Fast Forward: The University of Rochester Advancement E-Newsletter

June 25, 2010

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Values and Action

Jim Thompson

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”
— Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher believed to have written the Tao Te Ching

Gaining self knowledge is one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of human experience. To know ourselves, we must pursue our noblest goals with an unwavering commitment to excellence and hard work. We must push the limits of our understanding and abilities. We must take untested paths that do not guarantee success. Through this process, we discover strengths and talents we did not know we possessed. Our lives become more fulfilling and purposeful, and the lives of others are enriched as the result of the difficult journey we made.

The power of challenging ourselves in making greater societies often seems to have been forgotten. Yet in a few rare places it is still a thriving practice that produces tremendous results for the world. I spend much of my time traveling across the country meeting with enthusiastic alumni and friends of the University. They consistently talk about how their Rochester experience shaped their lives. I am continually impressed by how much the quest for challenging and improving ourselves remains at the core of the Rochester experience.

Alumni speak with intense pride of their education here. They talk about rigor, hard work, analytical problem solving, innovative thinking, and developing a versatile intellectual toolkit that helps them and those they serve in diverse circumstances. Commitment to excellence and striving to work at a level where their full potential is maximized becomes engrained in their characters. I believe these elements help define the concept of Meliora or “ever better.” Furthermore, I believe Meliora is far more than a school motto. It is an ethos, and as Bob Goergen, University Board chair emeritus says, it “is a life choice.”

In an era where so many take the easy and less challenging course, Meliora is our “shining city upon a hill.” It distinguishes us among institutions of higher education. Choosing this path creates a bond that unites our entire community and serves as an example for all to see.

An alumnus of our College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering told me about his experience entering graduate school at another institution. Many of his new classmates had attended Ivy League schools. The Rochester graduate was anxious about his ability to compete. He soon discovered he was better prepared than his classmates. His knowledge was deeper and fuller, and he was much better trained as an analytical problem solver. I hear similar stories from Rochesterians across the generations and all fields of study.

I believe that sharing these stories is a vital part of defining who we are. They provide a compelling way to talk about ourselves to others. Hearing these stories makes me feel an enormous sense of privilege. I am honored to serve this extraordinary University and its amazingly talented, dedicated, and energetic alumni, faculty, staff, and supporters. Working together, we are building an even stronger and an ever better institution.


James D. Thompson

Senior Vice President

Chief Advancement Officer

Make a Gift by June 30P.S.: Let me also take this opportunity to remind you to make a gift or pay a pledge before June 30, the end of the University’s fiscal year. Thanks to your collective generosity, we will continue to improve the lives of countless people in our community and around the world..



George Eastman Circle Dinner at The Plaza

The George Eastman Circle’s New York City 2010 dinner celebrated the ongoing success of the University of Rochester’s premier annual giving society on March 11 at The Plaza. Legendary broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw was the featured speaker. 

Guests heard remarks from Edmund A. Hajim ’58, Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees, and Joel Seligman, President of the University of Rochester. National Co-Chairs Laurence H. Bloch ’75 and Thomas R. Sloan ’65, ’67 (Mas) provided updates on George Eastman Circle activities. Gwen Greene ’65, Chair of Annual Giving Programs, spoke about the importance of recruiting new Sustaining Members. She introduced current student Nicholas Wiggins ’11, ’11E who talked about the student experience today. He attended The Plaza dinner with the YellowJackets, a student vocal group that performed a moving rendition of “The Genesee.”

George Eastman Circle Vice Chairs were praised for their hard work and dedication: Robert H. Hurlbut, Sr.; R. Wayne LeChase; Nathan F. Moser ’75; Peter D. Standish ’64; Janice M. Willett ’78S (MBA); and Nathaniel Wisch, M.D. ’55.

Plaza dinner

Click the photo above to view a photo gallery of the George Eastman Circle dinner.

First University-Wide Endowed Scholarship Dinner

Evarts photo

“I’ve been aware of the importance of scholarships since the beginning of my career. I could not have attended a private school as an undergraduate nor medical school at the University of Rochester without scholarship support. When you give money, you hope to see results. The return on an investment in endowed scholarships is very great. For instance, if you support our talented students who go on to have successful careers in medicine, what else can match it?”

--C. McCollister Evarts ’57M(MD), ’64M (Res)
Distinguished University Professor, University of Rochester

“I never wanted future salary considerations to have an impact on my medical school studies. Fortunately, because of Dr. Evarts, they have not. My decision to go into pediatrics is based purely on my passion for caring for sick children, and I am forever grateful. I know I speak for other scholarship recipients when I say that thanks to the generosity of donors, many of us will graduate without having to face a huge debt burden.”

--Emily Berkman ’11M (MD)

The inaugural University-wide Endowed Scholarship Dinner was held on April 8 in Sarah Flaum Atrium at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The event brought generous scholarship supporters together with their exceptional student recipients.

Speakers included President Joel Seligman, Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58, and Trustee Gwen Greene ’65. Emily Berkman ’11M (MD), recipient of the C. McCollister Evarts Scholarship, and André Washington ’10E, recipient of the Mildred Carruth Duengfelder Scholarship, talked about their experiences at the University and the life-changing impact of scholarships. Washington, who has been named a Fulbright Scholar, performed two pieces for flute during the program. He will study in France after graduation.

Donors who endow a scholarship provide funds in perpetuity, a legacy that produces new generations of leaders. These scholarships dramatically enhance the University’s ability to attract and retain the most gifted students, regardless of background.

Click here to view the entire article.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Endowed Scholarship dinner.

Mark B. Taubman, M.D. Becomes 10th Dean of the Medical School

Taubman investiture

Mark B. Taubman, M.D., was formally invested as the Dean of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry at a ceremony on May 5, in the School’s Class of ’62 Auditorium. President Joel Seligman recognized Dr. Taubman’s significant contributions to medicine as well as his leadership abilities. Citing Dr. Taubman’s stature as a strong academic leader with an institution-wide perspective, University of Rochester Medical Center CEO Bradford C. Berk, ’79M (MD), ’81M (PhD) also described how Dr. Taubman has helped bolster Rochester’s research standing and strengthened patient services since joining the University in 2003.

Click here to read the entire article.

Martin E. Messinger ’49 Enhances the Graduate Student Experience

Messinger dedication

Members from across the University of Rochester community gathered in Rush Rhees Library on May 12 for the formal dedication of the Messinger Graduate Study Rooms, named in recognition of Martin E. Messinger '49. Attending with 16 family members, longtime University leader Martin Messinger was honored for his generous support of the space renovation and his unwavering dedication to his alma mater.

A managing partner with Neuberger Berman, LLC, in New York City, Messinger grew up in Irondequoit, just outside Rochester. He has been a member of our Board of Trustees since 1990. In 1998, he joined the Eastman School of Music’s Board of Managers; in 2008, he was named to the Eastman School’s National Council. Recipients of his philanthropy at the University include among many, the Eastman School, Debate Team, Judaic Studies Program, and Rush Rhees Library. His support for the renovated Graduate Study Rooms completes his vision for the Martin E. Messinger Periodical Reading Room, an academic and architectural jewel for which he also funded reconstruction in 1998, and which now bears his name.

Thanks to the generosity of Martin and Joan Messinger, graduate students now have a dedicated space to park their books, plug in their laptops, and immerse themselves in the library’s extensive resources. According to Librarian Suzanne Bell, prior to the opening of the Messinger Graduate Study Rooms, Rush Rhees Library could provide only three study carrels for graduate students. With a waiting list that averaged about 70 names, students usually graduated before being considered for a carrel. Kristina Wilson ’08 (MS), a doctoral candidate in chemistry, thanked the Messingers for their gift and described the joy of study and contemplation the library rooms have made possible for her.

At the dedication, Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58, President Joel Seligman, and Susan Gibbons, vice provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries, expressed their appreciation to Messinger on behalf of the institution. The Messingers were presented with a photo of the original Periodical Reading Room and a section of the early architectural plans for the library’s second floor, home of both the periodical and graduate study rooms. The mementos were selected by the Rare Books and Special Collections staff to serve as a lasting reminder of a historic day.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Messinger Graduate Study Rooms dedication.

New Regional Cabinets Launched

Boston regional cabinet

Regional Cabinets continue to form across the nation, strengthening the extended University of Rochester community and creating new opportunities for involvement. The Boston Regional Cabinet (pictured above) held its first operational meeting on April 8. Members present included (left to right): Jeff Teschke ’93; Dr. Frank LoGerfo ’66M (MD); Adam Paré, University Advancement; Trustee Mark Ain ’67S (MBA); Cindy Crofts-Wisch P’09; Tom Schmidt ’91, ’98S (MBA); Dr. Stephen Fantone ’79 (PhD); Dr. Theophano Mitsa ’91 (PhD); Shannon O’Mara ’93; Stephen Mortimer ’94, ’97S (MBA); Trustee and Cabinet Chair Cathy E. Minehan ’68; Dr. Drew Mittelman ’68, P’05; Dr. Paul F. Griner ’59M (MD); Jim Thompson, Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer; Dr. Jeffrey Wisch ’74, P’09. Members not present: Dr. Craig E. Schneier P’11 and Dr. Joseph B. Martin ’71 (PhD), ’96 (ScD).

Chicago regional cabinet

The Chicago Regional Cabinet (pictured above) convened for their inaugural operational meeting on May 24. Present were (left to right): Jim Thompson, Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer; Frank Interlichia, Associate Vice President for Advancement; Cabinet members Stephen Down ’88, ’95S (MBA); John Levi ’69; Mary Go ’91; Suzanne Sawada ’73; Marshall Abbey ’54; Trustee Gail Lione ’71; Elizabeth Gunn Sonnenschein ’61, ’62N; Trustee and Cabinet Chair Hugo Sonnenschein ’61; Ed Biemer P’11; and Christopher Noon P’07; and Brian Hendrick, University Advancement. Members not present: Dr. Phillip Greenland ’74M (MD), ’78M (Res); David Anderson ’74, ’77S (MBA), P’09; and Sharon Hauselt ’74, P’09.

California Regional Cabinets Gain Momentum

SF regional cabinet dinner

Continuing their role as pioneers in the Regional Cabinet movement, the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles Regional Cabinets were the first Regional Cabinets to hold annual dinner meetings.

The San Francisco Bay Area Regional Cabinet held its first annual dinner on April 22 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The Los Angeles Regional Cabinet’s inaugural annual dinner took place on April 24 at the Peninsula Beverly Hills. President Joel Seligman spoke at both dinners, extending his gratitude for the Cabinet members’ involvement and talking about the importance of networks of engaged alumni and friends. George Eastman Circle members were among the special guests that included alumni, parents, and friends of the University. Regional Cabinets are part of a continuing effort to enhance the Rochester community at a local level throughout the country.

Click here for a photo gallery of the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Cabinet

Click here for a photo gallery of the Los Angeles Regional Cabinet

New Faculty Entrepreneurship Post Supports Innovation at the Simon School

Doyle Professorship

The Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester has established its first endowed professorship in entrepreneurship that will be awarded to a tenured faculty member. The new position, honoring retired Simon Professor James N. Doyle, was announced on April 7 at a special reception held in Schlegel Hall’s Eisenberg Rotunda.

The James N. Doyle Professorship in Entrepreneurship is funded by a $1.5 million gift from James N. Doyle Jr., executive director of ProVenture Ltd., to honor his father’s commitment to entrepreneurship education at the Simon School. Professor Doyle taught at Simon for 15 years, retiring in 2008. Among many notable contributions, Doyle oversaw the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Internship Program, which matched second-year M.B.A. students with local start-up or entrepreneurial companies.

“My father, along with many others, has worked hard to build a significant entrepreneurship program at the Simon Graduate School of Business,” said James N. Doyle Jr. “My gift is intended to help build upon their efforts in the years to come.” Simon School Dean Mark Zupan said: “Jim Doyle helped build the entrepreneurship concentration into one of our most popular areas of study. Many alumni who were mentored and taught by Jim have gone on to start successful businesses. This professorship honors his commitment to entrepreneurial education and will allow us to dedicate a full professor to the teaching of this ever-important discipline.”

Click here to view the entire article.

Discovery Ball 2010 Supports Excellence at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center

Discovery Ball

More than 700 guests attended the 11th annual Discovery Ball held on May 1 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Hosted by the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center Board, this year’s event raised $730,000 and was chaired by Jim and Donna Hammer, longtime Cancer Center supporters.

The elegant, black-tie evening began with cocktails followed by a four-course meal and dancing. Guests were thanked for their generosity and provided with updates on the progress and vision for cancer research and care at the Wilmot Cancer Center. Featured speakers included Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center; Richard I. Fisher, M.D., director of the Wilmot Cancer Center; and Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester.

The highlight of the evening was the deeply moving remarks of 2010 Inspiration Award recipient Lou Iovoli of Victor, N.Y. A dedicated triathlete, Iovoli was diagnosed with oral cancer on his 42nd birthday in 2007. Throughout his treatment by a multi-disciplinary Wilmot team, Iovoli maintained a positive attitude, continuing to exercise with the goal of returning to competition. Two years after his diagnosis, he finished the Ford Ironman Competition in the top 50 percent. Accompanied by an exceptionally moving video documenting his story, Iovoli inspired the audience to continue their financial support for the Wilmot Cancer Center and raised nearly $150,000 from guests that evening.

Click here to view the Inspiration Award video.

Click here for a photo gallery of the 2010 Discovery Ball.

Click here to read more about the 2010 Discovery Ball.

43rd Annual Garden Party Celebrates Student Achievements

Garden Party

The University of Rochester’s 43rd Annual Garden Party was held on Tuesday, May 18 at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. A special feature of this year’s event was the opportunity for guests to take docent-led tours of the Gallery’s current show: Albert Paley in the 21st Century.

Click here for the President's Garden Party address, Celebrating Our Students.

A Better-Than-Ever Meliora Weekend – October 14-17, 2010

Sanjay GuptaSave the date now and join us in Rochester for Meliora Weekend 2010. More than 200 events are planned for alumni, students, parents, and friends. Among the highlights are:

Keynote Speaker: Media and Medicine with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, M.D. A senior correspondent for health and medicine at CNN and a practicing neurosurgeon, Dr. Gupta will also serve as a panelist for a discussion on healthcare reform as part of the Presidential Symposium on Great Issues of the 21st Century.

Jim GaffiganComedian Jim Gaffigan. One of the top touring comedians, Jim Gaffigan is also responsible for some of the funniest moments on recent television and film. He is a star of “My Boys” and two Comedy Central specials, “Late Show with David Letterman,” and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” among many others.

Special George Eastman Circle Events. Special activities are once again being planned including an evening with humorist, author, and NPR commentator David Sedaris. George Eastman Circle members will receive more information and invitations throughout the summer.

David Sedaris

photo courtesy of Anne Fishbein




The Power of Compassionate Care
In May 2009, Dr. Bradford Berk, CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center, suffered a severe spinal cord injury. During his months of rehabilitation and treatment, Dr. Berk, now a patient, gained new insight into the importance of caregiving, from the simplest gestures — a touch or a smile — to the important relationships that medical staff established with him and his family. Join Dr. Berk and his wife, Mary, as they discuss the accident, his recovery, and how their experiences will shape the future of patient care in Rochester. To read more about Dr. Berk’s story, click here.

Foreign Language: Giving Avatar Its Voice
Paul Frommer ’65 is the creator of the Na’vi language, spoken by the inhabitants of Pandora, the otherworldly moon in the blockbuster hit movie Avatar. Frommer, professor emeritus of clinical management communication at USC’s Marshall School of Business, shares the story behind his involvement with James Cameron’s film, how he created the language, and his experiences on the Avatar set. Hear how the language he developed has grown into a worldwide phenomenon since Avatar’s release.

Reunion Weekend 2010. Reconnect with friends, explore ideas through class programs, and expand your network in the University community. Exciting programs and activities are taking shape now for these school reunions: Arts, Sciences and Engineering; School of Medicine and Dentistry; School of Nursing; Eastman School of Music (during Eastman Weekend); and the Simon School. Updates are being added to the schedule continuously. To learn more now, click here.

Now more than ever, your generosity and commitment are helping to improve the lives of the many people that the University serves. Please make a gift or pay your pledge before the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30 so we can finish the year strong.

Make a Gift by June 30

Fast Forward Archive

March 11, 2010
December 31, 2009
June 10, 2009
February 17, 2009