Fast Forward Newsletter | May 2016
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May 2016

May 2016

Celebration of Scholarships: “One Solution to Combat Inequality”

Nichole Roxas ’18M

School of Medicine and Dentistry student Nichole Roxas ’18M, a recipient of the Class of 1961 SMD Scholarship, provided a powerful message on what “privilege” means to her in her remarks at the University’s seventh annual Celebration of Scholarships.

A first-generation Filipina-American, Roxas said the thought of privilege keeps her up at night. “The privileged, sheltered life that my parents had given me was far from the poverty they had known. It fostered a deep sense of utang na loob, Tagalog for ‘debt of the heart.’”

Roxas has used the scholarship support she is benefiting from to continue to explore ways to “positively influence the structural forces that dictate who has and has not.” As a global health education major at New York University, she helped set up mobile medical clinics in Honduras, Argentina, and Uruguay. She also organized monthly volunteer opportunities because she was unsettled by how regularly there would be several homeless people on her walk to class.

“You’ve found at least one solution to combat inequality,” said Roxas, speaking directly to those in attendance who have given their support to scholarships. “These scholarships are tangible examples of positive social change. Indeed, I owe my convictions, endeavors—even the lenses by which I interpret and experience my world—to people like you.”

Additional information on this year’s event is available in a brief recap. For more information about endowed scholarships at the University of Rochester, please contact the Office of Stewardship at (585) 273-4645.

For a Broader-Thinking World

Joseph F. Cunningham ’67 (MA) received the Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal at Commencement in 2015

At a time when the humanities are being overlooked, and at some academic institutions, passed over in favor of developing STEM programs, they are receiving healthy support at the University of Rochester, most recently from Joseph F. Cunningham ’67 (MA) and Andrea Cunningham.

The Cunninghams have committed $2 million to establish the Joseph F. and Andrea H. Cunningham Endowed Fund for the Humanities to support research, lectures, and public forums within the humanities. For the Cunninghams, the ultimate goal is to provide more opportunities for students to expand the breadth of their knowledge.

Gloria Culver, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, said the gift also amplifies the value of the Ani and Mark Gabrellian Humanities Center Directorship, established in September 2015. She added it will also ensure the University attracts exceptional candidates for the inaugural Gabrellian Director.

To learn more about the Cunninghams’ commitment, take a look at the official news release.

Preserving the “Community’s Living Room”

Eastman School of Music’s historic Kilbourn Hall opened in 1922. Three stories high and decorated in the Venetian Renaissance style, the 444-seat hall is well known for its remarkable beauty, pure acoustics, and excellent sight lines.

Over the last nine decades, the hall has evolved into what many consider one of the finest chamber music halls in the world. Beginning this summer, the hall’s prestige, atmosphere, and quality will be preserved and enhanced thanks to two generous foundations.

A $400,000 commitment from the Avangrid Foundation coupled with a $300,000 contribution from the Kenneth and Myra Monfort Charitable Foundation Inc. will enable renovations to Kilbourn Hall’s seating, lights, and stage.

To read more about the foundations’ gift and the Kilbourn Hall renovation project, see the official gift announcement.

Meet the Challenger

Stephen Givant ’81

Stephen Givant ’81 is calling out the University community. His challenge is simple: participate in the University’s second annual Day of Giving on May 3.

Participation in The Stephen Givant $100,000 Challenge is as easy as making a gift of any amount. What’s the $100,000 about? Givant will match gifts of any amount up to a total $100,000. That means for the duration of the challenge, every gift is worth twice as much.

While Day of Giving donors can support any area of the University they choose, Givant has chosen to support scholarships with his matching gifts.

In addition to Givant’s generous challenge, he gives annually through the George Eastman Circle. To learn more about him, read the conversation he recently had with the University that is featured in the April issue of the George Eastman Circle Newsletter.

Partners in Meliora

With the conclusion of The Meliora Challenge on June 30 comes the conclusion of a historic chapter in University history. The inaugural Volunteers in Partnership (VIP) Conference, held April 8 to April 9, brought together 200 University volunteers from across the country to commence work on the next chapter.

What’s a volunteer?

Volunteers are University alumni, parents, and friends who exemplify and help advance Rochester’s mission through participation, philanthropy, and leadership. The VIP Conference called on this group to discuss the execution of a strategic plan (Building on Momentum: The Rochester Model 2021) that aims to build a stronger culture of ownership among the entire University community.
The two-day event on the River Campus featured interactive discussion on topics that included alumni communication and engagement, admissions, class programs for alumni, and others.

Anyone who wasn’t in attendance could follow the days’ activities through #URVIP16 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Interested in being part of future conversations in person? Learn more about becoming a volunteer. Email Lea Nordhaus at or call (585) 276.6116.

Improving the Health of Children

Joel Seligman, Hyekyun Rhee, and Kathy Rideout

Cellphones, tablets, and other portable electronic devices have a nearly ubiquitous presence in everyday life. The reality that some may see as a social plague, Hyekyun Rhee, Ph.D., R.N., PNP, sees much differently.

Over the last five years, Rhee’s research has tapped into the habitual use of technology to improve asthma outcomes for adolescents and their families. In 2014, her National Institutes of Health-funded project resulted in a patent for an automated device for asthma monitoring (ADAM). Cutting-edge and non-invasive, ADAM allows teens to continuously monitor their symptoms, and it is just one of the recent projects Rhee has led to help teens track and manage their asthma symptoms.

The University recognized Rhee’s commitment to her work by making her the second holder of the Endowed Chair for Nursing Science.

“Asthma is the most common chronic condition among children and adolescents today,” said Joel Seligman, president, CEO, and G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor. “Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, we are able to honor Hyekyun, who has spent more than a decade working to develop unique interventions.”

The Endowed Chair for Nursing Science was established to support an outstanding research faculty member who would contribute to improving the health and well-being of children and youth. A shining example of Rhee’s worthiness for this honor is her current research, Peer-led Asthma Self-Management (PLASMA). PLASMA, which received a five-year, $2.9 million grant from the NIH, is a multi-city project that aims to help educate and support inner-city youth with asthma.

“I am thrilled that we are recognizing Dr. Rhee,” said Kathy H. Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, vice president of the University of Rochester Medical Center and dean and professor of clinical nursing at the School of Nursing. “Asthma affects millions of children and teens across the country. Dr. Rhee has demonstrated an undeniable passion for making a difference in this area and has been rewarded with consistent NIH funding. She is truly deserving of this recognition.”