Fast Forward: The University of Rochester Advancement E-Newsletter

January 27, 2011

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Values and Action

Jim Thompson

Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given."
- Anton Chekhov

Research universities like the University of Rochester are among the most enduring and unique institutions in the world. With the exemplary leadership of our president, trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends in the community, we have made great strides in raising the awareness of Rochester as a special place.

I'd like to share some recent news that recognizes the impact of the tremendous work of scholars at the University. A recent report by Thomson Reuters shows that discoveries and insights by our faculty and researchers disproportionately shape the thinking of the worldwide community of scientists. The report uses a measure it calls "relative citation impact" which takes into account the number of citations, the prominence of the journals in which the citations appear, and field in which an individual institution specializes. This analysis is intended to measure the quality of an institution's scientific output, regardless of the quantity of published research. In the report, the University of Rochester ranked 17th in the nation in relative citation impact and its score has increased over the last 30 years even as average U.S. university performance essentially remained flat.

Provost Ralph Kuncl, our chief academic officer, explains the significance of the report: "The mission of research universities is to push the boundaries of science and contribute to our collective understanding. By this measure, our scientists are at the forefront of efforts to address some of the most complex scientific problems facing our society."

I am proud to be part of a University that is playing such a significant role in advancing knowledge on this scale. It is the work of all those involved in Advancement to help provide the critical network of supporters so our faculty and researchers can continue this trajectory of performance and influence. Working together, I am confident that we can do this, and I look forward to sharing more great news in the future about the world-wide impact of our University.

The full Thomson Reuters study, titled "Global Research Report: United States", is available at:


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer



Simon Graduate School of Business Receives Major Gifts to Support Strategic Initiatives

Simon donors

Five long-time friends of the University have made significant gift commitments to the Simon School. The leadership gifts, totaling $3.9 million, will advance strategic initiatives in faculty recruitment, curricular enhancement, and scholarship support.

Alan S. Zekelman ’87S (MS), and his wife, Lori, have pledged $1.5 million to establish an endowed finance professorship. The Lori and Alan S. Zekelman Professorship of Business Administration will enable the School to recruit a leading scholar to join its globally renowned faculty of finance experts. Zekelman is a board member of the John Maneely Company, which owns Atlas Tube Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based manufacturer of steel tubing used in a variety of applications. “Lori and I are both excited and committed to making sure that Simon remains at the forefront of research and pedagogy in finance for years to come.”

Robert J. Keegan ’72S (MBA) has made a $1 million commitment to support strategic initiatives at the Simon School. Keegan, chairman of the board for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, is a member of the University of Rochester Board of Trustees and the Simon School Executive Advisory Committee. “My family and I are very pleased to be making this gift to the University of Rochester with a focus on the Simon Graduate School of Business,” Keegan says. “The University has a rich academic and research history and strong momentum for the future. We trust that our gift will enable President Joel Seligman and his leadership team to accelerate this momentum.”

Charles W. Miersch ’70S (MBA) is pledging $900,000 to the Simon School Annual Fund to support strategic initiatives and scholarships for deserving students. Miersch retired in 2004 after 30 years of service to the University and the Simon School, most recently as senior associate dean for corporate relations and institutional advancement at Simon. He is an active alumnus and member of the School’s Executive Advisory Committee. “My 30-plus years at the University/Simon provided a level of satisfaction and a set of colleagues that, for me, could not be equaled anywhere else,” Miersch explains. “I am grateful and happy to be in a position to provide some support to make Simon an even stronger business school going forward.”

Dennis Kessler, the Edward J. and Agnes V. Ackley Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship and his brother, Laurence, have committed $500,000 to enhance entrepreneurship education at the Simon School. Dennis is a member of the board of trustees at the University of Rochester Medical Center; Laurence is a member of the University Board of Trustees. “We believe in the value of education at all levels and supporting the Simon School Entrepreneurship program will directly benefit not only the Simon School but our entire community with job creation and innovation,” Laurence Kessler says.

Click here for more information on the Simon School.

Renée Fleming ’83E to Perform with the Eastman Philharmonia In a Concert to Benefit the Eastman School of Music

Fleming invitation

Renée Fleming ’83E, the world's most sought-after and beloved soprano, will return to her hometown and alma mater to perform with the Eastman Philharmonia under the direction of Neil Varon in a benefit concert for the Renée Fleming Endowed Scholarship Fund at the Eastman School of Music. The Fund will support students in the voice and opera program at Eastman.

"We're ecstatic about Ms. Fleming's return and performance at Eastman," said Douglas Lowry, dean of the Eastman School of Music. "Given her extraordinary stature as an artist, we consider it fitting to call this the signature event celebrating the new Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre."
The concert will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday, February 20, in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Ms. Fleming will also receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Music from the University.

The event is sponsored by the University's Eastman School of Music, with generous support provided by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust; JP Morgan Chase; HSBC Bank USA, N.A.; the Eastman Theatre Book Group; Catherine B. Carlson; and First Niagara Financial Group.

Exclusive tickets that include attendance at a special post-concert reception with Ms. Fleming begin at $500. For information about these benefits and special sponsorship opportunities please call University Advancement at (585) 275-7498.

Read more about Renée Fleming’s Benefit Performance.

The IRA Charitable Rollover Is Back

Meliora seal

Congress recently renewed the popular, tax-free IRA Charitable Rollover that allows taxpayers age 70 ½ and older to make direct, tax-free transfers to charity from a qualified individual retirement account. The law allows donors to make charitable gifts through December 31, 2011.  

1.   Donors must be at least age 70 ½ and transfer funds directly from an IRA to the University.

2.   Gifts are limited to $100,000 per taxable year (a married couple with separate IRAs could give up to $200,000 per year).

3.   A gift “counts” toward your IRA required minimum distribution and may reduce your taxable income.

4.   The transfer is tax-free and is not included in your adjusted gross income, thus there is no charitable income tax deduction allowed.

5.   Gifts must be outright. Transfers to donor advised funds, supporting organizations, charitable remainder trusts, and charitable gift annuities do not qualify.
Time sensitive note: A special feature of the law allows donors to make charitable transfers by Monday, January 31, 2011 and treat them as if made during 2010.

Holders of other types of retirement plans may consider rolling funds into a qualifying IRA to take advantage of the opportunity. You should consult your tax advisor about the applicability to your own situation.

For more information on this or any other planned giving options, please contact Jack Kreckel at (800) Meliora (635-4672) or (585) 275-7547 or
More information is available at

George Eastman Circle Tops 1,600 Members!

GEC book

As 2010 drew to a close, membership in the University’s leadership Annual Giving society surpassed 1,600—on track to reach our goal of 2,000 memberships by next year.

Reminder: The Annual George Eastman Circle Dinner in New York City takes place on Thursday, February 10 at The Pierre. New York Times columnist and NPR Commentator David Brooks will be the keynote speaker. If you are a George Eastman Circle member and would like to attend this event, please contact the Office of Donor Relations at (800) 281-2055.

David Sedaris
David Brooks

Since its inception in January 2007, members of the George Eastman Circle have committed over $27.5 million in unrestricted funds for the schools and units throughout the University. These current-use funds give University leaders the flexibility to respond quickly to new opportunities and unexpected needs.

The 2010 George Eastman Circle Honor Roll will shortly be mailed to all our members. In addition to acknowledging the vision and commitment of our donors and volunteers, the Honor Roll highlights the direct impact that your contributions make to the University. Your collective leadership helps continue the momentum that enables the University to move forward and upward to the future. Help us reach our goal of 2,000 memberships by inviting members of your class or friends in your community to join.

For more information about the George Eastman Circle, please contact:
Justin Croteau
Director, George Eastman Circle
(585) 276-3597 or

Fast Forward Archive

December 31, 2010
December 2, 2010
November 8, 2010
September 29, 2010

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