In the fall, the University of Rochester welcomes many new students, new researchers, new faculty members, and new employees into our vibrant community. To those of you who are new to Rochester, welcome! To those of you returning after a summer break, welcome back! And to those of you whose connection to the University continues, I’m grateful for your dedication and service. I wish all of you a rewarding and successful academic year.
The University continues to be a thriving academic enterprise, with a wealth of exceptional programs in arts, sciences, engineering, music, business, education, medicine, and nursing. Beyond our scholarly and scientific achievement, our culture is rich, both at our University and in the greater Rochester community. Take some time to explore. The more you choose to engage with the many cultural resources that surround us, the more rewarding your experience living here will be.
Many exceptional concerts by the Eastman School of Music are available free of charge. The Eastman Faculty Artist Recital Series alone has 17 concerts in the fall semester, five of which are in the first week of classes. The KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival, which debuted in 2012, will take place September 12-22 and will feature a multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts festival with international, national, and local artists, showcasing theater, comedy, visual arts, family entertainment, music, dance, poetry, opera, and more. Next June, the Rochester International Jazz Festival will offer nine days of extraordinary and diverse music, hosting more than 1,500 artists.
Visit original artwork by Rembrandt, Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keefe, Sam Gilliam, Yayoi Kusama, and many more at our Memorial Art Gallery. Entrance to the MAG is free of charge to all Rochester students, faculty, and staff with a current university ID. With its permanent collection of 12,000 works of art, the MAG has been called the best balanced collection in the state outside of metropolitan New York City, representing cultures from around the world and across millennia. The works of Josephine Tota, a first-generation Italian immigrant who spent much of her adult life working as a seamstress in Rochester and discovered painting in her seventies, is on display until September 9. An exhibition of Claude Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” series will run from October 7 to January 6.
Our 18th Meliora Weekend, the University’s annual intellectual and cultural celebration, will take place on October 4 through 7, with a keynote address by Soledad O’Brien, award-winning journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and writer of Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow, will speak on his critically acclaimed biography, Grant, then sit down for a moderated conversation at the University Symposium. MSNBC exclusive senior political analyst, and former Republican National Committee chairman and Lieutenant governor of Maryland, Michael Steele, will lead a conversation. Pink Martini, crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop, will perform at Kodak Hall at the Eastman Theatre, and comedian and actress Nasim Pedrad, best known for her work on Saturday Night Live, New Girl, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, will perform a comedy show.
In the coming weeks, there will be more announcements about exciting events and developments. Take a look at our Events Calendar—there is always something happening here, whether it’s music, visual art, theater, improv, dance, or otherwise. Creativity is woven into the fabric of this University and ever present in our academic curriculum, extracurricular activities, and experiential learning opportunities.
Even as I encourage you to take advantage of Rochester’s abundant cultural resources, I would like to encourage all of you to reflect this semester on the University’s core values. Over the summer, faculty, students, and staff worked together across the University to develop a new Vision and Values statement. This Vision and Values statement is intended to work in dialogue with the Medical Center’s ICARE Values and the College’s Communal Principles. It is intended to be a guide for all members of our community as we go about our daily activities, and a reminder of how we view and treat each other as members of a single but diverse organization. As a University committed to principles of inclusion, mutual respect, and civil discourse, we all must continue to do our part—individually and collectively—to ensure that our community is one where everyone feels welcomed, valued, and respected.
Welcome to all of you. I look forward to an inspiring and rewarding year ahead.