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Dear Friends:

January 25, 2007

As we mark the halfway point of the 2006–2007 academic year, I wanted to highlight some of the milestones of what has been an impressive year so far.

We have been recognized by several national and international publications as an outstanding institution of higher education.

  • The University of Rochester was named a New Ivy in the 2007 Kaplan/Newsweek How to Get into College Guide. We share the honor with 24 other schools, including Carnegie Mellon University, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, the University of Virginia, and Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Our University was ranked 21st among U.S. universities by The Timesof London, up from 29th last year, and 48th in the world, up from last year's rank of 73rd.
  • BusinessWeek magazine named the Simon School one of the top 30 graduate business schools, and The Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive survey ranked Simon 6th on the regional list of the top 51 business schools in the nation.

This national recognition is consistent with several highly encouraging developments.

  • We had a record number of applicants, with a significant increase in the number of admitted students who planned to attend Rochester.
  • We welcomed 1,101 students in the Class of 2010—about 110 more than projected, due to an unanticipated increase in yield rate—the percentage of students that we admitted who accepted our admissions offer.

We continue to build on our strong foundation by welcoming exceptional new leaders to the University.

  • The School of Medicine and Dentistry appointed two new associate deans in September. Denham Ward assumed the role of associate dean for faculty development—medical education, and Vivian Lewis became associate dean for faculty development—women and diversity.
  • In October, Peter Lennie was inaugurated as the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering.
  • Bradford C. Berk, appointed senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the Medical Center last year, was formally welcomed in an installation ceremony last November.
  • A search committee has been formed to choose the new dean of the Eastman School. Jamal Rossi, academic dean at Eastman, is serving as the interim dean while the search is under way.
  • A search committee also has been formed to choose a successor to Provost Charles E. Phelps, who will retire after 13 terrific years as the University's chief academic officer at the end of this academic year.

Endowed professorships recognize outstanding scholarship and teaching, while helping us recruit and retain the very best faculty. They will be a major focus of our efforts in the coming years. The University recently has filled two endowed professorship positions.

  • Ching Tang, professor of chemical engineering and chemistry, was appointed to the Doris Johns Cherry Professorship, and was officially installed at a ceremony on January 19.
  • Patricia Chiverton, dean of the School of Nursing, was appointed to the Pamela Klainer Professorship in Nursing Entrepreneurship, and will be officially installed at a ceremony on May 1. The professorship was established through the generosity of numerous donors in honor of Pamela York Klainer, who earned her doctorate from the Warner School in 1980 and is widely known and respected today as an entrepreneurial consultant and author.

Several other new professorships have been created:

  • The Lindsey Chair for Pediatric Research, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, was established to recognize children and their parents who participate in clinical trials. Generous funding was provided by Dr. Porter W. Anderson, a former faculty member and co-inventor of the first conjugate H influenza type B vaccine.
  • We are grateful to Dr. Fred S. Jensen '42 whose gift of stock in PanAero Corporation, recently sold, makes possible the completion or creation of three endowed professorships:
    • The Lionel McKenzie Professorship, Department of Economics, is named in honor of McKenzie, the Wilson Professor Emeritus of Economics, who has been a member of our faculty since 1957. His scholarship, vision, and leadership were instrumental in helping our economics department achieve international status.
    • The Susan B. Anthony Professorship, The College, for tenure-track faculty members (women and men) whose scholarly work relates to the role of women and gender in society or whose academic and professional activity has substantially advanced our understanding of the roles and standing of women in society.
    • The Frederick Douglass Professorship, The College, for tenure-track faculty members whose work addresses race, with particular emphasis on the African-American experience, or whose work substantially advances understanding of minority groups within societies, particularly in the United States.
  • In addition, H. Allen Orr, professor of biology, has been appointed to the earlier created Shirley Cox Kearns Professorship.

Many members of the University community have received awards this year, recognizing their outstanding service, notably including:

  • Robert Hurlbut, a member of the University Board of Trustees, chair of the Medical Center Board, and a longtime supporter of the University, received the University's Eastman Medal on November 7. The Eastman Medal recognizes individuals who, through their outstanding achievement and dedicated service, embody the high ideals for which the University stands.

The University has received more than $150 million in federal, state, local, corporate, and other funding since the start of the fiscal year on July 1, up slightly from the amount received for the corresponding period last year.

  • The School of Medicine and Dentistry was selected by the National Institutes of Health as one of 12 institutions to lead the emerging fields of clinical and translational research and will receive $40 million over approximately five years to establish a Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The award is the largest the University has received from the NIH.
  • We have received $109 million in federal funding, including grants from the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, and NASA, since July 1. The funding will go toward projects such as a nanosystems initiative focusing on developing optical biosensors and fuel cells. The Wilmot Cancer Center received $5 million in federal funds to advance basic science, clinical, and translational research into cures for cancer.
  • State and local funding has provided a total of nearly $6 million for several projects. The Center for Electronic Imaging Systemsreceived $2 million to strengthen research, development, and commercialization of biomedical electronic imaging systems such as 3-D medical scanners and optical sensors that can detect bacteria in minutes.
  • Last summer, I committed funds from the President's Venture Fund to create a Humanities Fund for the 2006–2007 academic year that would support work by Rochester faculty in philosophy, the arts, languages, and other humanities disciplines. I am now pleased to report that for the duration of my tenure as president, the Fund will continue to offer support for humanities in the College, as administered by the College dean.

All divisions of the University continue to be recognized for their contributions to higher learning. From medical advances to insights into Shakespeare's personality, Rochester scholars have made a profound difference.

  • Chunlei Guo, assistant professor of optics, has created a way to blast metal with an intense burst of laser light, changing its properties and turning it into a true "black metal." This promises to make everything from fuel cells to a space telescope's detectors more efficient.
  • Experimental drugs are showing promise against neuroAIDS, the nerve damage caused by HIV infection that lessens many patients' ability to think and move. Harris Gelbard, professor of neurology, is the principal investigator in a study at the Medical Center that will test two new drugs' ability to protect the brain from HIV-related nerve damage.
  • Professor of English Kenneth Gross's new book, Shylock Is Shakespeare, is generating interest for its innovative analysis of the puzzling character of Shylock from The Merchant of Venice. Gross posits that Shakespeare put much of his own personality into the character.
  • A new collection of short stories by Roswell Smith Burrows Professor of English Joanna ScottEverybody Loves Somebody, has received positive reviews for her insightful and striking stories of Americans in the 20th century.
  • Avice O'Connell, director of women's imaging at the Medical Center, and other researchers have developed a new CT imaging system that is better at detecting breast cancer than a regular mammogram.
  • Three University achievements have made Discover magazine's Top 100 Science Stories of 2006: Number 27 is the FDA approval of the vaccine for cervical cancer developed in part by virologists William Bonnez, Richard Reichman, and Robert Rose; neurologist Steven Goldman's discovery that brain cells derived from human embryonic stem cells improved the condition of rats with Parkinson's-like symptoms is listed at Number 44; and Robert Boyd, M. Parker Givens Professor of Optics, who slowed light down so far it went backwards, is listed at Number 87.
  • Genetics research by a Rochester biology team was included, at Number 7, on Science magazine's top 10 list of scientific breakthroughs of 2006. Professor H. Allen Orr, Assistant Professor Daven Presgraves, and graduate student J. P. Masly's research on speciation has helped evolutionary biologists understand the process of biodiversity.
  • Craig Jordan, associate professor of medicine, and his colleagues continue to make significant progress in their pioneering work to fight cancer by targeting the stem cells that are the source of leukemia and potentially other forms of cancer. His lab is part of a newly formed Cancer Stem Cell Research Program at the University, one of the first of its kind in the nation.
  • Mark Noble, professor of genetics, brought us closer to understanding the link between chemotherapy and the cognitive side effects of the treatment ("chemo-brain") by discovering that chemotherapy destroys certain stem cells in the central nervous system.

Progress has been made in Advancement during the last year as the result of Senior Vice President Jim Thompson's leadership and the work of the great team he is building. The initial results of this multiyear effort are favorable. During the first six months of the 2005–2006 academic year, the University in toto raised $31.482 million. In the first six months of this academic year, the University raised $48.652 million—an increase of 55 percent. If we subtract one very large gift and bequests, our total for the year is $32.922 million—an increase of 24 percent. Notably, the number of gifts received to date is up 13 percent compared to last year, and the number of pledges is up 60 percent. It is very early in a long process of building a world-class advancement operation at the University, but these are impressive first steps.

Let me highlight some key gifts by individuals this year that already have made a difference.

  • This past autumn saw the successful completion of a $1.52 million endowment challenge for Eastman Pathways, a partnership between the Eastman School of Music and the Rochester City School District which offers music lessons and classes, as well as mentoring, to 5th through 12th graders who have been nominated by their public school music teachers and selected on the basis of an audition with faculty from the Eastman Community Music School.
  • Frank '52 and Cricket Luellen have made a $500,000 unrestricted pledge to the Wilmot Cancer Center Campaign. The Wilmot Cancer Center will name the Frank and Cricket Luellen Patient and Family Resource Center in the new Cancer Center facility in their honor.
  • Lynne V. Lovejoy has pledged a gift of $1 million to Highland Hospital—$500,000 to name the Highland Family Medicine Center and $500,000 for unrestricted support.
  • Dr. Robert Manchester '32M (MD), the oldest living alumnus of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, recently contributed a $533,421 gift annuity to the endowed William C. Manchester Memorial Scholarship, established by Robert and his sister in 1986 to honor their father.
  • In mid-October Robert Goergen '60 provided the University with nearly $10 million for the new biomedical engineering and optics building, which will be named the Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics in his honor. This is the first new building to be constructed on the River Campus since 1987 and will open in the spring of 2007.
  • Arunas '91S (MBA), '04 (HNR) and Pamela Chesonis have pledged $1.5 million to the Simon Graduate School of Business over the next three years to establish Chesonis Entrepreneurial Scholarships for full-time M.B.A. students interested in entrepreneurship.
  • David '43, '45M (MD) and Halee Baldwin '44 recently made a gift of their Fire Island vacation home, valued at $800,000, to be split equally for endowed scholarships in their names in the School of Medicine and Dentistry and in the College.
  • Norman '56 and Arlene Leenhouts recently made a $500,000 bequest commitment to the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering on the occasion of Norm's 50th reunion. This gift helped raise the class gift total above $2 million.
  • Dr. Robert '48, '53M (MD), '55M (PhD), '88 (HNR) and Lillian Brent '50 have given $500,000 to support the Alumni Tuition Free Program and $50,000 to the Lillian and Robert Brent Alumni Incentive Giving Fund in the School of Medicine and Dentistry.
  • James W. '69 (PhD) and Lyn Sinko have given their Palo Alto condominium, valued at $526,000, to fund a charitable remainder unitrust that will pay income to the Sinkos during their lifetimes, after which the remainder value will pass to the University.
  • More than a decade ago, the Warner School was named to honor a multimillion dollar gift from William F. Scandling in memory of his wife, alumna and trustee Margaret Warner Scandling '44. The gift enabled the school to advance its efforts in teaching and research and to promote education reform. This past year, the Warner School received $3.7 million of a $5 million bequest from Mr. Scandling, who died in 2005.

Our athletes and artists have triumphed also.

  • Five student-athletes were named ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-Americans last fall. Brian Tuohy '07 was named to the first team in men's soccer. Susan Johnson '07 was named to the second team in women's volleyball. Three football players were named Academic All-Americans: Nicholas Zappia '07 to the first team, and Jason Goeller '07 and Andy Rape '08 to the second team.
  • The women's soccer team reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division III playoffs, ending their season 16-2-3. Seven players were honored by the All-University Athletic Association; two players were named to the first team, three to the second team, and two received honorable mention.
  • Both the men's and women's basketball teams are doing well this season. Both teams won the JP Morgan Chase Scholarship Tournament in January. It is the women's second Chase title and the men's eighth. The women's team was undefeated for much of the season and has a record of 14-2 so far. The men's team, at 11-5 so far, gave head coach Mike Neer his 500th career victory.
  • The Memorial Art Gallery mounted two remarkable exhibitions last fall and another early this year. The Gallery was one of only three national venues to host Georgia O'Keeffe: Color and Conservation, featuring 25 rarely seen oils and two pastels, complemented by photos of the artist on loan from the George Eastman House. My America: Art from the Jewish Museum Collection featured paintings, prints, photos, and sculptures by 40 American Jewish artists from the first half of the 20th century. From January 21 through March 11, the Gallery is hosting the exhibition Anxious Objects: Willie Cole's Favorite Brands. The artist's retrospective features 31 assemblages, prints, and mixed-media works created between 1988 and 2006.
  • Professor of Lute Paul O'Dette, as well as alumni Christopher Theofanidis '92E (MM) and Kayo Miki '84E, '96E (MM), received nominations for the 49th Annual Grammy Awards. O'Dette was nominated in the Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra) category, Theofanidis was nominated in the Best Classical Contemporary Composition category, and Miki was nominated as part of the Quartet San Francisco in two categories: Best Classical Crossover Album and Best Engineered Album, Classical.

I look forward to moving ahead with recommendations from two task forces I appointed. In October, I adopted the 31 recommendations suggested by the Task Force on Faculty Diversity and Inclusiveness, led by Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity Lynne Davidson. Lynne is working with the newly assigned diversity officers in each of the schools to implement the faculty diversity program University-wide.

In November, I received recommendations compiled by the Steering Committee on Technology Transfer and Corporate Alliances. To coordinate tech transfer activities, I appointed the Technology Transfer Policy Committee, chaired by Provost Charles Phelps and including Paul Slattery, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the College, andDavid Guzick, Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

It has been a wonderful academic year, and as I like to say, we are just warming up!

Meliora,

Joel Seligman
President