Jackson Court and across Wilson Boulevard, this summer the City of Rochester and the University joined in celebrating the completion of a new pedestrian bridge across the Genesee River, which should prove a special favorite of joggers, hikers and bicyclists. 

Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation is now under construction on the River Campus.  Named for University trustee and philanthropist Ron Rettner, the new building is designed to be the crossroads for students pursuing digital media and music and sound engineering. Lab and studio spaces will be open 24 hours a day. Rettner Hall, located between Morey Hall and Wilson Commons, will open in the fall 2013.

Raymond F. LeChase Hall, the future home of the Warner School of Education, is nearing completion. Named for the father of University trustee R. Wayne LeChase, the building will provide space for Warner’s programs for teachers, counselors, and administrators in K-12 education. LeChase Hall also will provide additional classroom space for the College during daytime hours.  LeChase Hall will open for spring 2013 classes.

The University also is growing in computational strength. The Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation, home to IBM’s next generation supercomputer, the Blue Gene/Q, makes the University one of the five most significant university-based supercomputing sites in the nation. The Blue Gene/Q can perform 209 trillion calculations per second. Such high performance computing makes it possible to broaden our understanding of human health and to design future diagnostics and treatments for disease. Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative and community leaders joined us to dedicate the Health Sciences Center on August 3.

With the selection of Provost Ralph Kuncl as the new president of the University of Redlands in California, Peter Lennie has become provost while remaining Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering.  A new position has been spun off from the provost’s former portfolio.  Rob Clark is now serving as interim senior vice president for research while remaining dean of the Edmund A. Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Peter and Rob are exceptional leaders and thinkers who are well prepared for these new responsibilities.  Rob will serve until a national search for a permanent senior vice president for research is complete.

Each fall, a special highlight is Meliora Weekend. This year is our 12th extravaganza, set for Oct. 11 to 14, which will be headlined by legendary journalist Barbara Walters and comedian and late-night TV host Craig Ferguson.  The Eastman School of Music’s biennial alumni and family celebration will occur on the same weekend and will include a special tribute to jazz professor and arranger Rayburn Wright.

Let me also extend a special invitation to all of you for the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival from September 19 to 23. The University is a sponsor of this exciting and experimental arts venture. The East End neighborhood and the Eastman School of Music are key locations for performances. Rochester this past summer was recognized by The Atlantic Cities as one of the 10 leading cities for music and musicians. Our new Fringe Festival is another step toward making Rochester a leading city of festivals. 

The University is on the move.  To all in the Rochester family, a warm welcome.