University of Rochester

Meliora Weekend Brings Headliners, Compelling Issues to Audiences

October 9, 2008

Linking Meliora and Eastman Weekends Spreads the Wealth of Programs

Political satirist Stephen Colbert and journalist Anderson Cooper will deliver the star power for the University of Rochester's classic reunion and family weekend on Oct. 16 to 19.

This eighth Meliora Weekend will dazzle even more with a companion celebration at the Eastman School of Music, where jazz legend Dave Brubeck and Broadway and film composer Charles Strouse will speak and be honored. (For details on Eastman Weekend registration, go to and for news, including events of the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative Festival, go to

More than 7,000 alumni, parents, students, faculty, and friends of the University are expected on the River Campus and at the Eastman School's campus downtown. Some events are sold out, but online registration for other events is available until noon Oct. 14 at

Outstanding programs that are the hallmark of Meliora Weekend will offer topics that are expansive and challenging.

On Saturday, Oct. 18, panelists Anne Case, the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University; author, physician, and former U.S. Senator Bill Frist; and Nobel Prize-winner in economics Douglass C. North of Washington University in St. Louis will address the Presidential Symposium topic: Can Individuals Make a Difference in the Developing World?

Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester, began the Presidential Symposium series in 2005 to focus on the most important issues of the 21st century. This year's distinguished panel will consider such questions as what is the role of citizens in wealthier countries in the advancement of the developing world, and which problems of development must a nation solve for itself. Alumnus and University Trustee Hugo Sonnenschein, president emeritus and Adam Smith Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, will moderate.

A special engineering symposium to celebrate the founding of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences will focus on the future of innovation on Friday, Oct. 17. Engineering Dean Robert L. Clark will introduce addresses by three alumni: Daniel N. Koharski, a NASA systems engineer who has worked on the Mars Rover and the Space Shuttle; Stephen Fantone, president and CEO of Optikos Corp.; and Duncan T. Moore, the Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor of Optical Engineering and vice provost for entrepreneurship at the University.

Friday afternoon also will present the 2008 Stanton/Anthony Conversations with this year's theme of Women in Business: Challenges to Leadership. The Conversations are co-sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership and the Center for Entrepreneurship. The guest speakers are Ilene Lang, president of Catalyst, a leading research and advisory organization working to expand opportunities for women at work; alumna Karen Smith Bogart, an entrepreneur and former Eastman Kodak senior vice president; and Hannah Riley Bowles, a Harvard University professor who researches gender in negotiation and leadership.

One of the highlights of Friday evening will be a conversation with Strouse, an Eastman alumnus who has written the scores for four films and more than 30 stage musicals, including Bye Bye Birdie, Annie, and Applause. The Tony Award-winner will discuss his Broadway career with Douglas Lowry, dean of the Eastman School, in an informal setting.

Saturday's schedule includes both Cooper, the Emmy Award-winning reporter who hosts CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, and Colbert, the actor and writer who hosts Emmy Award-winning Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. Tickets for their presentations are sold out.

On the Eastman School campus, parts of Saturday afternoon and evening will be devoted to the words and sounds of Brubeck, who has been designated a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress for his musical contributions. At 1 p.m., he will talk about his music and career with Harold Danko, professor and chair of the Eastman School Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media Department, at a program in the Eastman Theatre that is free and open to the public.

At 8 p.m., Brubeck will receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Rochester at the start of a concert at the Eastman Theatre, which also will be free and open to the public. The Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Eastman Philharmonia will perform, with the Philharmonia presenting Gustav Holst's The Planets, among other works.

At a time of great unease and concern about the global economy, Mark Zupan, dean of the Simon Graduate School of Business, will lead an Oct. 17 panel discussion of faculty and alumni experts on the volatile financial markets and what the months ahead may bring. The panelists will include two University Trustees: Cathy E. Minehan, former chief executive and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and Michael S. Rosen, chairman of Context Capital Management, LLC.

In the realm of medical research, Dr. Bradford C. Berk, alumnus and senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center, will join prominent Medical Center experts to discuss stem cells and regenerative medicine.

Other Meliora speakers will focus closer to home on the University's historical significance and contributions. Former University President Dennis O'Brien (1984-1994) will trace how John Henry Cardinal Newman, the 19th century figure who wrote and lectured on universities and their role, influenced the founding of the University of Rochester and its first president, Martin B. Anderson.

For returning alumni, 40 years of history of the Black Students Union and the Office of Minority Student Affairs will be celebrated at several networking and social events. The University's Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will welcome former star athletes in such sports as soccer, basketball, football, baseball, and swimming.

Writers and literature also attract audiences during the weekend. The Neilly Series Lecture will be given by Tim Weiner, a reporter and author of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, which won the 2007 National Book Award. His talk begins at 5 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library. Jonathan Franzen, best-selling writer and author of the National Book Award winner The Corrections, will give a reading as part of the Plutzik Memorial Reading Series at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in Hoyt Hall. These events are separate from Meliora Weekend registration and are free and open to the public.

Meliora, meaning "ever better," is the University's motto, at the center of its seal, and inscribed on many campus landmarks.