Thursday
Jun182015

June 2015

A Meliora Message 

At this year’s Garden Party, covered in this issue of Fast Forward, President and CEO Joel Seligman closed his traditional address by expressing that we are lucky to have supporters like you. There are myriad reasons why, and the 2015 Discovery Ball is one of the most recent.

For the last 16 years, the commitments you have made at the Discovery Ball have helped provide vital funding for caregivers, programs, and research at the Wilmot Cancer Institute. This includes gifts that support seed-grants for new and innovative cancer research initiatives that could yield groundbreaking discoveries.

We are, without a doubt, fortunate to be part of such an enthusiastic and compassionate community that supports all aspects of the University's mission. We are also grateful.

Thank you for another year of helping us to be ever better.

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Discovery Ball Honors Local Volunteer Group

Members of the Pancreatic Cancer Association of Western New York are applauded by David Linehan, M.D., director of clinical operations at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, and Hartmut "Hucky" Land, Ph.D., director of research and Robert and Dorothy Markin Professor

Wilmot Cancer Institute’s annual Discovery Ball is highlighted by generosity that enables the continuation of world-class care and research. In that regard, this year’s event was no different. On May 29, more than 600 grateful patients, community members, and UR Medicine faculty and staff filled the grand ballroom of Rochester’s Hyatt Regency and provided more than $480,000 (net) in support for new and innovative cancer research initiatives at the Institute.

Another Discovery Ball highlight is the presentation of the Inspiration Award, which typically recognizes individuals who have helped give cancer patients and their families hope for the future. But for the first time in 16 years, it was given to a group: the Pancreatic Cancer Association of Western New York (PCAWNY). That same night, further demonstrating their worthiness of the award, the all-volunteer group committed $500,000 to support a Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence at the Institute.

“Strides are being made with other cancers because they have the funding to support research,” said Mary Ellen Smith, PCAWNY’s associate executive director, who lost her mother to pancreatic cancer. “We want to elevate the importance of funding pancreatic cancer research so equal strides can be made.”

Established in 2009, the PCAWNY is focused on raising awareness about pancreatic cancer, educating the community, and providing support to patients and families affected by the disease. 

In addition to their recent commitment, the group has raised more than $320,000 to support cancer research. This includes seed money that helped the Wilmot Cancer Institute receive a $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to continue its study of a gene network that controls cancer progression with a focus on pancreatic cancer.

Additional details on the PCAWNY are available in the press release for the Inspiration Award. You can also learn more about the gene study in the press release for the Wilmot Cancer Institute’s grant award.

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Highland Breaks Ground on New Addition

Highland Hospital and Medical Center leaders join President and CEO Joel Seligman in the ceremonial groundbreaking  

Compassion Heals is a motto Highland Hospital demonstrates through a commitment to excellence in its treatment, environment, and overall operation. On June 1, that promise manifested with a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new two-story building addition on the south side of the Highland Hospital campus.

“Highland is dedicated to delivering the highest quality of care and it’s the right time to invest in modernizing our hospital,” said Steven I. Goldstein, M.H.A., president and CEO of Highland and Strong Memorial Hospitals and vice president of UR Medicine. “It’s an exciting time for a great community hospital that also serves as a regional referral center for patients with complex needs.”

The expansion is part of a $28 million project that will enhance patient care through new, modernized facilities and the renovation of existing space, including the new addition that will add approximately 30,000 square feet of space for six new operating rooms and a 26-bed observation unit. The Hospital’s current bed count of 261 will not change; however, patient care areas will have a more efficient design and state-of-the-art equipment.

Highland’s new project will address essential facility-improvement priorities. This includes updating and expanding the perioperative area and creating a space dedicated to short-stay patients, which will enable the conversion of several semi-private inpatient rooms into private rooms.

Construction is expected to begin no later than July and will run for 12 to 18 months with an additional six months of internal renovation in adjacent building space. 

You can find more details about the groundbreaking and project in the official press release.

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48th Garden Party: The Next Level

President and CEO Joel Seligman notes Howard Hanson's role in the early life of the Eastman School of Music  

Understanding the past can help one set a course for the future. President and CEO Joel Seligman showed his appreciation for this concept in his Garden Party address at the Memorial Art Gallery on June 9.

Beginning in 1851, when the University’s original charter was granted, Seligman guided attendees through Rochester’s proud history. Through examples of leadership from past presidents, distinguished faculty, and extraordinary benefactors—among other highlights—he demonstrated an inexorable momentum that has carried the University to a point where it is ready to ascend to "The Next Level.”

Seligman presented four areas the University will focus on to accelerate its progress beyond the aspirations of the 2013–2018 Strategic Plan: Data Science; Neuroscience & Neuromedicine; Humanities & the Performing Arts; and Revitalization of our Community. He punctuated the outline for The Next Level by looking ahead to 2020 when the University aims to be among the nation’s leaders in data science, neuromedicine, and clinical and translational research.

“We’re among the luckiest universities in the world,” said Seligman. “Your support has enabled us to make substantial progress. Together, we’re building an ever better University and an ever stronger community. I look forward to working with all of you as we take the community and our University to the next level.”

Read or watch the full Garden Party address.

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Taubman Formally Invested as URMC CEO

Mark Taubman, M.D., Jan Taubman, and Joel Seligman 

An exemplary leader, physician, scientist, and educator, Mark B. Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, was formally invested as the chief executive officer of the Medical Center and UR Medicine and senior vice president for health sciences on June 10. Taubman succeeds Bradford Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), Distinguished University Professor and director of the Rochester Neurorestorative Institute (RNI).

Widely respected for his integrity, inclusiveness, and analytical approach to problem-solving, Taubman has demonstrated a commitment to making discoveries that improve health, prevent disease, and promote longevity. And he has the strategic vision, operational sensitivity, and medical and scientific acumen needed to lead a successful academic medical center amid unprecedented change.

“There is no doubt that Mark is the right person for the job,” said President and CEO Joel Seligman. “He has the breadth of understanding, he has the ambition. He is going to take the Medical Center and build on the great momentum that Brad started and take it even further.”

Taubman was appointed in January as the first leader in the University’s history to serve as both Medical Center CEO and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. He was named dean in March 2010, following a nine-month stint as acting CEO while Berk recovered from a spinal cord injury.

“This is a university on the rise,” said Taubman during the ceremony. “We’re attracting better and better students, and better and better faculty. We’re growing our clinical enterprise. We’ve played key roles in developing major vaccines, including the first vaccine to prevent a form of cancer. And the University is now embarking on a data science initiative that will be central to our biomedical research and clinical programs in the years ahead. There could be nothing more exciting than leading the Medical Center at this time.”

You can read more about Dean Taubman and his investiture in the official press release.

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Friday
May222015

May 2015

A Meliora Message 

During commencement weekend, May 15 through May 17, the University conferred more than 2,200 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

For students, the pomp and circumstance began either on Alumni Road or within Eastman’s Douglas Lowry Hall, awaiting their respective processions onto the Eastman Quad and into Kodak Hall—the last leg of a long journey.

The road to graduation is a unique experience, giving every student a different perspective on its end. Mortarboard messages conveyed the full range: achievement (“Now hotter by one degree”), the beginning of something new (“Be the change”), and the end of something great (“How lucky I am to have something so hard to say goodbye to”). 

Commencement is the mountain top, and as such, a source of unadulterated joy. Graduates had smiles cemented to their faces and were not shy about breaking out into dance. Because most, if not all, students had help along the way, commencement was also a time for profuse gratitude, made clear by a never-ending string of warm handshakes, spirited high-fives, and loving hugs.

Some of you have experienced this gratitude first hand as scholarship or fellowship donors. Without you, many of these students’ journeys could not have begun. And now they are moving forward with lighter debt loads, freer to pursue a career that they love. Thank you for helping our graduates follow their passion and enabling a new class to begin to explore theirs. 

Please enjoy these photo galleries from this year’s commencement weekend. The Simon School will confer its degrees on June 7. 

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New Children's Hospital Makes Grand Debut

Ribbons cut, cheers erupt, and confetti flies as the new Golisano Children's Hospital is dedicated  

After years of planning and construction, and the combined efforts of thousands of administrators, faculty, staff, donors, patients and families, UR Medicine’s new Golisano Children’s Hospital made its smashing debut on Wednesday, May 27.

That afternoon’s joyous dedication ceremony featured remarks from a variety of dignitaries, including the Hospital’s namesake and lead donor, B. Thomas Golisano.

“The only wealth that you get to keep is that which you give away,” Golisano said, paraphrasing Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. Golisano’s $20 million donation to the Hospital in 2011 kickstarted construction of the facility. “I know some day I’m not going to be here, but this building will be here, and that’s our ongoing wealth.”

At $145 million, the new Hospital is the largest capital project in the University’s history. It encompasses 245,000 square feet spread out over eight floors, and all that room is being used in exciting ways. Among its features, the Hospital will include all private rooms and specialized technology, such as the first integrated PET/MRI in a children’s hospital in the nation, dedicated to healing sick and injured children. It is set to open its doors to the community in July.

The traditional ribbon cutting was made more festive and especially meaningful with the inclusion of more than 20 children, all former patients of the Hospital, who marched through the crowd carrying a paper chain made from patients’ and families’ hand-drawn pictures, stickers, and messages of thanks. Together, the leaders on stage and the young participants cut their respective ribbons while confetti rained down on all.

For more on the auspicious day, watch a video of the dedication ceremony, and read the official press release, which includes in-depth information about the Hospital’s amenities.

 

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Aab Names Atrium to Honor Friend 

Tansukh Ganatra and Rick Aab  

It is not hard to see why a child would approach a hospital in the same way they would a haunted house. Hospitals are generally big, aesthetically cold places filled with things children should not, and likely do not want to, touch. The Ganatra Family Atrium, a light-filled, two-story space featuring a playful design, sends a message that is loud and clear to children and families who enter Golisano Children’s Hospital: this is a special hospital.

The atrium was named for the Ganatra Family as part of a $3 million commitment to the Golisano Children’s Hospital Building Fund by serial entrepreneur and Trustee Richard (Rick) T. Aab. Deferring recognition for his gift, Aab chose to honor his closeness with the Ganatra Family, particularly his friendship with Tansukh Ganatra, with whom he co-founded US LEC Corp., a telecommunications company based in Charlotte, N.C., as well as several other successful telecommunications companies during the past 30 years.

“Rick Aab is a valued friend of the University and Medical Center who has provided incredibly generous support as well as steadfast leadership toward the fulfillment of our mission,” said President Joel Seligman. “As our clinical leaders envision the programs and facility needs that enable us to deliver groundbreaking research and medical care, Rick is helping us to make these ambitious plans a reality."

Rick’s recent gift brings his total support for The Meliora Challenge to $7 million. In 2007, Aab made a $4 million commitment to support the URMC’s Cardiology Research Institute. The University recognized his generosity by naming the institute the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute.

“Ensuring that children have access to the best possible health care is a cause that’s very important to me,” said Aab, vice chair for the University’s Campaign Cabinet and co-chair of the URMC campaign. “Construction of an all-new children’s hospital has long been a vision for the URMC. I’m proud to have been part of the years of planning, advocacy and the community funding campaign that made this significant achievement possible. It has been very gratifying to work alongside the leadership of the University and the URMC as they have established the leading children’s hospital for my hometown of Rochester and the entire region."

Golisano Children’s Hospital will open this coming July. Funding for the building’s construction was led by commitments like Aab’s and supported by gifts from more than 8,500 individuals and community groups.

You can read more about Rick and his gift in the official press release.

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Huxlin Installed as the Aquavella Professor in Ophthalmology

President Joel Seligman, James Aquavella, M.D., Krystel Huxlin, M.D., Steve Feldon, M.D., director of Flaum Eye Institute, and Mark Taubman, M.D. 

During his remarks at the University of Rochester’s most recent endowed professorship installation on May 20, Mark Taubman, M.D., found the perfect word in which to ground his introduction. 

Vision.

He used it to make three points. “We are honoring two visionary individuals who have pushed the boundaries of science and medicine,” said Taubman, CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “And they happen to be working in a field in which they are interested in improving vision. Simply put, they want to restore vision to those whose sight is severely impaired.”

Those individuals are Krystel R. Huxlin, Ph.D., and James V. Aquavella, M.D., and they have more than six decades of combined experience as internationally renowned ophthalmologists. Huxlin is the director of research at the URMC’s David and Ilene Flaum Eye Institute and has secondary appointments in the departments of neurobiology & anatomy and brain & cognitive sciences. She holds four patents and focuses her work on understanding how the adult visual system repairs itself. Aquavella is a specialist in cornea and external eye disease and was the first fellowship-trained corneal surgeon in the United States. Aquavella came to the University of Rochester in 1977; Huxlin arrived in 1995. 

After identifying the honorees, Taubman explored his third point. “In Jim’s case, he is a visionary philanthropist. He understands that in order for us to remain the great institution we are and to move to the next level, we need to create endowed professorships.”

And few professorships carry as much emotion as those provided by Aquavella. His $4 million commitment, which enabled the creation of the Catherine E. Aquavella Distinguished Professorship in Ophthalmology and the James V. Aquavella, M.D. Professorship in Ophthalmology, was made to honor the memory of his late wife, Kay, a nurse and administrator, who was committed to the establishment of the Flaum Eye Institute. Huxlin was installed as the James V. Aquavella Professor; Aquavella, himself, will serve in the role of the Catherine E. Aquavella Distinguished Professor in an honorary capacity. The Aquavella Distinguished Professorship endowment will continue to grow until the next professor is selected.

Not only do these professorships ensure the University retains top talent, they also provide crucial support so that Huxlin can continue translating her lab’s scientific discoveries into medicine that benefits patients. Future corneal researchers can also build on Aquavella’s work, which in some cases has restored sight to children and infants.  

“The creation of an endowed professorship can be very personal,” said President Joel Seligman. “I really can’t recall an occasion more personal than these endowed professorships. Jim and Kay were as close as two people could be, and if Kay were with us, the idea that her professorship would be initially held by Jim would be deeply meaningful to her. I know also how much it means to Jim that the professorship created in his name initially will be held by so beloved and talented a colleague as Krystel. The creation of the two Aquavella professorships is a wonderful event.” 

You can read more about the establishment of the Aquavella professorships in the November 2013 issue of Fast Forward.

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Meliora Weekend 2015

 

Celebrate the University of Rochester at our 15th Meliora Weekend, October 8 through October 11. Renowned author and biographer Walter Isaacson will deliver the weekend’s keynote address on October 10. Issacson’s 2011 book, Steve Jobs, is being adapted into a major motion picture directed by Academy Award-winner Danny Boyle. 

Headlining the entertainment is Emmy- and Tony Award-winner Kristin Chenoweth, who will perform at the Eastman Theatre as part of the Eastman Presents series on October 9.

Meliora Weekend features class reunions, Yellowjacket sports, gallery exhibitions, our exclusive series of MEL Talks and much, much more. There is truly something for everyone. 

More information, including a full schedule and registration links, is coming soon. We’ll see you at Meliora Weekend!

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Tuesday
Apr212015

April 2015

A Meliora Message 

When President Joel Seligman publicly launched The Meliora Challenge in 2011, he said that we would make history. Well, we did, and we did it in a hurry, too, reaching our initial $1.2 billion goal 15 months ahead of schedule. 

President Seligman announced this significant achievement in late March at a volunteer leadership retreat in Florida that was one part celebration—marking the tremendous effort and accomplishment of the many volunteer leaders who have played a vital role in the Campaign’s success—and two parts strategic planning. [See photos from the retreat]. The initial goal may have been met, but there is still much to be done if Rochester is to reach "the next level." (Don't miss the May-June issue of Rochester Review to read more about it.)

On our way to that $1.2 billion we surpassed Campaign goals for faculty support, including the goal to establish 80 new endowed professorships (as of this issue, we are at 93), and the Annual Fund. At the same time, there are critical needs for which we continue to seek support, the most important of which is student scholarship funding. Others include programmatic support and several significant facilities projects, including the new Golisano Children's Hospital and Goergen Institute for Data Science.

Reaching a goal is not only a cause for joy, it also offers an opportunity to look toward the future and what comes next. We continue to encourage all alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students, and friends to join this historic effort. We’re racing to the finish of The Meliora Challenge, and with your continued help, we’ll cross the line together.

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Goergens Make Leadership Commitment to Data Science 

Pam and Bob Goergen '60 

In 2013, President Joel Seligman announced the University was committing $100 million to greatly expand the University’s research in data science, the centerpiece of Rochester’s five-year strategic plan. Since that time, the initiative has benefited in a big way from a small, passionate group of leaders, including the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation and Robin P’11, P’16 and Trustee Tim Wentworth P’11, P’16, who have provided major support to the Institute for Data Science and its director. Add to that list, Pam and Trustee Bob Goergen ’60.

At last month’s volunteer leadership retreat in Florida, President Seligman revealed that an $11 million commitment to the Institute by the Goergens pushed The Meliora Challenge beyond its initial $1.2 billion goal. In recognition of their transformative gift, the Institute will be named the Goergen Institute for Data Science.

“Bob and Pam have again provided us with a transformational gift that demonstrates their remarkable commitment to the future of our University,” said Seligman. “I am deeply grateful to them for helping the Institute to become a generative hub for education, research, and innovation in data science. The Goergen Institute will forever honor all they have done to make our University, and help make the world, ever better.”

The Goergens have a distinguished history as philanthropists and University patrons, and their generosity includes several significant, strategically important gifts. Their $10 million gift in 2007 enabled the construction of the Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics. In 2000, the Goergens provided $5 million for renovations to the River Campus athletic and fitness facility, which today is the Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center. And in 1997, Bob and Pam established the Goergen Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, presented annually to outstanding faculty members at the College Convocation.

A celebration for the Goergen Institute’s new building, which will bear the Wegman name in recognition of the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation’s gift in April 2014, is scheduled for next month. The building will serve as a hub for programs across disciplines where the analysis of mass quantities of data yields the discoveries that lead to the development of new world-improving applications.

“Data science is introducing exciting new research possibilities and discoveries at the University, as well as new degree programs and robust academic opportunities for students involved in a variety of studies,” said Bob, a University trustee and honorary chair of the Campaign. “Science, engineering, and mathematics are the University’s sweet spots, so being at the forefront of data science and maximizing our capabilities in high performance computing and calculating is very exciting. We are in a great position to help students become well-trained, highly skilled data scientists and meet the national demand for this kind of expertise.”

The Institute is amplifying the University’s research strengths in machine learning, artificial intelligence, biostatistics, and biomedicine, while fostering important research collaboration throughout the University and with industry partners. Researchers at the Institute have already used data science to measure risk for life-threatening heart conditions, create computer systems that can recognize human emotion, and increase the power and security of high performance computing.

“This is an important time for the University and we are happy to support this growth,” said Pam Goergen. “Making a difference is really why we give the way we give and we hope our gift inspires others to contribute and make the University of Rochester an even better place for education and research.”

You can read more about the Goergens and their commitment in the official press release.

For more information about the Goergen Institute for Data Science, visit http://www.rochester.edu/data-science.


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Myers’ Gift Extends Cancer Care

Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center 

Each year, approximately 4,000 patients from Allegany, Livingston, and Steuben counties receive care from the Wilmot Cancer Institute. Some travel for hours. Come 2016, those longer drive times will see a significant reduction. 

To provide patients more convenient access to comprehensive cancer care, the Institute is partnering with Noyes Health, Jones Memorial Hospital, and UR Medicine Radiation Oncology in Hornell to develop a cancer center in Dansville, Livingston County. 

The spirit of the regional collaboration might be best exemplified by the galvanizing support of Springwater residents Ann and Carl Myers, who live less than 25 minutes away from the planned location on the campus of Noyes Memorial Hospital. With a $2 million commitment, the couple is helping to initiate the new facility’s construction and fund the establishment of care programs. In recognition of their generosity, the new center will be named the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center.

“We are grateful for the generosity of the Myers family and the commitment of these communities to support the creation of a regional cancer center,” said Jonathan W. Friedberg, M.D., M.M.Sc., director of Wilmot Cancer Institute and Samuel E. Durand Chair. “As cancer care has become more complex, access to comprehensive and coordinated treatment is essential for patients and their families.”

This cancer center project is unique to the area and comes at a time when health systems across the country are forging relationships to ensure specialty services while improving quality.

“My wife, Ann, and I are grateful to be in a position to do this, and we think this cancer center will be good for anyone who lives in this area,” said Carl. “Whether you need to be treated for cancer or not, this will attract quality medical professionals to our community, and that will benefit everyone.”

The regional cancer center in Dansville will also provide patients with access to services such as advanced diagnostic testing, clinical trials, outpatient palliative care, and the Institute’s Judy DiMarzo Cancer Survivorship Program. Physicians at the Myers Center and the medical oncology clinic at Jones Memorial Hospital will have access to UR Medicine’s region-wide electronic medical record system and regular consultations with multidisciplinary teams focused on cancer.

You can read more about the impact the Myers’ gift will have in the official press release

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Chessins Establish Professorship in Infectious Diseases

Lawrence Chessin, M.D. '58 and Rita Chessin

Lawrence Chessin ’58 began his undergraduate career at the University in 1954, and with it, a lifelong connection to his alma mater. 

Lawrence, a retired infectious disease specialist and clinical professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD), credits his professors for the way he thinks as a physician and scientist, as well as his ultimate career path. The University is also where he met his wife, Rita. After more than 50 years, the Chessins remain grateful to Rochester for the life they have today, which they have expressed through a $1.5 million commitment to establish the Lawrence N. Chessin, M.D. ’58 and Rita R. Chessin Professorship in Infectious Diseases.

“The time I spent at the University was a treasured period in my life: I met my wife, received an education that was crème de la crème, and worked with wonderful faculty,” said Lawrence. “The University helped make me the man I am today and continues to be an important part of my life. I want to give back to the place that launched me and where so many of my passions intersect.”  

The Chessin Professorship will be held by the division chief of infectious diseases, an area of UR Medicine that combats the deadly microbes behind viral infections such as HIV, HPV, influenza, and dengue. 

“We have a long legacy of successful infectious disease research at the University, contributing to the development of vaccines for cancer, bird flu and meningitis, testing new vaccine strategies for HIV, and creating programs to prevent costly health care-associated infections like C. diff,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “The Chessins’ generosity will allow this important work to continue by supporting the next generation of infectious disease researchers at the Medical Center.” 

Lawrence continues to be actively involved in teaching and educational programs at the SMD through his role as medical director for continuing medical education at the Rochester Academy of Medicine. He is also a member of the SMD National Council, where he provides insights on the medical curriculum and plans for the school’s future.

Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle, Lawrence and Rita, a retired interior designer, have been married for more than 55 years. They reside in Rochester and have a son, Daniel Chessin, and a daughter, Margery (Chessin) Pizitz. 

You can read more about the Chessins’ gift in the official press release.

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Lams Revitalize River Campus Libraries

Joel Seligman, Mary Ann Mavrinac, vice provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries, and Evans Lam '83, '84S (MBA)

Anyone who has ever been in Rush Rhees Library is likely familiar with the patron services area just off the Roger B. Friedlander Lobby. Trustee Evans Lam ’83, ’84S (MBA), who spent extended periods of time in the Library, knows the space well, and is helping to modernize its function.

Evans and his wife, Susanna, have committed $1 million to establish the Evans and Susanna Lam Library Revitalization Fund. In recognition of the Lams’ generosity, the space will soon have a name: Evans Lam Square. 

“I am deeply appreciative of the wonderful commitment by Evans and Susanna to transform this learning space in Rush Rhees Library,” said President Joel Seligman. “Everyone who uses the library will benefit from this innovative project. They are making a difference with their generosity.”

The Lams’ philanthropy has been felt across the University. Within Simon Business School they have established the Susanna and Evans Y. Lam Professorship. At the Eastman School of Music, they created the Evans Lam Scholarship in honor of Jamal Rossi’s investiture as the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music. And every year they sponsor five undergraduates pursuing a scholarly exchange in Hong Kong through the Evans Lam Study Abroad Scholarship. The Lams also provide unrestricted support to the Annual Fund and Simon School through their Charter Membership in the George Eastman Circle.

Thanks to the Lams, Rush Rhees Library will have a state-of-the-art center for library users to conduct research, collaborate on projects, explore new technology, and unwind. 

Evans Lam Square will also be the central location for the Library’s “Q&I service,” which provides circulation and basic research support for patrons. 

“I am forever grateful to my alma mater for offering me a scholarship to pursue the best education and realize my American dream,” said Evans, a member of the Board of Trustees since 2012. “The center of my college life was the iconic Rush Rhees Library. It was my home where I could learn, discover, network, and even sleep and enjoy a good rest. It was also the hub for my various on-campus jobs to pay for my room and board. I hope the Evans Lam Square with the state-of-the-art amenities will continue to function as the center hub for our students to explore knowledge, generate ideas, establish friendships, and attain their aspirations. Meliora!”

Evans, a senior vice president of wealth management and senior portfolio manager at UBS Financial Services, Inc. in Pasadena, Calif., remains closely connected to the University as an advisor through the Simon National Council, Simon Executive Advisory Committee, and the Los Angeles Regional Cabinet. Susanna is a retired CPA, as well as an accomplished Chinese opera singer and performer.

You can read more about the Lams’ commitment in the official press release.

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Bucci Family Supports Breast Cancer Research 

Meghan, Joseph G., and Elaine Bucci

To honor their many family and friends who have battled cancer, Joseph G. and Elaine Bucci have gone on the offensive. With a $1 million commitment, the Buccis have established the Bucci Family Breast Cancer Research Fund at UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute to fight cancer at its core.

“The Bucci family’s generosity will enable us to strengthen cancer care in the Finger Lakes region through rigorous clinical and translational research,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “We are grateful for their investment in our breast cancer programs and in the physicians and scientists who seek to advance the understanding and treatment of this disease.”

Joseph is the co-founder and co-CEO of American Rock Salt Co., the world’s second-largest salt mine. He is a former history and social studies teacher, as well as a high school football coach. Elaine, a former sixth-grade teacher, is involved with many community activities in Livingston County. The Buccis have long-supported the Wilmot Cancer Institute through their George Eastman Circle membership.

The Buccis are targeting breast cancer because it is, unfortunately, an area with which they are particularly familiar. At one point, four family members were being treated for breast cancer at the same time. 

“Because of research, breast cancer care has improved so much and the effects of chemotherapy and radiation have become less debilitating,” said Elaine. “In order for treatments to continue improving, we need to support research. My hope is that a cure is found through continued research before my granddaughter Olivia grows up.”

The Wilmot Cancer Institute is the Finger Lakes region’s leader for cancer care and research, including a 100-scientist team that investigates many aspects of cancer, with an emphasis on how best to provide precision cancer care. 

You can read more about the Bucci family and their gift in the official press release.

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Phipps Installed as Wright Family Professor 

Joel Seligman, Richard Paige Phipps, Ph.D., and Mark Taubman, M.D. 

Air quality is commonly taken for granted, yet it is often tainted by harmful pollutants and particles. Long-term exposure can cause lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is the third leading cause of death for Americans. Richard Paige Phipps, Ph.D., is one of the reasons UR Medicine is known across the country and around the world for its COPD research.

Phipps is also contributing to knowledge about B-cell lymphoma, lung diseases, and several diseases with immunity and inflammatory components. He is exactly the kind of professor to whom the late couple Chauncey and Simone Wright wanted to give their support at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. On April 8, the University honored the Wrights’ desire by formally installing Phipps as the inaugural Wright Family Research Professor.

“Thanks to Chauncey and Simone’s generosity, we are able to recognize one of our finest professors,” said President Joel Seligman. “Rick has received numerous awards and honors for his distinguished research and mentorship. I am delighted to further honor that excellence with this professorship.”

A resident of Rochester, Chauncey worked at Bausch & Lomb and was later self-employed. He died in 2008 at the age of 86. Simone, born in Paris, France, died in 2011 at the age of 93. The Wright Family Research Professorship has ensured that the Wrights’ legacy will forever be linked with outstanding research at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Richard Phipps is an ideal first recipient to establish the standard for all future Wright Professors.

“I can think of no more worthy recipient of this inaugural honor than Rick,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of the Medical Center and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “In addition to the important work he is doing as a biomedical investigator, Rick is passing on his knowledge to a new generation of physician scientists. We are very fortunate to have someone of his caliber dedicated to the training of pre- and post-doctoral students.”

The holder of four patents, Phipps is a professor in the departments of environmental medicine; medicine (pulmonary and critical care); microbiology and immunology; obstetrics and gynecology; ophthalmology; pathology and laboratory medicine; and pediatrics. In his laboratory, he studies abnormal inflammatory and wound healing responses in the eye orbit and the lung that involve fibroblast biology. And he is the author or co-author of more than 250 articles as well as numerous book chapters and reviews. Some of his honors include the Arthur Kornberg Research Award, the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation Faculty Scholar, and the University’s Academic Mentoring Award.

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Celebrating Student Support

Donors from as far away as California, Florida, Texas, and the Virgin Islands joined their scholarship recipients and University leadership to celebrate the power of scholarships

Student support remains a top priority for the University as it races toward the finish of The Meliora Challenge. Scholarships and fellowships enable Rochester to continue to attract high-performing students; they give students the freedom to choose career paths based on passion rather than salary; and they are critical to maintaining a diverse learning community. This final point is especially important to Lucy P’96 and Alexander Levitan ’63M (MD), P’96.

On April 9, the Levitans hosted a scholarships reception in Minneapolis. Creators of the Levitan Family Endowed Scholarship, the Levitans expressed the importance of varied perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences to a well-balanced education. They also shared why they created their scholarship and what it was like to meet their beneficiary, Akosua Korboe ’16M (MD). The Levitans’ event is part of regional efforts to highlight the importance of supporting University of Rochester students. In Rochester, this is done every year at the Celebration of Scholarships.

The annual University-wide reception recognizes the generosity of scholarship and fellowship donors and the students who receive them. It also provides the opportunity for students to meet and personally thank their supporters.

April 26 marked the sixth year of the event and featured donors from as far away as California, Florida, Texas, and the Virgin Islands. Attendees, including President Joel Seligman, deans, and other leaders from across the University, were welcomed by Trustee Nancy Lieberman ’77, co-chair of the Scholarships Initiative for The Meliora Challenge. In 2002, Lieberman established the Nancy A. Lieberman Scholarship, awarded annually to female political science majors with demonstrated financial need.  

In addition to Lieberman, this year’s featured speakers included Elizabeth Leight ’89 and Rebecca (Becky) Graham ’10E, ’15N. Elizabeth and her husband, Nathan, recently established the Leight Foundation Endowed Scholarship to assist undergraduate students majoring in psychology. And Becky, who received the Howard Hanson Scholarship while at Eastman, is currently benefitting from the McLouth Scholarship at the School of Nursing. Becky spoke on how her scholarships have not only made her education possible, but they have also enabled her to pursue her dream of connecting with people—as a musician and a nurse. President Seligman provided closing remarks. 

You can read more stories like these in the University’s Endowed Scholarships Brochure.

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Highland Hospital Gala 2015

Highland Hospital's ninth annual gala, "Into the Mix," recognized the outstanding staff, physicians, volunteers, and benefactors who make Highland an exceptional medical facility

In January 2015, Chris Franco was admitted to Highland Hospital. Three days later, a bad fall required that Chris’s wife, Marie, also be admitted. After being together for more than 70 years, they were separated by the severity of their ailments. As their respective conditions worsened, Highland’s staff determined the best care they could provide a couple who had been inseparable was to bring them back together at a very important time. [See the Franco family’s story.]

Ensuring the ability to offer the Franco family, and others, this level of compassionate care is a big part of the Highland Hospital Gala.

On April 18, Highland held its ninth annual gala, “Into the Mix.” Co-chaired by Daniel ’93 (MS), ’95M (MD), ’97M (Res), P’16 and Linda Mendelson ’90 (MS), ’94 (PhD), P’16, Jett Mehta, and Susie Atvell, the evening recognized the outstanding staff, physicians, volunteers, and benefactors who make Highland an exceptional medical facility—past, present, and future. Helping to ensure the best possible future, Highland supporters helped provide a record-breaking $236,000 in net funds that will go toward the construction of a new 26-bed Observation Unit and enlarge and enhance Highland’s operating rooms.

Hosted by local news anchor Norma Holland, the evening was opened by remarks from Cindy Becker ’01S (MBA), vice president and COO of Highland, and Steven I. Goldstein, M.H.A., president and CEO of Highland and Strong Memorial Hospital and vice president of UR Medicine.

“In its 126th year, Highland Hospital continues to grow and thrive as Rochester’s leading community hospital,” said Goldstein. “Our affiliation with UR Medicine gives us access to leading edge technology and research that, when combined with our focus on compassionate, patient-centered care, enables us to deliver health care in ways that few community hospitals can. And that begins and ends with one goal: serving our community’s health care needs to the fullest extent possible.”

Each year, a physician who produces the quality Goldstein describes in extraordinary fashion is recognized as Physician of the Year. This year, the honor went to chief nephrologist Melissa Schiff ’01M (Res). “She sets the standard for patient and family-centered care and is the finest role model on our medical staff,” said Daniel Mendelson, M.S., M.D., who specializes in hospice and palliative medicine, of Schiff in his nomination letter.

The Gala’s other featured speakers included Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of the Medical Center and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry; Joseph Johnson ’93M (Res), chairman of Highland’s Board of Directors; and Mark A. Eidlin, M.B.A., chairman of the Highland Foundation’s Board of Directors. There was also a live auction, to which local radio personality Joe Lomonaco served as auctioneer.

To learn more about Highland Hospital visit www.urmc.rochester.edu/highland/about-us.aspx.

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Meliora on the Road

Steven Chu ’70, ’98M (HNR)

For the alumni, parents, and friends who were yearning for their favorite University “holiday,” April provided a “half-way-to-Meliora-Weekend” amuse-bouche.

On April 18, the University brought the best of Rochester to New York with “Meliora on the Road.” Featuring a keynote address from Steven Chu ’70, ’98M (HNR), former Secretary of Energy and co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for physics, a day of ideas, conversation, and connections was held at the Westin New York Grand Central. 

The day’s program began with a luncheon and University update from President Joel Seligman. Activity then shifted to learning sessions. Attendees chose from seven concurrent faculty-led presentations, divided between two, back-to-back sessions, that included titles such as “Educating Entrepreneurs: The Evolving Role of Universities in the Startup Ecosystem” and “Music for Life: The Ying Quartet.” 

Chu provided the programmatic crescendo with his address: “Energy, Climate Change, and How to Transition to a Sustainable World.” On the premise that science and technology have profoundly transformed the world, Chu spoke on how we can use discovery and innovation to mitigate the risks of climate change by making clean energy the low cost option. 

To see a full list of presentations and speakers, visit www.uofr.us/urnyc2015

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New Traditions Celebrate Giving Back

Elizabeth Beson ’17, Pedro Vallejo-Ramirez ’16, Jessica Rose ’16, Tate Richards ’17, Shanique Caddle ’18, Tim Dick ’17, Susannah Scheffler ’16, and Antoinette Esce ’15 mark the first-ever Thank A Giver (TAG) Day

New traditions don’t come along every day. That’s what made Tuesday, April 21 stand out, as a pair of events debuted, each highlighting a different aspect of the importance of supporting the University of Rochester and its Medical Center.

The first-ever University-wide Day of Giving encouraged alumni, faculty, staff, patients, and friends to make a gift or pledge to support Rochester, while Thank A Giver (TAG) Day focused on just that—expressing gratitude to Rochester’s vast network of supporters. The events were a partnership between Rochester’s Annual Giving Programs and the Office of Alumni Relations.

In celebration of the Day of Giving, donors made gifts or pledges to any school, program, or area across the University and Medical Center. By the day’s end, 1,017 donors had given an impressive $739,148. Community members promoted the day by posting photos, encouraging their friends to get involved, and adding the hashtags #URMakingADifference and #URTAGDay2015 to all their communications. Hundreds of social media posts mentioned the day’s activities.

TAG Day was created primarily as an effort to engage and educate students about the incredible impact philanthropy has on our campus. Buildings, centers, and spaces bearing the names of their benefactors, such as Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics, Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation, Raymond F. LeChase Hall, Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center, and Roger B. Friedlander Lobby were bedecked with tags. In total, more than 550 River Campus items including benches, portraits, library books, and even trees were decorated with laminated tags bearing messages like “Thank You Rochester Donors: TAG Day 2015” and “A Rochester Donor Did This For You!”

In the afternoon, Wilson Commons’ Hirst Lounge (which was also tagged) buzzed with activity as TAG Day staff encouraged students and other visitors to step into the TAG photo booth and offer thanks to Rochester givers, write a personal thank you on a large mural, and make a gift to their class campaign.

“We couldn’t be happier with the success of our Day of Giving and TAG Day,” said Thomas Farrell ’88 ’90W (MS), senior vice president and chief advancement officer. “It’s always gratifying to see our community embrace the importance of supporting the University and get involved however they can. These are new events, but we laid a great foundation on April 21 and I can see them both expanding and continuing far into the future.”

See photos from the inaugural Thank A Giver Day.

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Thursday
Mar192015

March 2015

A Meliora Message 

Nothing embodies Meliora more fully than the University's health care providers, researchers, and educators. 

This summer we will be dedicating an “ever better” Golisano Children’s Hospital, but its bricks and mortar are just part of a larger equation. No hospital—or any entity, really—would be worth much without the skills and talents of the people working inside it. That’s why endowed professorships, which enable us to attract and retain internationally recognized faculty members, remain critically important to providing Medicine of the Highest Order. 

On the River Campus, we continue to define our leadership in the analysis and application of big data with the development of the Institute for Data Science. Here, too, people are among its greatest assets. These are the researchers who are making discoveries that are helping us advance health care and better understand our world.

This month, we celebrated three new endowed professorships—two supporting pediatrics and the other, data science. It is exciting and gratifying to see the importance you place on the intellectual manpower within our community. 

State-of-the-art facilities plus a world-class faculty equals one of the 21st century’s leading research universities. That is Meliora. 

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Ganatras Support Pediatric Cardiac Care 

Tansukh, Sarla, and Rajesh Ganatra 

The Children’s Heart Center at Golisano Children’s Hospital provides the highest quality preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic care for its young patients and their families. Much of that important work takes place in its state-of-the-art Pediatric Cardiac Care Center—and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. 

Grateful for the researchers and physicians who have helped their family and the families of so many others, the Ganatra family has made a $1.5 million commitment to create the Tansukh, Sarla and Rajesh Ganatra Professorship in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery

“Professorships are the building blocks of a great university,” said President Joel Seligman. “We are deeply grateful to the Ganatra family for their contribution to the future health of children born with life-threatening conditions. In a few months, we’ll be opening a new Golisano Children’s Hospital and fervent supporters like the Ganatras are ensuring we will have the very best doctors caring for our patients.”

Tansukh, Sarla, and Rajesh Ganatra made the commitment to fund an endowed professorship in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery out of gratitude to the URMC doctors who have assisted numerous family members and dear friends. Funding from the professorship may be used to support the holder’s salary, benefits, research, or programmatic needs.

The professorship is part of the family’s longtime support of pediatric cardiology at the Medical Center. They have also pledged a significant portion of their family estate to the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute. 

“We may not be around to benefit from the research and work done today, but if it helps future generations, why not support it?” said Tansukh, who believes the best kind of happiness comes from helping others. “When you leave this world, you don’t take anything with you. While we are alive, we want to share with others and continue to help.”

Tansukh, now retired, was vice-chairman and chief executive officer of North Carolina based US LEC, which he co-founded with Aab. Previously, Tansukh worked for ACC Corp. in Rochester, as president and chief operating officer, and at Rochester Telephone Corp. He was born in Uganda and met his wife, Sarla, at University College in Kenya. They have lived in Charlotte, N.C. for 24 years subsequent to residing in Rochester for 21 years. Their son, Rajesh, obtained his accounting degree at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte in May 1994 and works in philanthropy, web design, and financial management.

You can read more about the Ganatras’ gift in the official press release.

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Lawrence Installed as Inaugural Northumberland Trust Professor

Joel Seligman, Ruth Lawrence ’49M (MD), ’58M (Res), and Mark Taubman, M.D. 

Local Legends is a nationwide effort by the National Institutes of Health and the American Medical Women’s Association to highlight outstanding women physicians who have demonstrated commitment, originality, innovation, or creativity in their fields of medicine. In 2004, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter nominated Ruth A. Lawrence ’49M (MD), ’58M (Res).

Lawrence has led a distinguished career as a pediatrician, clinical toxicologist, and neonatologist. In addition to helping pioneer neonatology as a specialty, she is an international authority on breastfeeding and a poison control expert. Slaughter described her as a “sterling role model for aspiring women doctors,” but Lawrence’s contributions to pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology have made her an exemplar for all aspiring physicians. 

On March 5, the University community recognized Lawrence’s excellence as a researcher, educator, mentor, and clinician during a ceremony installing her as the inaugural Northumberland Trust Professor in Pediatrics.

“It is an exciting time for the University’s Department of Pediatrics with the opening of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital on the horizon,” said President Joel Seligman. “This would not be a world-class health care facility without the world-class faculty to go with it. Thanks to our anonymous donor, we’re able to honor someone who is revered by her peers in the field of toxicology. I can think of no better physician, teacher, or person than Ruth Lawrence to be the first holder of this professorship.”

Since the beginning of The Meliora Challenge, the University has added 52 endowed professorships within the School of Medicine and Dentistry. 

“Ruth exemplifies what endowed professorships are all about,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of the Medical Center and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “She is tireless in her work, prolific in her research, and uplifting in her demeanor, nurturing all of those around her.”

Lawrence has been director of what is now the Ruth A. Lawrence Poison and Drug Information Center since 1958. Her specialties include the toxicology of plants and herbs as well as medications during pregnancy and lactation. She is also the director of the Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center, which she founded in 1985, and the author of Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, now in its 8th edition. And she was the founding member and past president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

In addition to numerous University awards, Lawrence received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Toxicology in 2002. 

She and her late husband, Robert M. Lawrence ’49M (MD), are the parents of nine children, of whom three have pursued careers in medicine.

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Kautz Installed as Inaugural Wentworth Director

Joel Seligman, Tim Wentworth P’11, P’16, Robin Wentworth P’11, P’16, and Henry Kautz ’87 (PhD)

Twitter often gives snapshots of a user’s life, which can lead to tweets like “Can’t get out of bed #sickforever” or “Ugh, sick. Must have soup.” In the world of data science, these are not just innocuous tweets, they’re symptoms. University Professor of Computer Science Henry Kautz ’87 (PhD) was able to demonstrate an ability to predict the spread of flu by mining Twitter for reports of illness, an approach he believes could potentially revolutionize how we identify and address large-scale epidemics.

Since joining the faculty in 2006, Kautz has been a major contributor to the Data Science Initiative at the University, as the founding director of the Institute for Data Science. Thanks to a $3 million commitment from Robin C. Wentworth P’11, P’16 and University Trustee Timothy C. Wentworth P’11, P’16, the University was able to recognize Kautz’s leadership, scholarship, and his development of the undergraduate and graduate programs at Rochester.

On March 12, Kautz was formally installed as the inaugural Robin and Tim Wentworth Director of the Institute for Data Science, and the Wentworths were honored for their generous support.

“There are few projects at the University that have received as much focus as the Institute for Data Science. The directorship established through the generosity of Robin and Tim Wentworth is one of the most important gifts in support of the Institute,” said President Joel Seligman. “It is hard to overstate my gratitude for their commitment to our faculty. Our aspirations in data science are rooted in people, and Henry Kautz is someone who will help Rochester become a magnet for extraordinary faculty and students and further put Rochester on the map by keeping us at the forefront of this still burgeoning field.”

The Wentworths’ directorship follows the creation of the Wentworth Family Endowed Scholarship (2010) in support of students transferring to the University from community or junior colleges and a leadership gift at the Warner School of Education for which LeChase Hall’s atrium was named in their honor. They also provide annual unrestricted support to the Rochester Parents Fund as Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle. 

Part of the University’s expansion in data science includes adding as many as 20 new faculty members. So far, seven have been hired. Although attracting more experts in the field remains a priority, there is no addition more important to the Institute’s future than the establishment of the Wentworth Directorship. 

“This is a key position at a key time,” said Robert L. Clark, senior vice president for research and dean of the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. “Henry’s been a catalyst for the development of the Institute’s curriculum and has played a critical role in organizing the faculty to focus on the technology and tools that enable the analysis of big data. He’s also one of the nation’s top minds in artificial intelligence and has frequently been sought by peer universities so having this directorship to retain his leadership has been tremendous.”

Kautz conducts his research in social and public health, grounded natural language learning, pervasive computing, search algorithms, and assistive technology. Prior to joining the University he was a researcher and department head at Bell Labs and at AT&T Laboratories, until becoming a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington in 2000. He is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, where he has served as president and is the winner of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence’s Computers and Thought Award. His research in artificial intelligence and pervasive computing has received more than 20,000 citations.

You can read more about the Wentworths and their gift in the official press release.

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Wednesday
Feb182015

February 2015

A Meliora Message 

Our colors are blue and yellow, but during Rochester’s winter months, white makes a strong case. For some of you, however, green is still part of your daily palette. Regardless of the time of year or the prominent colors wherever you call home, the spirit of Meliora remains a commonality between us all.

Whether we are separated by streets, states, or several thousand miles, we remain connected by an ethos that drives us to be “ever better.” It has helped you connect and re-connect with peers and classmates during Meliora Weekend. Some of you shared its effect on your life in a Meliora Moment. And it has been a mutual motivator for supporting The Meliora Challenge.

In this month’s issue of Fast Forward we feature gifts, from St. Louis and Rochester, that are helping the University maintain its faculty excellence. This is just one example of how the expansive and dedicated network of alumni, faculty and staff, parents, and friends are fostering the Campaign’s momentum.

The University community knows no bounds, and that is why we will succeed in our mission to make the world “ever better.”

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Wentworths Endow Director of Institute for Data Science 

Robin P'11, P'16 and Timothy Wentworth P'11, P'16

Rochester natives Robin P’11, P’16 and Timothy Wentworth P’11, P’16 continue to build on a legacy that includes support for University students, facilities, the Annual Fund, and now faculty. With a $3 million commitment, the Wentworths have established the Robin and Tim Wentworth Directorship of the Institute for Data Science.

Founding and current director of the Institute for Data Science (IDS) Henry Kautz, professor of computer science in the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, has been named the inaugural Wentworth Director.

“I could not be more grateful to Robin and Tim for their generous pledge to the University and Data Science Initiative,” said President Joel Seligman. “Their remarkable commitment to establish this directorship shows great vision as they are helping to secure our place at the forefront of this burgeoning field. With this gift, they are ensuring that we have exceptional leadership for the future.”

The IDS is a top priority for the University. As the centerpiece of the University’s current five-year strategic plan, the Data Science Initiative features the construction of a state-of-the-art building to house the IDS, as well as support for new faculty members with expertise in the field.

“It’s very exciting to be on the ground floor of something that will be of long-term strategic significance to the University and of major importance to the world,” said Tim, a member of the Board of Trustees. “Robin and I both believe strongly in thoughtful analytical solutions to problems, and data science captures our imagination. We hope that our commitment to the IDS at this important time has a compounding effect to draw in a wide range of support for the Institute so that it can really be built out to its complete potential.”

Over the years, the Wentworths’ vision and dedication have enabled potential throughout the University. In 2010, Robin and Tim—graduates of Monroe Community College—established the Wentworth Family Endowed Scholarship to assist students who are transferring to the University of Rochester from a community or junior college. Two years later, Wentworth Atrium in Raymond F. LeChase Hall was named in honor of the significant support the Wentworths gave to the Warner School of Education. And they provide ongoing support to the Rochester Parents Fund through their George Eastman Circle membership.

In addition to being members of the Northern New Jersey Regional Cabinet, Tim and Robin are members of the University’s Parents Council and are co-chairs of the Parents Initiative for The Meliora Challenge. Two of their three daughters are members of the University of Rochester community—Elizabeth Wentworth ’11 and Abigail Wentworth ’16.

Read more about the Wentworths’ gift and the inaugural Wentworth Director in the official press release.

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Dorsey Installed as Inaugural Levy Professor

Mark Taubman, M.D., President Joel Seligman, Ray Dorsey '07M (Flw), and Chairman Emeritus G. Robert Witmer '59

As many as one million people in the U.S. are coping with Parkinson’s disease. For many, it can be extremely difficult to see a doctor in person due to the tremors, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking and balance. Their inability to access care significantly increases the need for care by skilled nurses and the risk of hip fracture and even death.

What if patients didn’t have to leave their homes? 

Ray Dorsey ’07M (Flw) is working on it. Dorsey, director of the Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics and the Center for Health and Technology, is leading the application of telemedicine models to treat patients who have Parkinson’s disease.

For work that is exemplary of Medicine of the Highest Order, Dorsey has been made the inaugural David M. Levy Professor in Neurology. On January 27, Dorsey and his position’s namesake, the late David M. Levy, were recognized by the University community at a formal installation ceremony.

“David was grateful to his doctors at the Medical Center for being able to stay active so late in life, despite having Parkinson’s disease,” said President Joel Seligman. “His enduring legacy will help future generations enjoy the same freedoms by enabling great physicians and researchers like Ray to battle Parkinson’s and other debilitating neurological diseases through the establishment of this professorship.”

David was a lifelong Rochesterian who died in 2011, at the age of 92. A U.S. Navy veteran who served in World War II, David practiced law for 60 years and was an active skier and fisherman. He continued to ski until he was 87 years old and went on his last fly fishing trip just months before his death. At age 90, he was still going into his law office.

The Levy Professorship, created in David’s name, was funded by a gift from his estate to honor his desire to support the Department of Neurology and research related to Parkinson’s disease. Dorsey makes an ideal first holder, as he and his colleagues are using web-based video conferencing to make virtual house calls, a treatment approach that could potentially allow more patients to live independently in their homes and still receive the specialized care they need.

“Ray is an extraordinary faculty member who exemplifies what endowed professorships are all about,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., CEO of the Medical Center and UR Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “His work has the potential to affect the lives of thousands, as it holds the key to providing subspecialty care to patients for whom a trip to Rochester is impractical or impossible.”

Dorsey is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Academy of Neurology’s Jon Stolk Award in Movement Disorders for Young Investigators in 2010. His research has been published in leading medical, neurology, and economic journals, and he has been featured as an expert on National Public Radio, in The New York Times, and in The Wall Street Journal.

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