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President Sarah Mangelsdorf’s inauguration is set

October 3, 2019
portrait of Sarah Mangelsdorf

Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, president and G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor. (University of Rochester photo)

The University of Rochester community is set to celebrate the inauguration of Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, president and G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor, as part of Meliora Weekend (Oct 3-6).  The centerpiece of the inauguration will be a public convocation ceremony at 2:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, where Mangelsdorf will be officially installed as University president.

Mangelsdorf took office on July 1, 2019 as the University’s 11th president. She is the University’s first woman president, institutional leader of the fifth-largest private employer in New York State, and one of 13 women currently leading an AAU (Association of American Universities) research institution, of which there are 62 member schools including Rochester.

The inauguration is scheduled as part of Meliora Weekend to give alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff and friends of the University the opportunity to attend the ceremony and celebration events, which also include the Inauguration BBQ on Friday afternoon, and the Inauguration Academic Symposium: The Rochester Effect, on Saturday.

“The installation of Sarah Mangelsdorf as the University’s 11th president and first woman in this highest leadership role is a very special occasion in our institution’s history,” said Mary Ann Mavrinac, chair of the First-Year Celebration Committee and Vice Provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of University of Rochester Libraries. “President Mangelsdorf has made certain that her inauguration events and inaugural year activities are welcoming to everyone in the University community. Her official convocation ceremony on Friday will honor the strong tradition of our great University, as well mark its exciting future as we move forward with a new and united spirit of optimism and ambition.”

Inauguration BBQ
11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday
Wilson Quad Tent, River Campus

All University community members are invited to attend a festive free lunch on the River Campus, located in the Meliora Village tent on the Wilson Quadrangle. President Mangelsdorf will deliver brief remarks at the BBQ at 11:30 a.m.

Please join us to celebrate the inauguration of Sarah C. Mangelsdorf as the University of Rochester’s 11th president.

Inauguration ceremony: 2:30 p.m. at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

Register online

Watch the livestream

Inauguration Ceremony/Convocation
2:30 p.m. Friday
Kodak Hall, Eastman Theatre

Mangelsdorf’s convocation ceremony will begin with a formal procession starting at 2:30 p.m. in Kodak Hall.  The full ceremony will be livestreamed on the President’s Inauguration site, as well as at; the First-Year Celebration Committee is also hosting a viewing party in the Medical Center’s Class of ’62 Auditorium. University shuttles will be available to and from Kodak Hall; for schedule see

The platform party will include President Mangelsdorf; University marshals; Faculty Senate co-chairs; Board of Trustees members and University leadership; faculty, staff, student, and alumni representatives; co-chairs of the University, staff and student advisory committees to the presidential search; and past University presidents. In attendance will be delegates and presidents representing more than 60 colleges, universities and professional societies and organizations nationwide, as well as several Rochester-area community and business leaders.

Denise Yarbrough, director of religious and spiritual life, will deliver the invocation, followed by welcome remarks from Anne Nofziger, on behalf of the University Advisory Committee for the Presidential Search; Jamal Holtz ’20 on behalf of the student body; Chunkit Fung on behalf of faculty; Ashley Campbell ’09, ’10W(MS) on behalf of staff; Wade Norwood ’85 on behalf of the greater Rochester community; and University Trustee Cathy Minehan ’68 on behalf of alumni.

University Board of Trustees Chair Richard B. Handler ’83 will conduct the investiture ceremony, which includes Mangelsdorf being presented with the original University of Rochester charter, University seal, and the mace. The mace represents the grandeur of the occasion and is engraved with the names of all of the University’s presidents, including now Sarah C. Mangelsdorf.

close-up on the engraved silver on the University mace shows the name of the new president, Sarah C. Mangelsdorf along with the date 2019-A CEREMONIAL START: For now, the University mace, newly engraved with the name of Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, sits securely in the University Archives. On Friday, October 4, it will be transported to Eastman Theatre to be handed to the 11th president at her inauguration ceremony. The presentation of the mace is a centerpiece of the investiture, a ritual to mark the entrustment of authority to the new president.  (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

After her formal investiture, Mangelsdorf will deliver her inaugural address.

Eastman Brass—a quintet of artist faculty at the Eastman School of Music—will perform the ceremony’s prelude, processional, recessional and postlude music. Jamal J. Rossi ’87E (DMA), Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music, and Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of Northwestern University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, will perform Vocalis, Op. 34, No. 14 by Sergei Rachmaninoff. The Ying Quartet will perform the world-premiere of The Pathway, a piece composed by renowned composer Jeff Beal ’85E and commissioned for the inauguration.

Jeff Beal conducting musicians.
AN INAUGURAL PREMIERE: Jeff Beal ’85E and his wife, Joan Beal ‘84E established the Beal Institute for Film Music and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music in 2015. Beal’s composition “The Pathway” will premiere at the inauguration of University of Rochester President Sarah C. Mangelsdorf.
The program will conclude with the singing of The Genesee led by members of the University’s a cappella groups.

Inauguration Academic Symposium: The Rochester Effect
11 a.m. to noon, Saturday
Strong Auditorium, River Campus

Coinciding with the inauguration is a special intellectual conversation on The Rochester Effect with members of the faculty discussing the vital roles of creativity and discovery in the modern university. This event is open to the public.

The Rochester Effect engages members of the extended University community through a platform that reinforces the University’s position as a relevant and vital institution that advances knowledge and provides key contributions to our understanding of the world’s most pressing problems.

Panelist include:

  • John J. Foxe (Moderator)
    Kilian J. and Caroline F. Schmitt Chair in Neuroscience
    Director of the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience
  • Adam Frank
    Professor of Physics and Astronomy
  • Catherine K. Kuo
    Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Elizabeth West Marvin ’81E (MA), ’89E (PhD)
    Minehan Family Professor, Eastman School of Music
    Professor of Music Theory, Eastman School of Music
    Professor, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Shaun Nelms ’04W (MS), ’13W (EdD)
    Superintendent of the East High, Educational Partnership Organization (EPO)
    William & Sheila Konar Director of the Center for Urban Education Success (CUES)
    Associate Professor at the Warner School of Education
  • Joan Saab
    Vice Provost of Academic Affairs
    Susan B. Anthony Professor
    Associate Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies

First-Year Celebration Committee

Since May 2019, a broadly representative First-Year Celebration Committee has been focused on suggesting activities and events to celebrate President Mangelsdorf’s first year in office. The committee is chaired by Mavrinac, and staffed by Myra Henry, deputy dean and senior director for administrative services, River Campus Libraries. The group is ensuring that first-year events are as inclusive as possible, and its members then serve as liaisons to their respective University communities.

Complete information on President Mangelsdorf’s Inauguration is available at



Read more

close-up of the mace engraved with the names of past presidents including new president Sarah C. Mangelsdorf
A ceremonial start
“For generations, three ritual objects—the charter, the seal, and the mace—have been the centerpiece of the presidential inaugural ceremony.
sarah Mangelsdorf
Off and running: Sarah Mangelsdorf sets her own presidential tone
For nearly three months now, the new president of the University of Rochester has been getting acquainted with University, and one of her consistent themes is her intention to remain a curious, visible, and accessible leader.
Jeff Beal conducting.
Sharing the musical backstory of an inaugural premiere
The musical centerpiece at the inauguration of President Sarah C. Mangelsdorf is a work by one of the contemporary masters of storytelling, Jeff Beal ’85E.



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