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Fall 2017: Welcome Back

To the University of Rochester Family:

For those of you new to the campus, welcome! For those who are returning, welcome back!  This will be an exceptional year. 

We just opened Genesee Hall, our newest 72,000-square-foot residence hall for first-year students.  Genesee Hall, the latest addition to the Brian F. Prince Athletic Complex, features four residential floors, meeting rooms for study groups and workshops, and the new Boehning Varsity House, including a locker room facility and training rooms for our athletic programs.

College Town is picking up momentum, bustling with restaurants, shops and cafés, with more to come.  You can 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, just a few minutes away via shuttle service or walk from campus, will host a Welcome Back event on August 29 from 11 to 2, with a DJ, popcorn, cotton candy, Abbott’s frozen custard, live music, freebies, and giant lawn games on the Green on Celebration Drive.

The summer months witnessed some impressive achievements at the University.

Our Medical Center has been awarded an additional $19 million from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the NIH to coordinate a network of more than 50 institutions across the country that aims to help researchers turn scientific discoveries into health benefits faster.  We are proud that the University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) was one of the first 12 institutions to be funded by the NIH’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program in 2006.  In its first 10 years, the CTSI provided pilot funding and training that helped researchers and students secure approximately $58 million in additional external funding to advance their studies.

Phase II for the new Golisano Children’s Hospital brings new surgical and patient-care capabilities to our new hospital.  In September, we will open two new floors – adding new pediatric operating rooms, a pediatric cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology laboratory, a gastroenterology procedure suite, and a new pediatric intensive care unit.

The Hajim School recently joined more than 40 other engineering schools to participate in the National Academy of Engineering program, aimed at educating a new generation of engineers to tackle Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century.  Hajim School students who successfully combine research, community engaged learning, internships and global experiences to address one of the challenges will receive a medal and will be listed at the Grand Challenge Scholars website.  This offers a new kind of experiential learning for our engineering students.

The University received a significant grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to increase undergraduates’ engagement with the humanities.  The five-year initiative, “Humanities for Life,” is designed to engage students early in their academic careers, to create opportunities for experiences outside the classroom, and to foster community engagement.  With funding beginning in September, the project will support undergraduate humanities research and mentorship by faculty, development of new humanities curricula, increased community engagement, and the establishment of a shared reading program for incoming students.

In June, the Eastman Institute for Oral Health celebrated its 100th anniversary by hosting a scientific and educational symposium and Centennial Gala.  Approximately 700 people from 25 countries heard experts and specialties spanning all dental specialties and research.  The Eastman Institute continues to be a global leader in education, research, patient care and community service.

Beginning this month, all of the University’s campuses and locations are tobacco-free.  This year we will provide members of the community with tools and resources to reduce tobacco usage, including assistance with smoking cessation.  Designated smoking areas have been installed on the River Campus, following a model that the Medical Center adopted in 2006. 

The fall will feature several exciting events.

From September 12 to 14, Rochester will host the inaugural celebration of Light and Sound Interactive (LSI), a unique conference and expo that focuses on light- and sound-based technologies and their 21st-century applications to some of the fastest growing markets in the world, including virtual and augmented reality, video games, media, film, and music.  LSI includes an interactive conference, trade show, career fair, live demos, museum tours, networking opportunities, and events for start-up companies.  Registration is currently free, and students at all levels, from high school to graduate studies, are welcome.

The 2017 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival, of which the University has been a supportive sponsor since its debut in 2012, will take place between September 14 and 23.  This 10-day multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts event features international, national, and local artists has demonstrated extraordinary growth in the number of venues, performances, and visitors, and become one of the most successful festivals of its type in the nation. 

Our 17th Meliora Weekend, an annual intellectual and cultural feast, will occur on October 12 through 15, with a keynote address by television broadcaster and co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, Robin Roberts.  Best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Peggy Noonan will speak at a Presidential Symposium, and CNN Senior Analyst Jeffrey Toobin will join Arthur Miller ‘56, ‘08 (LLD), Judge Robert Sack ‘60, John Sexton ‘05 (LLD), Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, and me to discuss legal issues shaping our world.  Chick Corea and Steve Gadd’s ‘68E musical partnership will hit the stage at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater as the opening night concert of the weekend.

In the coming weeks and months, there will be many more announcements about exciting events and developments.

We are a University committed to the human dignity of every one of our students, faculty, and staff.  We are the Rochester family.  The tragic events in Charlottesville and elsewhere amplify for us the importance of our responsibility as a university community to defend principles of tolerance, mutual respect and civil discourse.  We are a sanctuary for new ideas, we encourage innovation, and we learn from our differences of opinion.  As we embark on a new academic year, I ask each of you to help ensure that our institution is one where everyone feels welcomed, valued, and respected.

Let me extend to each of you best wishes for a successful school year.  We are going to have an outstanding year.