This year’s September 29 – October 2 weekend will offer thought-provoking lectures, reunion celebrations, and festive events and performances for the entire University of Rochester community.
The annual tradition of Meliora Weekend returns Thursday, September 29 – Sunday, October 2 with expert voices, live entertainment, milestone reunions, and many opportunities to celebrate shared connections with the University, including the popular Meliora Village offering local food and beverages, fun and games for the whole family, carnival rides, live music, and more.
Keynote speakers include Nobel laureate and former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu ’70, ’98M (HNR); journalist Michele L. Norris, former host of National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and founder of The Race Card Project; and Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning author, playwright, and screenwriter. Canadian Indie pop band Walk Off the Earth will perform the weekend’s headline concert outdoors on Goergen Field.
On Friday evening, Eastman School of Music will celebrate its centennial year with a prism concert themed “Fascinating Rhythm,” which will feature musical groups performing in succession from different locations around Eastman Theatre’s Kodak Hall. Throughout the concert, audiences will enjoy a variety of musical styles and genres, including a performance of the Gershwin classic.
“We are making plans for the kind of Meliora Weekend experience our alumni, students, parents, and friends have come to expect from the University,” says Tom Farrell ’88, ’90W (MS), senior vice president for University Advancement. “We know that many have been waiting to mark milestone reunions, to visit their student on campus, and to just come back together again to celebrate that sense of connection with the University and each other. It is going to be a truly memorable weekend.”
Meliora Weekend registration opens later this summer. For more information, visit www.rochester.edu/melioraweekend, email email@example.com, or call 877.MELIORA (877.635.4672). Check the website often for additions to the schedule and more details around Eastman’s centennial events. All events will be subject to campus safety guidelines.
Steven Chu received a Nobel Prize in physics for the laser cooling and trapping of atoms. Other contributions include atom interferometry, the optical tweezing of individual biomolecules and other widely used single molecule methods. He served as U.S. Secretary of Energy and director of the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Today, Chu is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Physics, of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, and of Energy Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He continues to invent new methods in molecular biology, medical imaging, batteries, and other clean energy technologies.
Chu earned his bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics from the University of Rochester in 1970 and his doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1976. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, eight foreign academies, and the recipient of 33 honorary degrees including one from Rochester in 1998. He also served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees from 1999-2009.
Michele L. Norris is a journalist who has worked as an opinion columnist with The Washington Post. In 2002, she became the first African American female co-host of National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) news magazine, All Things Considered. She later served as a special NPR correspondent covering race and identity in America. She is also the author of The Grace of Silence, a book that examines the lasting impact of hidden narratives around race.
In 2010, Norris started The Race Card Project where she asked people around the world to share their experiences, questions, hopes, dreams, laments, and observations about identity—in just six words—as the starting point for conversations about race. Since then, the Peabody Award-winning Race Card Project has archived more than 500,000 stories that have been used around the world to foster dialogue and deep examination of racial dynamics.
Tony Kushner is an American author, playwright, and screenwriter. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play in 1993 for his play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. He also wrote the screenplay for the 2003 miniseries, produced by HBO and directed by Mike Nichols. His other plays include A Bright Room Called Day, Slavs!, Hydriotaphia, and Homebody/Kabul, as well as the musical Caroline, or Change. Among his many achievements, Kushner wrote the film screenplays for Steven Spielberg’s Munich, West Side Story, and Lincoln, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
Kushner is also the recipient of an Emmy Award, two Obie Awards, an Olivier Award, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a Cultural Achievement Award from The National Foundation for Jewish Culture, the 2012 National Medal of Arts, the 2015 Lifetime Achievement in the American Theater Award, and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award. He is the subject of a documentary, Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner, by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock.
Walk Off the Earth is a Juno Award-winning, multi-platinum indie pop band based just outside Toronto, Canada. In the past two years, they’ve headlined the famed Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado and the Wembley Arena in London, and they landed a top 10 single for 30 straight weeks at Hot AC Radio. Their collaborations have ranged from songs with Snoop Dogg and Sara Silverman to Keith Urban and Steve Aoki. Their original songs have sold millions of copies and have collected billions of YouTube views. Since the band hit the international stage in 2012, they’ve continued to push the boundaries of what artists can and can’t do. Their YouTube covers have won them Streamy awards, their renditions of the national anthem have been performed at the NBA finals, they’ve played on Ellen and Good Morning America multiple times, and their songs have continued to top the charts.