Tools Search Main Menu

Fall 2016: Welcome Back

August 28, 2016

To the University of Rochester Family:

For those of you new to the campus, welcome! For those who are returning, welcome back!  We have been busy this summer and can look forward to an exceptional year ahead.  We have much to celebrate.

We did it.  The Meliora Challenge capital campaign concluded on June 30, and we raised more than $1.373 billion, more than 14 percent above our initial $1.2 billion goal.  The campaign has resulted in adding 103 endowed professorships, deanships, and directorships, and providing more than $225 million in student support. It’s now time to build on our momentum to take our University to the Next Level.

Just now the River Campus is completing a number of significant construction projects. 

Wegmans Hall and the new Hajim Science and Engineering Quadrangle will soon be completed.  Our programs in data science will be enhanced by the new home for the Goergen Institute for Data Science in Wegmans Hall, which we anticipate will be open for business in early 2017.  The Hajim Quadrangle will be completed in the beginning of October and dedicated during Meliora Weekend, on October 7.

The Frederick Douglass Building is undergoing a total transformation.  Student dining in Douglass already has begun.  The building will feature a new dedicated student gathering space, a new dining facility, the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center and a new Language Center early in the academic year.  The new bridge linking Douglass and the library will be completed by the end of September. 

A renovation and expansion of the press box in Fauver Stadium will open soon, and a refurbishment of the concourse will be complete by October 1.

Construction also began this summer on a new 72,000-square-foot residence hall, due to open in fall of 2017.  Overlooking the University’s Brian F. Prince Athletic Complex, the finished building will feature four residential floors to house approximately 150 new beds, meeting rooms for study groups and workshops, a new locker room facility, and training rooms for our athletic programs.

Evans Lam Square has transformed the look of the Friedlander Lobby in Rush Rhees Library, and will be dedicated on October 5.  Much like a town square, it will be a destination place to obtain information, start research, participate in programming, and learn about library resources, new technologies, and services. 

Also in Rush Rhees Library, we will soon complete a beautiful new 8,500-square-foot Humanities Center space, which will feature lounge and conference space, offices, and a seminar room.  The new Humanities Center will be a focal point across disciplines for teaching and scholarship that stretches the reach of the humanities at our University and beyond.  On March 3, David Skorton, the leader of the Smithsonian Institution, will present a Humanities Center lecture on the topic of shaping the future at the Smithsonian. 

To accommodate all this construction, some temporary pathways exist to navigate foot traffic around our construction sites.  While construction in the area west of the new Wegmans Hall is now complete, the temporary pathways will remain to the east of that site until October 1.  I appreciate your patience and am confident that we will all soon be happy with the results.

The Eastman community will be greeted with a complete refurbishment of the famed Kilburn Hall, with a grand reopening scheduled for August 31.  Dining facilities in Eastman also have been revamped.

College Town is beginning to pick up momentum.  The new Barnes & Noble Café is now open.  Several other businesses have opened since last semester ended, such as Saha Mediterranean Grill, Rochester Running Company, and College Town Dry Cleaners.  In November, the new and expanded CVS Pharmacy will open at the corner of Mt. Hope Avenue and Crittenden Boulevard.  Subscribe to the College Town Newsletter to stay informed on great events and opportunities to enjoy our larger campus community by texting COLLEGETOWN to 44222.  College Town is just a few minutes away via shuttle service or walk from campus.

The summer months witnessed some significant achievements at the University.

The Medical Center received a $19 million Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Institutes of Health to continue programs that remove hurdles in the process of applying medical research to patient treatment and population health.  The award supporting “bench to bedside” research is the Medical Center’s third consecutive translational science award, bringing total funding from these grants to almost $86 million.  The University was one of the first 12 institutions in the nation to receive a CTSA in 2006.

On July 1, Eastman and Gateways Music Festival formalized a nearly 20-year relationship and the festival is now known as “Gateways Music Festival in association with Eastman School of Music.”  Gateways is a six-day series of more than 30 concerts and recitals here in Rochester that celebrates the participation and achievements of professional classical musicians of African descent.  Last August, approximately 125 musicians, many of whom are players in the nation’s major symphony orchestras or faculty members at top music schools, participated in the festival.  Lee Koonce ’93E, who has led the festival for many years, has been appointed its first president and artistic director. 

Beginning in July 2017, all of the University’s campuses and locations will become tobacco-free.  A new University policy will reflect this change, recognizing that becoming a wholly tobacco-free campus is in keeping with being an academic and medical institution that promotes health and wellness, and being a workplace that is welcoming and comfortable to everyone.  This year we will provide members of the community with tools and resources to reduce tobacco usage, including assistance with smoking cessation.  Smoking huts will be installed on the River Campus, following a model that the Medical Center adopted in 2006. 

The coming year will feature several exciting events.

Meliora Weekend, taking place October 6 through 9, promises to be our grandest celebration ever of Rochester’s excellence.  This year’s keynote guests include Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Ken Burns, Tony Bennett, Ben Folds, and Trevor Noah.

On November 12, Eastman alumna Renée Fleming will perform the world premiere of a new composition by Eastman alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Kevin Puts.  She will perform with the Eastman Philharmonia in Kodak Hall.  She and the Eastman Philharmonia will offer a repeat performance in Lincoln Center in New York City on November 14.

On December 6, Yo-Yo Ma will perform a cello concert at Kodak Hall with conductor Ward Stare and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring the music of Glinka, Schubert, and Dvorak.

I offer each of you best wishes for a successful school year, and I hope you will enjoy being part of a University that is committed to ever better support for its students, faculty, and staff.