Joel Seligman became the tenth president of the University of Rochester in July 2005. During his tenure, he led a strategic planning process to chart the University’s future. Notable milestones included the openings of the Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics, the James P. Wilmot Cancer Institute, the Ambulatory Surgery Center, and the Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute. The renovated Kodak Hall at Eastman Theater and a new wing at the Eastman School of Music significantly expanded educational and performance spaces. The Saunders Research Building provides state-of-the-art space to scientists seeking treatments and cures for neurological disorders, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. In 2012, the new Dennis O’Brien Hall completed Thomas H. Jackson Court. In 2013, Raymond F. LeChase Hall, home to the Warner School of Education and the Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation opened. The Golisano Children’s Hospital, the largest construction project in the University’s history, opened in 2015. A new Humanities Center opened in 2016. Wegmans Hall, which houses the Goergen Institute for Data Science, and Frederick Douglass Commons, with renovated dining and student spaces, opened in 2017. Also in 2017, the University opened Genesee Hall, a residence hall that includes the Boehning Varsity House and Big “R” Atrium, additions to the Brian F. Prince Athletic Complex.
Under Seligman’s leadership, in 2011 the University launched The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester, with the goal of raising $1.2 billion by June 2016. The Meliora Challenge was the largest comprehensive capital campaign in the University’s history and the first comprehensive campaign since 1924. The campaign achieved historic results, raising $1.373 billion.
Seligman worked closely with government and neighborhood leaders on a variety of community enrichment projects and programs, including completing two major redevelopment initiatives that helped revitalize different areas adjacent to the University. Brooks Landing is a hotel, retail and student residential development, joined to the University by a footbridge over the Genesee River. The student apartments in Brooks Landing house 570 undergraduate students. College Town, dedicated in October 2014, is a $100 million shopping, dining, business and residential district in the Mt. Hope neighborhood in the city of Rochester, near the University’s River Campus and its Medical Center.
From 2011 to 2016, he served with Wegmans Chairman Danny Wegman as co-chair of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.
Seligman came to Rochester from the Washington University School of Law, where he was dean and Ethan A. H. Shepley University Professor from 1999 to 2005. He had previously been dean and Samuel M. Fegtly Professor of Law at the University of Arizona, and had served on the law faculties at Michigan, George Washington, and Northeastern.
He is one of the nation’s leading experts on securities law. He coauthored, with the late Louis Loss and with Troy Paredes, the 11-volume Securities Regulation, the leading treatise in the field, and is author of The Transformation of Wall Street: A History of the Securities and Exchange Commission and Modern Corporate Finance. He also is the author or coauthor of 20 books and more than 40 articles on legal issues related to securities and corporations. He served on the board of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority from 2007 to 2015. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2016.
Seligman is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and Harvard Law School.