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Garden Party 2014

JUNE 24, 2014

We are a University on the move! Our momentum continues. 

This is our strongest year in history in Advancement.  We have raised $118 million in cash through June 19th, 32 percent ahead of last year.  Our Meliora Challenge Capital Campaign has reached $1,093,303,871 raised through June 19th, 91.1 percent of our $1.2 billion goal.  We have increased our George Eastman Circle membership to 2,980 members.  Regional campaigns successfully have been launched in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York, and San Diego, with a Regional Campaign launch scheduled for Los Angeles in September.  Our OneRochester Faculty/Staff Campaign, which went public in Fall 2013, already has generated support from 41 percent of our faculty and staff. 

The support from our Trustees and friends has been extraordinary.  On April 1st, I announced a new $17 million gift from the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation.  Ten million will provide the lead gift for our Institute for Data Science; seven million will support the Golisano Children’s Hospital.  We will name the new Data Science facility Wegman Hall in honor of the Wegman family.  The support for the Golisano Children’s Hospital brings our total for that construction project to $45 million, within $15 million of our $60 million goal for what is the largest construction project in our history.

When we crossed the billion dollar threshold last November, we joined a pretty exclusive club of 29 private universities which have succeeded in raising $1 billion or more.

What does this mean for our University?  First, we have made a significant change in our culture of alumni relations.  We now rank among the top 40 universities and colleges according to Forbes Magazine in its Grateful Grad Index.

We have created 281 new scholarship and fellowship endowments to support students such as Carlos Gonzalez Roman, a rising sophomore who has already had a world of experience.  Carlos came here from Paraguay, where he had created and led two companies during his sophomore year of high school while studying and earning a scholarship to learn English. 

Since the Campaign began, we have secured commitments for 82 endowed professorships and deanships, already exceeding our goal of 80.      

Medical Center CEO Brad Berk and his family, for example, have contributed a $1.5 million gift to create a distinguished professorship in support of the University’s cardiovascular care, research and educational efforts.  SLIDE 8
On May 14 we celebrated the installation of cardiologist Art Moss as the inaugural Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. Distinguished Professor.  Art has a half-century of experience as a clinician and research scientist investigating heart disease. 

At the installation, Art charmed the audience with his recollection of Monkey Baker, whom Art as a young physician helped with recovery from one of the earliest space flights.  Alas Abel, a second monkey, died of complications soon after the flight.  Art’s commanding officer was deeply concerned that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would be alarmed by the sad plight of Abel.  Art came to the rescue, successfully proposing to the SPCA that it should give Monkey Baker a medal for heroism.  Unexpectedly, LIFE magazine took the celebration much further with its legendary cover photo of Monkeys Abel and Baker.   

The support of alumni and friends has been particularly consequential in supporting our facilities and renovation projects.  During our Campaign, we have completed or begun planning for $810 million of facilities projects.  Each of our major construction projects is on time and on budget.  College Town will open for business in October of this calendar year with:

  • SLIDE 11
    a two-level, 20,000 square foot Barnes & Noble, and will ultimately include
  • SLIDE 12
    a 136-room Hilton Garden Inn with full service restaurant and conference center,
  • SLIDE 13
    several restaurants, including  Flight Wine Bar, The Beer Market, the Corner Bakery Café, Saxby’s Coffee, Jimmy John’s, Insomnia Cookies, and Moe’s, as well as Constantino’s Market, Bean Cruise and Travel, and Breathe Yoga;
  • SLIDE 14
    a new 1900-parking space garage and
  • SLIDE 15
    Paprocki Plaza, named in honor of Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance  Ron Paprocki, whose leadership was consequential in creating College Town.

To celebrate College Town, we will publish Our Work Is But Begun, a new history of the University of Rochester by Janice Pieterse.  This book traces the progress of the University from a small undergraduate program to a robust research university by the conclusion of Tom Jackson’s presidency in 2005. 

SLIDES 17-18
A few months after College Town opens, the Golisano Children’s Hospital will open in 2015.  When the new $145 million building with approximately 245,000 square feet of space is complete, it will provide our region’s children and their families the best possible environment for healing. 

In May, the Medical Center announced the launch of Wilmot Cancer Institute, a new organizational structure for all of the Medical Center’s programs in cancer, including its growing network of satellite locations throughout the region.  The Wilmot Cancer Institute simultaneously launched a $30 million fundraising campaign at its 15th annual Discovery Ball in May to support expanded research efforts.

Across the Genesee, we will open Brooks Crossing in August, which will add housing for 170 of our students. 

We have begun work on a significant renovation and expansion of our athletic facilities thanks to a lead gift from alumnus Brian F. Prince, made in honor of his parents, Richard J. and Christine L. Prince.  Initial construction of the Brian F. Prince Athletic Complex will begin this summer and encompass Fauver Stadium and the baseball field, the Lyman Outdoor Tennis Center, and the North Field Practice area. 

University Trustee Ron Rettner has established the Ronald Rettner Campus Improvement Fund to help revitalize the Eastman Quad’s historic academic buildings and spaces.  Ron recently made the lead gift that helped us create the Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation.

Beginning in summer 2014, the new Rettner Improvement Fund will initiate a multi-floor renovation of Morey Hall, which connects to Rettner Hall. 

In February, Governor Cuomo formally announced full funding for the approximately $90 million I-390 Kendrick Road Interchange project.  All phases of this project will be completed by 2017.  This project, among other things, unlocks the University’s potential for significant expansion of our core campuses, particularly the Medical Center campus, and will ease traffic congestion after the opening of College Town and the Golisano Children’s Hospital. 

By 2015 the Medical Center plans  to construct a three- story, 92,000-square-foot building along Brighton’s East River Road near the I-390/Kendrick Road interchange to relocate outpatient imaging and some pediatric outpatient care. 

Throughout the University, our academic programs continue to show growing strength.  Applications for next year’s undergraduate program in Arts, Sciences and Engineering has reached a new record of 16,342, with predicted two-score equivalent SATs on track to rise to a record 1378, up by 78 points from 2005.  To put this in different terms, our two-score equivalent SATs have increased from the 87th percentile to the 93rd percentile of all applicants since 2005.  Simultaneously, there has been a substantial increase in enrollment of underrepresented minorities, from 12.2 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2014, and in enrollment of first-year international students, which has increased from 3.3 to 23 percent, coming from a record 75 countries.

This also has been a year of noteworthy University events and faculty and student accomplishments on the River Campus.  Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates delivered this year’s keynote address in October at our Meliora Weekend.

Former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous joined us in January to deliver the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Address, drawing on the inspiration of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Shirley Chisolm, Frederick Douglass, and Cesar Chavez.

On February 22nd, the University awarded an honorary degree to Itzhak Perlman, today the world’s most celebrated violinist, who performed with the Eastman Philharmonic Orchestra in Kodak Hall.

On March 19th, the University awarded an honorary degree to world-renowned flutist Sir James Galway, who performed on NPR’s From the Top, recorded live at Kodak Hall.

For many outside of Rochester, especially those in Denver, the only inspiring moment of this year’s Super Bowl was Eastman graduate Renée Fleming singing the National Anthem. 

In early May, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra gave a memorable performance of the opera Merry Mount at the Spring For Music festival at Carnegie Hall, an opera composed by Howard Hanson while director of the Eastman School.

And then, of course, there was the stirring announcement that >SLIDE 34
the naked mole rat was named Vertebrate of the Year by Science Magazine, in part >SLIDE 35
because of the pathbreaking research of University of Rochester biologists Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov, who have studied why naked mole rats live as long as 30 years and never contract cancer.  Most recently, Vera received a five-year, $9.5 million federal grant to head up a project studying why the Naked Mold Rat has such longevity, and to develop application that may delay human aging.

In a different field, Professor Ronald Rogge achieved considerable attention for a study published in The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, which concluded that watching romantic movies was just as effective in preventing divorce in the first three years of marriage as two established premarital treatments. 

Professors Karl Kieburtz, and Xi-Cheng Zhang were named Fellows of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Karl’s primary clinical and research interests are neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.  Xi-Cheng is the leader of our internationally renowned Institute of Optics and an expert in terahertz optical systems.

Professor David Williams, one of the world’s experts on human vision, was selected in 2014 to become a member of the National Academy of Sciences. 

In April, Richard Aslin, the William R. Kenan Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and director of the Rochester Center for Brain Imaging, was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences.

Two University of Rochester scientists were recipients of Optical Society Awards.  Ching Tang was recognized for his discovery of efficient thin-film organic light-emitting diodes.  Jannick P. Rolland was lauded for visionary contributions and leadership in optical design and engineering, enabling noninvasive, optical biopsy.

Lynne Maquat, the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Professor in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, received the Rochester Business Alliance Women’s Council’s Athena Award in recognition of professional excellence in RNA research and her advocacy for women in the sciences.  Lynne is the first research scientist to be recognized for this award.  Lynne’s acceptance speech memorably concluded by paraphrasing Willie Nelson, “Mamas, do let your daughters grow up to be scientists.” 

Five Eastman graduates received Grammy awards – Bob Ludwig, Maria Schneider, Martha Cluver, Eric Dudley, and Kent Knappenberger, who received the Grammy Foundation’s inaugural Music Educator Award.  Bob Ludwig, a mastering engineer, won a Grammy in each of four categories for which he was nominated.  Maria Schneider received the Best Contemporary Classical Composition Grammy for her song cycle “Winter Morning Walks.” 

Steve Goldstein, the CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital and Highland Hospital, was named by Becker’s Hospital Review in a list of the top 40 smartest people in health care.

Mary Ann Mavrinac, Vice Provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries, was selected for the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario College and University Library Association, the oldest and largest library association in Canada. 

The Laboratory for Laser Energetics successfully concluded its 25,000th experiment to create and study extreme states of matter.  This experiment was designed to study the properties of liquid deuterium at high pressure, which will help scientists explore how to make fusion work in the Laboratory and what is happening in the interior of giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn.  On April 3rd, we celebrated Laser Lab Director Robert McCrory’s 38 years of accomplishments by installing him in a University Professorship, simultaneously installing Professor Riccardo Betti, an internationally recognized leader in fusion energy research, in the Robert L. McCrory Professorship, an endowment which was created by an anonymous donor.

This spring, five Rochester students and one alumna have been awarded 2014-15 Fulbright grants.  Rochester students and alumni have also received 17 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships this year. 

First year student Danielle Neu earned honorable mention All-America honors on the three-meter board at the NCAA Division III championships.  She is the first women’s diving All-American at Rochester.

On the same day in April, first-year students David Strandberg and Eleni Wechsler made baseball and softball history.  Strandberg threw the first recorded no-hitter in University baseball history.  Nearly simultaneously Wechsler pitched no-hitter in a victory over Skidmore College.

The magazine Downbeat, sometimes described as “the bible of jazz,” recognized the Eastman Chamber Jazz Ensemble under director Jeff Campbell for outstanding undergraduate college performance in its 37th annual Student Awards competition.  Downbeat also recognized Eastman musician Michael Conrad for the best original composition for a large ensemble.

Soprano Julia Bullock, who received her Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in 2009, was named the winner of the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation’s International Vocal Competition following the finals in New York City on March 14.  The Naumburg international competition has been described by The New York Times as “the most prestigious of them all.” 

Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University, delivered the keynote address at the University’s 2014 Diversity Conference, Crossroads: An Opportunity for Progress.  Bollinger was the defendant in Grutter v. Bollinger, the United States Supreme Court case that authorized colleges and universities to take race into account in admissions decisions, recognizing the importance of diversity in higher education. 

Pulitzer Prize winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals, will be the keynote speaker for Meliora Weekend this October.  Her latest book, The Bully Pulpit, focuses on the 1912 election, particularly the relationship between former President Teddy Roosevelt and incumbent William Howard Taft.

This year we are experiencing an unusually large number of senior leadership transitions. 

In September 2013, Chief Advancement Officer Jim Thompson began a medical leave and subsequently in February, Jim and I agreed that he would become a Special Counsel to the President to focus on strategic Advancement issues.  During the past eight years, Jim achieved virtually everything that we set out to accomplish in Advancement.  We will complete our $1.2 billion Meliora Challenge campaign by June 30, 2016.  We have strengthened relationships with alumni, parents, and friends who support our University.  Jim built an outstanding Advancement program and team.  Working with Board Development Committee Chair Larry Bloch, I am leading the search for a new Chief Advancement Officer. 

In September, Simon School Dean Mark Zupan announced that after 10 years as Dean of our business school, he would pass the baton to a new Dean on July 1, 2014.  Mark has some notable achievements as Dean.  During his Deanship, the Simon School added nine new tenure eligible faculty, and supportive alumni, friends, faculty, and staff contributed nearly $67 million of the School’s $85 million target as part of the University Meliora Challenge campaign.  This support has allowed the Simon School to add 10 new endowed professorships, nearly doubling the total at the School.  Curricular innovations such as the M.S. in Medical Management and M.S. in Finance have resulted in strong student demand and enabled Simon consistently in recent years to achieve the University’s target 5.5 percent endowment draw. 

In May, I announced the appointment of Andrew Ainslie as the new Dean of the Simon School.  Andrew has had a stellar career as Senior Associate Dean of UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where he is widely credited with having re-engineered the School’s MBA program.  Andrew will begin next week.

On September 23rd, Eastman School of Music Dean Doug Lowry resigned as Dean because of deteriorating health.  Doug led the Eastman School during its renovation and expansion of Eastman Theatre; he unified the Eastman community.  He hired outstanding faculty.  He was, as an associate memorably stated, a polymath with a heart, who personified absolute integrity and creativity in advancing the musical arts.  Doug was the rarest of academic administrators:  A great dean who was also a great man.  On October 2nd, we lost a dear friend when Doug Lowry died.   

In May, I announced the selection of Jamal Rossi as Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music.  Jamal was the most talented of a rich candidate pool because of an extraordinary record of accomplishment.  He served as Executive Associate Dean from 2007 until September 2013, and we benefited from his leadership as Dean on three separate occasions in the past eight years. 

In November of 2013, Grant Holcomb, the Director of the Memorial Art Gallery, announced he would retire later this year. SLIDE 59
During Grant’s illustrious 29 year career, the Gallery:

  • enhanced its permanent collection, held high-profile exhibitions presenting such artists as Maxfield Parrish, Edgar Degas, Georgia O’Keeffe and Jacob Lawrence;
  • SLIDE 60
    added Vanden Brul Pavilion linking the original 1913 Gallery building to Cutler Union and
  • SLIDE 61
    recently completed the Centennial Sculpture Park while opening the public spaces of the MAG to the public.

Grant helped popularize the Gallery’s exceptional educational programs, worked with the University Medical Center in developing such programs as The Art of Observation and
supported collaborations with, among many others, Garth Fagan Dance, George Eastman House, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Eastman School of Music and Writers and Books. MAG Board President Jim Durfee is leading a search for Grant’s successor.

Joanna Olmsted has also informed us that after an extraordinarily successful Deanship of the School of Arts and Sciences that she would step down at the end of this academic year.  Joanna is a Dean of uncommon good judgment, integrity, generosity, deep respect for Arts, Sciences and Engineering and the University, and a joy with whom to work.  I and many others will dearly miss her. 

We continue to make slow but steady progress in faculty, student and staff diversity.  Between 2006 and 2013, the percentage of our underrepresented minority faculty has grown from 2.6 percent to 3.9 percent, with the number of underrepresented faculty doubling from 37 to 75. During the same period, women on our faculty have increased from 28.6 percent to 33.1 percent, an increase in actual numbers from 411 to 636.  Our aggregate underrepresented minority staff has increased from 5.1 percent to 6.6 percent.

Several of our recent hires are particularly noteworthy, such as School of Nursing Professor LaRon Nelson, who received his Ph.D. from Rochester in 2009.  LaRon has served as Assistant Dean for Global and Community Affairs at the University of South Florida College of Nursing since 2012 and was the principal investigator on research grants focusing on AIDS prevention and behavioral health issues.  He will serve as the Associate Director of International Research in the Center for AIDS Research. 

Many of the greatest social challenges in our inner cities involve race and poverty.   In early February, I hosted a Presidential Symposium that focused on revitalizing K-12 education in Rochester at which Mayor Lovely Warren presented the keynote speech.  The Symposium highlighted programs that work, such as the Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection that has more than doubled the graduation rates of the Rochester City School District for its students.  We also are proud of the University’s Upward Bound programs, administered by our Kearns Center, that have supported nearly 300 low income area high school students in an effort to increase the number of Rochester City School District students who apply and gain admission to college.  Upward Bound has a 96 percent high school graduation rate.  In opening this Symposium, I stressed, “K-12 education is one of the great social challenges of the 21st century.  When many universities have scaled back their support of schools of education, the University of Rochester is determined to invest in K-12 education as part of our commitment to the greater Rochester community and, most of all, its children.”

East High School is the largest high school in Rochester and is on the verge of being closed by the State because of inadequate performance.  We were asked by the Rochester City School Board if we would assume the role of an Educational Partnership Organization, the equivalent to the Superintendent for East High School, under a special statute that addresses low performing high schools.   For several weeks a number of our Warner School of Education faculty, led by Dean Raffaella Borasi and Steve Uebbing, have developed an Educational Partnership Organization plan which was submitted to the School Board for approval.  This plan, among other things, anticipates doubling East High School graduation rates from the current 42 percent to 84 percent over a seven year period, assuming full implementation of the plan. The plan would revitalize a public high school, doing so with unionized employees, fully protecting their financial benefits. It is nonetheless uncertain whether we will be able to proceed.  We also must achieve concord on Memoranda of Agreement with the four relevant unions at East High School. If these approvals occur, we will submit the Educational Partnership Organization agreement to the State Education Department by July 1. If the State approves the plan we will prepare a full operational plan by December which also will require additional approvals.  The operational plan will be developed collaboratively with East High School teachers, parents, students; indeed, all other stakeholders.  This is a complicated process, but one that can dramatically improve the lives of students at East High School and potentially create a model of how challenged high schools can be revitalized.  There also will be significant academic advantages to the students and faculty at the University’s Warner School.  No one should have any delusions that this is easy.  This will not work unless there is flexibility and cooperation among all key decision makers involved.  I, for one, have been encouraged by the spirit of cooperation and mutual determination.  We need all parties to make a commitment in these emergency circumstances to be sufficiently flexible to save a high school that is on the ropes.  The jury is still out as to whether this will occur. 

In October, the University Board of Trustees adopted a new set of University, Medical Center, and school strategic plans.   We called the University Strategic Plan Aiming Higher and characterized its objectives and goals in these terms:


  • Faculty Is Paramount
  • Institute for Data Science
  • University Research Strategic Plan
  • Infrastructure Improvements


  • The College – Faculty Growth, Ever Stronger Student Body
  • School of Medicine and Dentistry – Institute for Innovative Education
  • Simon School – Data Analytics, Pricing, Undergraduate Business
  • Eastman – New Undergraduate and Master’s Programs
  • All Schools – Integrate Online Programs


  • Accountable Health Partners
  • Sustainable Financial Models – Medical Faculty Group
  • Regional and Insurance Strategies
  • Maintain or Increase US News Top 50 Hospital Rankings
  • Complete Golisano Children’s Hospital by 2015


  • College Town, Brooks Crossing
  • Support K-12, Health Care and Community Programs
  • Economic Development and Technology Transfer



Our first University objective is to be one of this nation’s leading research universities.  This objective is well aligned with what is a critical national priority.  Economists have estimated that at least 50 percent of economic growth in the United States during the last half of the 20th century was derived from technological innovation, much of which resulted from federally funded sponsored research agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. 

As a nation we increasingly face an innovation deficit.  According to the National Science Board, the United States’ share of global Research and Development has declined from 37 percent to 30 percent since 2001.  During the same period the economies of East and Southeast Asia and South Asia – including China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan – achieved an increase in their combined share from 25 percent to 34 percent of the global total.  SLIDE 78
The pace of growth over the past 10 years in China’s overall Research and Development has been exceptionally high at about 18 percent annually adjusted for inflation, propelling it to 14.5 percent of the global total in 2011, up from 2.2 percent in 2000.   There is nothing wrong with a commitment to research by any nation – but there is a national threat in the faster rate of growth abroad than in the United States with its implications for our technological innovation and faculty and student recruitment and retention.  Simply put, we seek to be the most innovative nation in the world and know that this will require the most talented faculty and students.

The deterioration in sponsored research has been profound at the national level.  When 1995 dollars are normalized across time, research support, for example, from the National Institutes of Health increased from $11.3 billion to $21 billion between 1995 and 2003.  Since 2003, however, inflation adjusted dollars for NIH have decreased from $21 billion to $16.3 billion.

SLIDES 80-81
The University of Rochester is a member of the American Association of Universities, this nation’s leading organization of research universities, through which I have supported efforts by the AAU and allied organizations to address the innovation deficit.  Recently, the AAU and 13 business, higher education and scientific organizations jointly urged Congress to close the innovation deficit by increasing federal investments in sponsored research.  Among other steps, they have produced a short video for general audiences that I would like to share with you.

Watch the video

This directly affects the University of Rochester.  Over the past five years, we have received nearly $2 billion in research funding and on a per faculty basis rank in FY 12 among the top 17 universities in the country in sponsored research support per faculty member.  So far this fiscal year, however, research expenditures decreased from $348 million to $321 million.

Sponsored research makes a difference.  Since the work of University of Rochester Medical School Professors Bonnez, Reichman and Rose helped produce the first vaccine against any cancer, the commercialization of Gardasil has led to a reported 56 percent reduction in human papillomavirus in teenage young women, a dramatic step in reducing cervical cancer. 

 A 2014 path breaking study with University of Rochester lead author Professor Mark Mapstone published in Nature Medicine shows that a blood test can predict Alzheimer’s Disease with 90 percent accuracy. The study found that seniors with low levels of 10 particular fats or lipids were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of cognitive dementia.  These new biomarkers potentially will give doctors tools to diagnose and potentially treat or cure Alzheimer’s.  Doctors estimate that one in eight of our citizens will test positive for Alzheimer’s or other forms of cognitive dementia.  Few areas of research could be more vital in neuroscience today.  Over the next 40 years, the number of Alzheimer’s cases may increase by approximately five-fold. 

In late March,  the National Institutes of Health awarded $23 million to a multi-site study led by University of Rochester Medical Center Neurologist Kevin Biglan to study whether a drug currently used to treat high blood pressure can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease, the illness that is second only to Alzheimer’s in brain disease.

Researchers in our medical center, including Ankur Chandra, Associate Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, now are using 3-D printing to model aneurysms.  The use of patient-specific 3-D models represents a genuine breakthrough in disease modeling. Researchers will no longer invariably need to use animals or humans for experiments.

Data science is the University’s top priority for the 2013-18 strategic plans that were adopted by the Board of Trustees in October.  This research field has emerged as one of the defining disciplines of the 21st century.  According to IBM, every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data—so much that 90 percent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone.  The University of Rochester intends to be among the world’s leading institutions in this rapidly accelerating discipline, focusing on health threat early warning systems, reducing the cost of health care and cardiac modeling, among other specifically defined areas.  Our University has committed $100 million to expand our data science initiative.  We have to date spent approximately $50 million on this project thanks in part to New York State support for our Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation, which has helped enable more than 650 faculty, students and research staff and 100 principal investigators to use our high performance computing and generated over $300 million during the past three years. 

In the next five years, we intend to hire 20 new faculty in computational science and applied fields, including biostatistics, psychiatry, physics, and political science.  We will also continue to acquire cutting-edge technology and build a new $25 million facility to house our Institute for Data Science.  New York State named our Institute for Data Science a Center of Excellence and provided in next year’s budget $872,333 for next year, with the expectation that this will continue as annual support. 

For the University as a whole, our finances remain stable as we continue our efforts at cost containment.  The Medical Center, for example, has begun an $83 million cost containment program over the next three years.  

Our undergraduate tuition rate increase of 3.5 percent for next year is the lowest tuition increase in 13 years.

Our aggregate endowment spending rate of 5.8 percent on our five-year rolling average equals 5.1 percent of current market values, the lowest in decades, and will strengthen endowment values in the future.

Our net assets increased $248.6 million over June 2013 and, for the first time in our history, we crossed the $3 billion threshold for total net assets.

Our Long Term Investment Pool, which is largely comprised of our endowment, crossed the $2 billion threshold on February 28, 2014, the highest total that the Pool has ever achieved, and reached $2.05 billion on April 30, 2014. 

We are succeeding in gradually strengthening our finances by running a tight ship.  This is necessary in an academic world of uncertainty with respect to future health care support, pressures on tuition increases, and declines in inflation adjusted dollars for federal sponsored research. 

Next year I will focus on five major University priorities:

First, conclude senior leadership searches, including search for a new Chief Advancement Officer and a new Director of the Memorial Art Gallery.

Second, work on revised strategic plans for Eastman and Simon and on implementation of the Medical Center’s strategic plan.

Third, complete and open College Town.

Fourth, substantially complete construction of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Fifth, support implementation of the University Research Plan with emphasis on the Institute for Data Science Building and the new Science and Engineering Quad.

Our University is strong, growing, and an increasingly complex institution that is inexorably faithful to our motto . . . Meliora . . . ever better.  The University’s distinctive position among America’s great research universities is well earned.  I have the utmost confidence that the dynamic talents of our faculty, students, and staff will continue to help ensure a vibrant and healthy future for the University.

Today I want to close with a special thank you to those in the Rochester community who have made such a difference to the progress of our University.  I am deeply grateful for what you mean to us.  Or as Ella Fitzgerald sings it, better than I ever could – You are the top!!!