University of Rochester

President’s Page

Perpetual Optimism

By Joel Seligman

We have completed a terrific year at the University, and another is beginning.

For the fifth straight year, College admissions applications are up to a new record, with 11,678 applicants for the Class of 2011. The new record follows a year in which our University was listed as one of the 25 “New Ivies” by Newsweek and the Times of London ranked the University as 21st best in the United States.

Momentum at the Medical Center is building, with the School of Medicine and Dentistry receiving one of 12 inaugural Clinical and Translational Awards ($40 million over five years) from the NIH to establish a new Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute; and the NIH awarding the Medical Center a further $26 million grant to establish the New York Influenza Center of Excellence.

The Eastman School has embarked on a dramatic renovation and expansion of its facilities.

A Personal Message

I have been diagnosed with a treatable and curable form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Our excellent cancer specialists at the Medical Center tell me that there should not be a significant long-term impact on my ability to continue service to the University. But this is a form of cancer, and I want to communicate what I know about the disease, the diagnosis, the prognosis, and the likely treatment.

The prognosis is very favorable. Dr. Richard Fisher, director of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, is treating me. A national expert on lymphomas, he and others have collected data that indicates the 5-year survival rate for a patient such as me is approximately 90 percent.

The course of treatment, which began in late August, is likely to occur over a four- to six-month period. I will need to take a few days off for the treatment but otherwise should be able to fulfill my responsibilities as president. There is a high probability that the cancer will be “cured” within the next several months.

While the term cancer is a scary one, this is a treatable, beatable form of cancer.

My first priority will be to address my health. But I am confident that I can address this disease and continue the wonderful adventure we have begun together at the University.

The number of matriculants is up at the School of Nursing. The Simon School also will enjoy increased enrollment in the coming year, thanks in part to a redesigned executive program. At the Warner School in 2006–07, there was a record 23 percent increase in applications compared to the previous year.

There has been burgeoning support from our alumni and friends. Before the last academic year, the University had never raised $70 million in annual support from its alumni and friends. Last year we raised $83.9 million and received future commitments of $22.5 million, up from $1.3 million the prior year.

On the investment front, our 2007 investment return is expected to exceed 19 percent, outperforming our benchmark.

An impressive set of new facilities are being built, including the Cardiovascular Research Institute to be completed later this year; the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center scheduled to be dedicated in May 2008; and a Clinical and Translational Sciences Building for which design work has begun. Across the Genesee River, the beginnings of a type of college town are taking shape with a hotel under construction and the ground broken for a new 120-unit apartment building for 400 University students.

What is most exciting about the University is its future. As we proceed with strategic planning, it’s inspiring to see plans emerging that effectively meld great existing academic strengths with a willingness to analyze new programs that have the potential to significantly strengthen our teaching, research, and faculty.

Colin Powell, this year’s Meliora Weekend keynote speaker, is fond of saying: “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” It is easy to be optimistic when you are associated with a great University working as effectively as this one is to make its future even brighter.