December 2011

Fay and Roy Whitney Establish Endowed Fund

Ralph “Roy” Whitney, Jr. and Fay Wadsworth Whitney

Wyoming residents, Fay Wadsworth Whitney ’60, ’61N, PhD, RN, FAAN and Ralph “Roy” Whitney, Jr. ’57, ’73S (MBA), have given the School of Nursing inspirational momentum with a gift of $1 million. The Whitneys’ gift will establish the Ralph R. and Fay Wadsworth Whitney Endowed Fund, which will provide scholarships, fellowships, and grants to students in nurse practitioner or more advanced degree programs who have the desire to collaborate in research or clinical settings.

“Roy and I believe very strongly in helping students achieve their goals,” says Fay. “As I look back on my own professional experience, one of the things I’ve always been passionate about is building bridges among and between health care providers. . . . Our hope is that our gift may encourage other alumni to support the School in a similar way.”

School of Nursing Interim Dean Kathy H. Rideout explains that the gift supports the School’s critical goal to build a stronger endowment and provide scholarship assistance to students without straining the operating budget. “We are profoundly grateful,” says Rideout. “I look forward to sharing with Fay and Roy, the success stories of the first Whitney scholars to benefit from their generosity.”

Fay, who celebrated her 50th class reunion at the School of Nursing in 2010, recently accepted the role of co-chair for the School’s campaign, which is part of The Meliora Challenge, with Board of Trustees member Roger B. Friedlander ’56, who also chairs the School’s National Council.

“The Whitneys have been great friends and wise counselors for the University for many years,” said University President Joel Seligman. “They are dedicated to supporting exceptional students toward meaningful careers in the nursing profession and their gift is an inspiring start for the School of Nursing’s comprehensive campaign moving forward.”

Since graduating, Fay has led a highly regarded career as a clinician, teacher, and researcher. She has received more than $1 million in research grants and co-authored two books. She has also earned numerous awards along the way, including the School of Nursing Distinguished Alumna Award. Roy, a Dean's Medal recipient, is chairman emeritus of Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company, Inc., one of the nation’s oldest and most successful private equity firms.

The Whitneys have always remained closely connected to their alma mater. Roy is a long-time member of the University Board of Trustees and serves on the Simon School National Council and the Simon School Executive Advisory Committee. Fay served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the School of Nursing from 2002 to 2008. She is an inaugural member of the School of Nursing’s National Council and a member of the Eleanor Hall Bequest Society. Both are Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle.

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Values and Action

As we approach the close of the calendar year, and begin to celebrate the holidays with those closest to us, I want to extend my warmest of wishes for a happy and healthy year to you and yours.

Thanks to the hard work we have all done together, our progress and enthusiasm leading into 2012 is tremendous. Since the beginning of this year, we have seen a remarkable outpouring of support from the University community. For example, we have received 39 commitments of $1 million or more this year. We are incredibly thankful for the momentum they produced leading into our recent public Campaign kickoff.

The Campaign is not only about reaching our goal of $1.2 billion by 2016. It is also about building a larger, distinguished national community of alumni, community leaders, parents, friends, students, and all who share an incredible pride in and excitement about Rochester.

The Meliora Challenge has come together through the support and guidance of the University’s community of leaders. I am thankful for our Trustees, led by Ed Hajim, the leadership of our Campaign Cabinet, led by Rich Handler and Cathy Minehan, the vision of President Seligman and his Cabinet, and all of the incredible people who are making an impact on the University daily. 

As we look ahead to 2012, we need to build on our momentum. Part of this drive includes launching targeted campaigns for specific schools and units, such as the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center and the Memorial Art Gallery. We will also host regional campaign kickoffs in San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. During this exciting time, we must always remain attuned to the opportunities each of us has to reach out to our own network, engage additional George Eastman Circle members, and more actively invite a friend or colleague to become involved.

Together, we are doing no less than strengthening the University as we help tackle some of society’s most pressing and difficult challenges. Within our University, change begins, discoveries are made, children are healed, great human expression is created, and the leaders of tomorrow initiate their own important journeys.

Wishing you the best of the season and a Happy New Year!



James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer

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Installation of the
Robert J. Joynt Professor
in the Department of Neurology

Robert Joynt, Karl Kieburtz ’85M (MD), ’85M (MPH), and David Butler.

“In recognizing Bob, we truly recognize a legend. Bob is an individual who has a gift for friendship, for recruitment, and for building a school,” opened President Seligman at the installation ceremony for Karl D. Kieburtz ’85M (MD), ’85M (MPH) as the Robert J. Joynt Professor in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Joynt is a professor of neurology, neurobiology, and anatomy, and was named a Distinguished University Professor by the Board of Trustees. He is internationally recognized for his leadership in neurological teaching, practice, and research.

The Robert J. Joynt Professorship was created in honor of Dr. Joynt with support from more than 150 donors, including a capstone gift from the Butler family. David Butler’s late wife, Janet, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when she was 46 years old. From 1997 until 2004, Janet participated in research trials as a part of her treatment at the University of Rochester Medical Center, with the belief that supporting scientific research was the best way she could contribute to advancements in treatment. David explained that “genuine, unconditional kindness and respect” were the foundations of every encounter she had with each physician and nurse who cared for her.

That kindness inspired the Butler family to support patient-centered research at the Medical Center by making the capstone gift, creating the professorship. The Robert J. Joynt Professorship supports an outstanding individual in the neurology department for the purpose of research aimed at patient-oriented experimental therapeutics of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, and the study of the aging human brain.

“Work hard, and when it comes to the patient, you can’t always be right, but you can always be kind,” said Dr. Joynt as he shared his “secrets to success” with a crowd of 150 friends, colleagues, and supporters. But as has been the case throughout his lifetime, it was his humor and warm heart that left the greatest impression.

Dr. Joynt’s impact was never lost on Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), University senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Echoing President Seligman’s opening sentiments, Dr. Berk said, “People who Bob has brought to the University have been the foundation of the neurology department and the University. If anyone was a paternal figure for this Medical Center, it was Bob.”

Dr. Joynt was proud and honored to have a former student of his become the inaugural Robert J. Joynt Professor—and in the end, it was Dr. Kieburtz who was truly humbled. “I know what Bob has done, and it makes me want to be a better man in three areas,” said Dr. Kieburtz in his closing remarks. He continued by explaining that those areas are: "service to the University and profession; humility; and using humor to care for patients and their families."

Endowed professorships support and honor current faculty and ensure that research continues in perpetuity. “Bob Joynt’s name will be hallowed in these halls as long as there is a School of Medicine at the University of Rochester,” proclaimed President Seligman. “At the risk of going out on a limb―that is going to be a long, long time.”

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Highlights from 2011:
A Year of Making History

George Eastman Circle Nears 2,000: At the close of 2010, the George Eastman Circle had surpassed 1,600 members. In only a year’s time, it now sits on the brink of 2,000. Every new membership represents a commitment to a vision originally held by George Eastman, himself. Unrestricted annual giving through the George Eastman Circle enables members to support their passions. This is a milestone that everyone can be proud of as we pursue the goal of $130 million for the Annual Fund as part of the $1.2 billion goal of The Meliora Challenge.

Click here to make a year-end gift and become a member today!   

Renowned soprano, Renée Fleming ’83E (MM), ’11E (HNR), performed in a benefit concert with the Eastman Philharmonia Orchestra.

Renée Fleming ’83E (MM), ’11E (HNR) Benefit Concert: The beloved soprano returned to the Eastman School of Music, her alma mater, for a concert benefiting the Renée Fleming Endowed Scholarship Fund at the Eastman School of Music. This fund supports students in the voice and opera program. Under the direction of Neil Varon and the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music, Douglas Lowry, the Eastman Philharmonia provided the music to accompany Fleming’s award-winning voice. The program spanned a variety of styles, and concluded with an encore from La Traviata where Fleming was joined by three Eastman student tenors.


New York Times columnist David Brooks speaks to members of the George Eastman Circle at the New York City dinner in February.

NYC George Eastman Circle Dinner: February 10 was a celebration of milestones for the George Eastman Circle. Hundreds of alumni and friends dined at The Pierre in New York City to celebrate the leadership annual giving society’s fifth year. New York Times columnist David Brooks provided a wonderful keynote address on a night that was highlighted by the announcement of the new Associate Member level exclusively for recent graduates. This membership level adds a new dimension to the George Eastman Circle by encouraging young leaders to earn a place in University history for their dedication to and belief in Rochester’s future. 


Mary Beth McCann ’89N, Dr. Robert McCann, Mary Berk, Dr. Brad Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), Ted Kennedy, Jr., and Mark Eidlin at the Highland Hospital Gala in March.

Highland Hospital Gala: The Hyatt Regency was host to a sold-out gala of more than 500 advocates of Highland Hospital on March 26. Proceeds from the event went to supporting the Hospital’s new neuromedicine unit. Ted Kennedy Jr., the event’s keynote speaker, praised the Hospital’s foresight in developing this unit, highlighting the importance of an integrated approach when providing care to patients with the greatest needs.


“Community of leaders” at the Campaign Planning Retreat in March.

Campaign Planning Retreat: More than 200 Campaign volunteers, Board, academic, and administrative leaders joined together for a historic first-time meeting of the University’s “community of leaders.” In what was an unprecedented retreat, more than 20 roundtable discussions were held to sharpen Campaign themes leading up to the public launch of The Meliora Challenge. Volunteers provided invaluable vision, strategy, creativity, discipline, and collaboration that helped to build a successful Campaign, and remain a key to greatness in future University endeavors. Since the retreat, the impact of volunteers and the Campaign's momentum has continued to build as the growing community of leaders enables the University to become ever better.


Nancy Yanes-Hoffman ’50, ’68 (MA) and Marvin Hoffman ’45, ’50M (Res) with the Dr. Marvin J. Hoffman Medical School Fund Scholars (l to r) Elise Meoli ’11M (MD), Margaret Compton, Brian Pisula, Tina Jensen, and Reija Matheson at the 2011 Endowed Scholarship Dinner.

2nd Annual Endowed Scholarship Dinner: The University held its second annual endowed scholarship dinner on April 14 in the M&T Ballroom at the Memorial Art Gallery. The University-wide event recognizes the generous donors of endowed scholarships and their talented student beneficiaries, while emphasizing the growing importance of endowed scholarships. Underscoring this message were remarks and performances by recipients, bringing to life the opportunities and experiences their scholarships have given them.


Robert Novy-Marx, New Jersey Governor Christopher Christie, and Peter Simon ’08S (HNR) at the Simon School’s second annual conference, highlighting and responding to key issues facing corporations today.

Simon NYC Conference: “Emerging Risks to America’s Financial Stability” was the theme of Simon’s second annual conference. Notable presenters included New Jersey Governor Christopher Christie and Simon faculty member Robert Novy-Marx discussing unfunded pension liabilities, and Steve Levitt, author of the bestsellers Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics. Featured panel discussions included alumni Jay Benet ’76S (MBA), vice chairman and CFO of The Travelers Companies, Inc., and Robert Khuzami ’79, director of the Division of Enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission. Peter G. Peterson ’94S (HNR), founder and chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation was awarded the inaugural “Executive of the Year Award.”


Marianne Bittner, Dick Bell, Sue and Bob Kessler at the 12th annual James P. Wilmot Cancer Center Discovery Ball.

12th Annual Discovery Ball: The James P. Wilmot Cancer Center hosted 700 guests at the Robert B. Wegman Conference Facility on May 21. The event raised $651,995 and presented the Inspiration Award to Richard “Dick” T. Bell for the compassionate support he has shown to cancer patients and the professorship he established in honor of his radiation oncologist, Dr. Yuhchyau Chen.

To view the video of Dick Bell’s story, click here.


Guests enjoy the ambience of the Memorial Art Gallery at the 44th Annual Garden Party.

44th Annual Garden Party: President Seligman’s keynote address, “The University and the Community,” provided 600 guests at the Memorial Art Gallery in early June, an inspiring look back at the University’s 1924 campaign. More than 40 students and faculty were highlighted for their achievements and recognition by national and international organizations, as President Seligman painted a picture of the University’s strength.

Click here to read President Seligman's remarks.

Regional Cabinets Convene: The Regional Cabinets in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago are now joined by Washington, D.C., Delaware Valley, Westchester-Fairfield Counties, and New York “New Leaders” in the effort to strengthen the University presence throughout the country. The four newest Cabinets held their inaugural operational meetings, developing strategies to maximize local University of Rochester visibility and engagement. Over the course of the year, Cabinet members have meaningful interactions with University leaders through regional meetings and dinners. The Regional Cabinets are comprised of more than 100 alumni and parents and represent all schools and units while playing a critical role in regional engagement and Campaign efforts.

For a photo gallery of the new Regional Cabinets, click here.


Sara DeLamater Scotto ’96 of West Granby, CT poses on the Eastman Quad meridian with children (l to r) Jacob, (7), Lucas, (5), and Kathryn, (9), during University of Rochester's Meliora Weekend, October 21, 2011.

Meliora Week: More than 10,000 people were welcomed to University campuses and events throughout Meliora Week this past October. Meliora Weekend and the opening of Extreme Materials 2 at the Memorial Art Gallery began the celebrations that continued through the week leading up to the Golisano Children's Hospital Gala.

Meliora Weekend broke records for both attendance and Reunion class giving. More than 9,200 alumni, students, parents, faculty, friends, and staff members enjoyed 230 programs over the course of four days this past October. President Bill Clinton provided an inspiring keynote address to a standing-room-only crowd in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre­ while thousands of people watched via simulcast. Student groups performed throughout the weekend, and the University hosted several hot topic panel discussions such as The Rochester Forum on Alzheimer’s research and treatment. The combined Presidential Symposium―Miller’s Court with moderator Arthur Miller ’56, ’08 (LLD), featured supreme and district court justices discussing “The Meaning of the Constitution.”


The public phase of the Campaign was launched on Friday, October 21, when President Seligman announced the $1.2 billion goal of The Meliora Challenge.

Campaign Kickoff: Rochester spent two days celebrating the launch of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. It began with President Seligman formally announcing the Campaign goal of $1.2 billion to more than 700 dinner guests on Friday, October 21. The importance of the Campaign was framed by speakers including Ed Hajim ’58, Vice President Paul Burgett ’68E, ’72E (MA), ’76E (PhD), and Campaign Co-Chair Rich Handler ’83, as well as moving testimonials from two students, a faculty member, and a doctor and patient. On Saturday, the entire University community came together for A Celebration of Meliora, an event that could not have been more aptly named. More than 2,000 alumni, parents, students, faculty, guests, and staff took part in the inspirational and high-energy gala celebration whose highlights captured the spirit of both the night and the Campaign. Student groups from across the University performed throughout the evening; attendees engaged in conversation areas and interactive exhibits based on the four “pillars” of the University’s mission; and at 10:30 p.m., Library Road became a viewing site for a spectacular fireworks display over the Genesee River.

To learn more about The Meliora Challenge, click here.

2011 Advancement Awards: Rochester alumni and friends were honored this fall by their respective schools for exemplifying the University’s mission to Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—and make the world ever better.

Click here to see photos of the 2011 advancement award recipients.

Tom Golisano speaks to more than 930 attendees at the 24th annual Wonderland-themed Golisano Children’s Hospital Gala.

Golisano Children’s Hospital Campaign Launch: On October 29, the Golisano Children’s Hospital announced its $100 million campaign during the 24th annual Golisano Children’s Hospital Gala at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Including some major gift commitments prior to the event, $1.3 million was raised at the Alice in Wonderland-themed event. In addition to enabling the hospital to attract and retain more world-class pediatric scientists, clinicians, and educators, the campaign will help fund the largest capital project in University history—a new, state-of-the-art Golisano Children’s Hospital building.


Erich Postler, David Klein, and Brad Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD) at the 11th Annual Toast to Your Health Wine Auction benefiting the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center.

The 11th Annual Toast to Your Health Wine Auction: The perennial black-tie wine event was held on Saturday, November 12. Wine connoisseurs and supporters of the University of Rochester Medical Center gathered to bid on vintage and highly rated wines to benefit the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. Thanks in part to a generous matching gift by University Trustee Danny Wegman and his wife, Stency, more than $950,000 went to the Linde Klein Fund for Head and Neck Cancer Research.

To view the video shown at the Toast to Your Health Wine Wine Auction, click here.

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Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a new year that enables everyone to Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—and make the world ever better.

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