By Richard Feldman
Near the end of each academic year, the University takes time to celebrate and honor staff members who are celebrating milestone anniversaries with us, and who every day exemplify the very best of our institution and its educational, research, and patient care mission. I want to express my gratitude for their extensive contributions and for making the University of Rochester ever better.
This year we honored more than 1,500 staff members who have a combined 26,985 years of service to the University. We celebrate those with 15 years of service or more and continue to recognize them at every additional 5-year milestone. It’s notable to mention that over 340 of those honored have been here for 25 years or longer, and four of our colleagues were recently recognized for 50 or more years of service. I want to make particular mention of Alberta Miller, a patient unit secretary in Critical Care Nursing, who has been with the University for 60 years. It’s incredible to think of the changes she has seen during her time here.
As a person who has made the University my home for more than 40 years, I have also seen some of those changes firsthand. From University leadership to beautiful new buildings, an increasingly diverse faculty, and a new crop of students each year who represent some of the best and brightest minds from around the world, this is a place of perpetual transition. It’s also a place of remarkable growth. In fact, our total number of employees, including those at affiliates, now exceeds 30,000 people. That makes us the 5th largest private employer in New York State, and the largest in Upstate, and the quality and commitment of our people has grown ever better and ever stronger.
During my time here—as a faculty member, chair of a department, dean of the College, and now as President—I am regularly reminded of how the people are what makes our University community thrive. I’ve had the good fortune to work alongside individuals who have also chosen to make their careers at Rochester. One individual who comes to mind is Suzanne O’Brien. Suzanne is a graduate of the University who started her career as a secretary, and in the ensuing 50 years became an academic advisor, director of academic advising, coordinator of career services and placement, associate dean of undergraduate studies, and then worked with me as associate dean of the College before retiring in 2016.
It was quite a remarkable career for a very remarkable person. Perhaps just as impressive are the dedicated staff members who do so much to lead, support, and serve the University, its students, and its community. Staff contributions are an important part of our success and I value every way that you give of your time, energy, and talent. Thank you.
Welcome to Words from Wallis Hall. This regular communication from President Feldman will serve as an ongoing opportunity to share important updates on the University’s efforts to strengthen a culture of respect, and to keep the campus community informed of people and programs that make Rochester a world-class institution.