July 2012

Ronald Rettner Stimulates Innovation and Collaborative Learning 

An artist’s rendering of the new Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation by Boston-based architectural firm Goody Clancy

University Trustee and philanthropist Ronald Rettner (pictured left) is advancing The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester by helping to put Rochester at the forefront of the digital media world. With a recent leadership gift, Rettner has enabled construction to begin on the Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation.

“Ronald has been a visionary supporter of education for more than two decades,” said President Joel Seligman. “As an entrepreneur himself, he recognizes the importance of hands-on and collaborative student learning and the critical need to bring together knowledge and insights from many different disciplines.”

Facilities are a priority of The Meliora Challenge and make up $120 million of the Campaign’s overall $1.2 billion goal. By supporting the construction of this facility, Rettner is not only advancing the Campaign’s progress, he is also stimulating innovation. Through Rettner Hall and the new digital media studies major, the University will drive novel technologies that lead to the creation of new media.

At the intersection of the arts, sciences, and engineering, Rettner Hall will provide a place for students to gain both practical skills and a theoretical understanding of digital technology. The three-story, 18,900-square-foot facility will give students access to an interactive media playground, featuring a fabrication lab, sound and video recording studios, high-end computers, and 3-D printers.

An open design and flexible workspaces will provide an atmosphere that encourages interaction and collaboration. With its inclusive layout and dynamic functionality, Rettner Hall will also be an environment that creates a new dimension of education. In effect, students will be learning from each other as much they are learning in the classroom.

“I am excited to be a part of this cutting-edge venture,” said Rettner. “Interactions among students complement everything in the classroom, and by bringing humanities, engineering, and technology under one roof the potential for collaborations are endless.”    

Rettner is president of Rettner Management Corporation and is managing partner of Baron Associates, a real estate investment, finance, and management company with national holdings. Since 1975, Rettner has served as director of the Morris B. Rettner Foundation, an organization honoring his father’s commitment to the community that supports scholarships, research, and civic projects. He is also a member of numerous other civic and charitable boards.

For more information, click here.

Values and Action

As we closed the books on Fiscal Year 2012, I was filled with tremendous pride. I’m proud that, once again, we have demonstrated Meliora is more than the University’s motto. We have exemplified a shared resolution to always reach further. The inspirational philanthropy of our donors and the steadfast commitment of our Community of Leaders have allowed us to enjoy growth in all four key metrics of fundraising success, which include new commitments, total cash, our book of pledges, and the Annual Fund.

This past fiscal year brought $149.4 million in new commitments, eclipsing the previous year’s record-breaking performance. In total cash we reached $92.9 million, which is the second largest cash year in University history. Our book of pledges saw a $58 million increase, ending at $256 million. Finally, our ever-remarkable Annual Fund has posted its seventh straight annual increase. The Annual Fund’s record year of $12.3 million is largely a reflection of the 430 new George Eastman Circle memberships.

Together, we have set the bar for Fiscal Year 2013, and I am confident we have the ability to reach it and soar above it. Through the time, generosity, and leadership of our volunteer leaders, academic and administrative partners, and Advancement staff, we will continue to be ever better.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer

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Wisch Professor in Biology Installed

From left to right: Nathaniel (Nat) Wisch ’55, Helen Wisch, and John (Jack) H. Werren, Ph.D.

On June 27, before family, friends, and leaders of the University community, John (Jack) H. Werren, Ph.D., was installed as the inaugural Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professor in Biology. Dr. Werren is an expert in evolutionary genetics, and his research is leading to a greater understanding of the transfer of genetic traits, including those contributing to disease states.

Guests gathered at the Metropolitan Club in New York City to recognize Dr. Werren as one of the University’s most distinguished scholars and honor two of its most dedicated supporters, University Trustee Nathaniel (Nat) Wisch ’55 and his wife, Helen. President Joel Seligman noted the importance of the fundamental partnership between academia and philanthropy to the University’s success and impact on society.

“This type of cutting-edge research is what will allow the work going on at the University of Rochester to literally change the world,” said President Seligman, referring to Dr. Werren’s work. “Without the generosity of great supporters like Nat and Helen Wisch, we would be less able to attract and retain the world’s best scientists, like Dr. Werren.”

The first endowed professorship to be established exclusively for the biology department, the Wisch Professorship honors scholars who are advancing the field of biology and serving as an inspiration to their students. As longstanding supporters of the University, the Wisches had previously established the Dr. Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Endowed Scholarship, benefiting students majoring in biology.

Endowed scholarships and professorships are priorities of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. As Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle at the Founder level, the Wisches have supported the University in a number of ways. In addition to being a University Trustee, Dr. Wisch is a member of the Eastman School of Music National Council and co-chair of the New York New Leaders Regional Cabinet.

Dr. Werren’s work, which combines genetic, molecular, and population approaches, has appeared in more than 180 publications, including top journals in the field. In April, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies.

“Jack Werren exemplifies the type of scholar deserving of a named professorship,” said Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Joanna B. Olmsted, Ph.D., who has known Dr. Werren since he arrived at the University in 1986. “His stellar accomplishments in research coupled with his enthusiasm and talent in communicating his knowledge to students make him a fitting inaugural holder of the Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professorship in Biology.”

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Davis Distinguished Professor in Pulmonary Medicine Installed

From left to right: Bob Davis, Christy Blume, Jeff Davis, Jan Steehler, and Dr. Patricia Sime

Dinner guests were treated to a first-class example of the power of professorships on June 13. Surrounded by family, friends, and members of the Medical Center and University communities, Patricia J. Sime, M.D. became the inaugural C. Jane Davis and C. Robert Davis Distinguished Professor in Pulmonary Medicine. The installation, held at the Witmer House, honored Dr. Sime for her exemplary work as an educator, researcher, and physician in the field of pulmonary medicine.

“Patricia is a great example of the power of funding a professorship, and its critical importance to the Medical Center and The Meliora Challenge,” said President Joel Seligman. The evening also recognized the late C. Robert (Bob) Davis and his late sister, Dr. C. Jane Davis, whose generous support of the professorship was inspired by a doctor who had a tremendous impact on their lives. That physician was Dr. Paul Levy, the Charles A. Dewey Professor of Medicine, at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, who had the honor of telling their moving story.

When her brother was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1999, Dr. Davis became committed to funding research for pulmonary medicine. After being given six months to live, Mr. Davis enjoyed another eight years of life. The difference was attributed to Dr. Levy. It was his outstanding advice and care that inspired Dr. Davis to establish a bequest that would eventually fund the professorship.

"Support from families like the Davis family will help the Medical Center achieve its vision to be among the most innovative in the country,” said Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., University Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of the Medical Center. “Philanthropy from donors like Bob and Jane allow us to improve the health of our community while advancing the science of medicine.”

Dr. Sime is changing lives as a world leader in pulmonary medicine, particularly in research of lung inflammation and fibrosis. She is chief of the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division and director of the Mary Parkes Center for Asthma, Allergy, and Pulmonary Care. Dr. Sime also holds national leadership positions in the American Thoracic Society, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

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Meliora Weekend
Save the Dates:
October 11–14, 2012

Veteran journalist Barbara Walters and comedian Craig Ferguson will be helping Rochester celebrate its 12th Meliora Weekend. Meliora Weekend is a University-wide celebration that combines homecoming, reunion, and family weekends. Please visit for more details.

Additionally, Eastman Weekend 2012, which includes Eastman family weekend, will take place simultaneously with Meliora Weekend. Registration materials will be mailed to Eastman alumni and parents, in August. Please visit for more details.

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June 2012

The Meliora Challenge Goes National

President Joel Seligman addresses the audience at the San Francisco Bay regional campaign launch.

On June 5, in San Francisco, the University launched the first in a series of regional campaigns in support of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. More than 160 guests attended the spectacular kickoff at the St. Regis Hotel—the largest University event ever held in San Francisco. It was an evening that celebrated remarkable progress and further conveyed the ambitions of The Meliora Challenge.

The San Francisco Bay regional campaign, led by Co-Chairs Carol Karp ’74, P’11 and Joe Abrams ’74S (MBA), P’02, will further the Campaign’s significant momentum. Karp and Abrams announced the region’s campaign goals: $45 million in total commitments and 120 George Eastman Circle members.

“All of us in this room have an incredible opportunity to become a part of this endeavor,” said Karp. “As we expand our regional network, we will strengthen the solid foundation of support that will ensure the University’s ongoing development and success.”

President Seligman delivered an inspiring message about the great potential of the University. Trustee and Campaign Vice Chair for the West Coast, Larry Bloch ’75, spoke about Rochester’s history and honored Charles Munnerlyn ’69 (PhD), inaugural chair of the San Francisco Bay Regional Cabinet. Diana Pratt ’13, recipient of the Dr. Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Endowed Scholarship, shared her story and articulated the profound impact of scholarships.

Additionally, soprano Adelaide Boedecker ’13E (MM) gave an exceptional vocal performance that included pieces from both the classical and musical theater repertory. Boedecker was accompanied by talented pianist and fellow Eastman student Heather McEwen Goldman ’13E (MM).

The San Francisco Bay regional campaign is part of the University’s efforts to enhance engagement for alumni and those affiliated with the University on the West Coast. Through the development of Regional Cabinets—composed of alumni, parents, and friends who hold leadership positions for the University and within their communities—Rochester is increasing its visibility across the country.

The San Francisco Bay region has raised more than $37 million to date and is home to 70 members of the George Eastman Circle. In total there are more than 3,400 alumni, parents, and friends living in the Bay Area. The progress thus far has built upon the leadership of the San Francisco Bay Regional Cabinet.

“Regional Cabinets continue to be formed across the country,” said Abrams. Currently, there are a dozen other Cabinets in the process of forming, which include areas such as Texas, Chicago/Midwest, Philadelphia, and four in Metro New York City. “We, as Cabinet members, energize and engage the University community because we understand the power of our support, our legacies, and our institution.”

At the core of the San Francisco Bay regional campaign is a much simpler message which President Seligman delivered to the audience that evening: Come Home. For many, the kickoff event was an opportunity to reconnect and become reacquainted with the University. It’s an experience Rochester will be recreating in cities across the country. This calendar year, there are plans to launch regional campaigns in Chicago and Boston.

Click here to view a photo gallery of the San Francisco Bay regional campaign launch.


Values and Action

The life that conquers is the life that moves with a steady resolution and persistence toward a predetermined goal. Those who succeed are those who have thoroughly learned the immense importance of plan in life, and the tragic brevity of time.
— W.J. Davison

There have been numerous recent examples of a steady resolution and persistence toward a goal. More than 3,000 degrees were conferred throughout the commencement season. President Seligman shared his state of the University address at the 45th Annual Garden Party, highlighting the successes of the last fiscal year. And we launched our first regional campaign in San Francisco to support The Meliora Challenge. Each example illustrates commitment and diligence in planning and preparation.

Davison reminds us that as we pursue our plans, we must be cognizant of how quickly time passes. We are nearing the close of our fiscal year and it is vitally important to the University to meet our financial goals in preparation for the year ahead. Please make your gift or pay your pledge before June 30. Your collective generosity is having a remarkable impact. 

This summer will be filled with travel and preparation. We will be hosting events in New York City and around the country with our academic partners and volunteer leaders. From music festivals to academic panels, we look forward to connecting with you and encourage you to attend a University event in your region. We are also preparing for regional campaign launches in Chicago and Boston, and another spectacular Meliora Weekend in October. Please be sure to look for information on the keynote ticket lottery and registration deadlines that will soon be arriving in the mail.

Thank you for your time and dedication to the University of Rochester as we all work together to become ever better.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer

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A Tribute to
Ernest J. and Thelma Del Monte 

Ernest J. and Thelma Del Monte at the announcement of the creation of the Ernest J. Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute

The University of Rochester has launched a new website in honor of the galvanizing support and leadership of Ernest J. and Thelma Del Monte. Ernie Del Monte, who passed away in April 2012, was a University of Rochester Life Trustee, a visionary, and an extraordinary philanthropist. The support that Ernie and his late wife, Thelma, provided the Medical Center will live on in perpetuity through the Ernest J. Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute and their quest to fund the stellar faculty whose expertise is felt in the Rochester community and around the world.

Click here to learn more about their transformational impact.

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45th Annual Garden Party

President Seligman addressing the audience at the 45th Annual Garden Party held at the Memorial Art Gallery

“The University and the Future of Our Community” was the title of President Joel Seligman’s address at the 45th Annual Garden Party on June 12. More than 500 George Eastman Circle members and friends of the University filled the Memorial Art Gallery for remarks that covered the state of the University, the University’s economic impact on Rochester, and regional developments.

Each portion of the address provided the background for an overall message that painted an optimistic view of the future for Rochester and its surrounding communities. President Seligman specifically noted that we’ve been through a painful economic transition and our perseverance has enabled us to enjoy a new period of economic revitalization. He attributed the shift to the community's tenacious spirit.

“We are fortunate in Rochester and our community more broadly to have amazingly resilient and determined people,” said President Seligman. “We do not fail—we adjust. We do not despair—we buckle down. We do not decline—we reinvent.”

President Seligman began with a Gallery premiere of the Midnight Rambler’s “Remember oUR Name” video. Guests were then taken through a condensed version of the year that included major University successes, projects, and the achievements of its faculty, staff, and students. Most notable of this abbreviated history was the University accomplishing four of its key goals—launching The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester; launching the Golisano Children’s Hospital campaign; receiving funding for Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council projects; and a $100 million commitment from Governor Cuomo for the I-390/Kendrick Road Interchange project.

In total, President Seligman’s remarks captioned a year of excitement and progress that has no precedent. The University continues to build upon momentum that is creating tangible representations of Meliora. This year’s Garden Party celebrated these results and the community that is making it happen.

Click here to view the Garden Party address.

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162nd Commencement

University Trustee Roger B. Friedlander ’56, recipient of The Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal

More than 6,000 people—graduates, families, friends, honorees, and University faculty and staff—gathered on a sunny Eastman Quadrangle for the University’s 162nd Commencement on May 20. As celebratory balloons and beach balls bounced among graduating seniors, Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58 articulated in his welcome that they had just “completed one of the major steps in life’s journey,” a sentiment President Joel Seligman punctuated in his remarks.

“You have made it—this is a day of triumph and a day of joy,” said President Seligman, who went on to tell the Class of 2012 that they are ready for whatever comes next. “Do not fear this world; you are exceptionally well prepared for it. . . . You possess unusually refined senses of self-reliance and often creativity. That is the Rochester way.”

Graduates were able to see “the Rochester way” personified in University Trustee Roger B. Friedlander ’56, recipient of The Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal. The Hutchison Medal is the highest honor given to alumni in recognition of outstanding achievements and service to community, state, or nation.

As noted by President Seligman, Roger Friedlander has shown unwavering commitment to health care and education. Through his time, leadership, and counsel, he has become part of the fabric of the University. After accepting his medal, Friedlander addressed the graduates. He emphasized that their degrees represent a foundation to build on and encouraged them to “continue [their] education, keep competitive, and stay ahead of the curve."

The Most Reverend Matthew H. Clark, Roman Catholic Bishop of Rochester, received the honorary degree Doctor of Divinity. The President of Brown University, Ruth J. Simmons, delivered a commencement address that defined “inspiration” and was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.

“By opening minds, we open worlds,” said Simmons. She went on to call specific attention to our choices, which are emblematic of who we are and encouraged students to use their knowledge to serve society. “It extends to where you are at every moment of your life. Your education benefits society only if you are a drum major for human dignity.”

The address was met with a standing ovation from close to 1,200 graduates and high praise from President Seligman. Throughout the University’s commencement season, more than 3,000 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees were conferred.

To view photos and/or videos of Commencement events click here.

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Joe Scarborough to Speak at Meliora Weekend George Eastman Circle Event

From October 11–14, the University of Rochester will be celebrating its 12th Meliora Weekend, which combines alumni reunions, homecoming, and family weekends. On Friday, October 12, former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla) will be delivering an exclusive evening address to members of the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society.

Scarborough served as a member of Congress from 1994–2001 and currently hosts MSNBC’s Morning Joe, a weekday-morning news show. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America’s Promise and a former publisher and editor of the award-winning newspaper The Florida Sun. The exclusive Scarborough address is offered in addition to more than 200 programs that are open to the entire University community.

Among these programs are special events with this year’s featured guests, veteran journalist Barbara Walters and late-night TV host Craig Ferguson. Walters, a correspondent for ABC News, host of The Barbara Walters Specials, and creator, co-host, and executive producer of The View, will be giving a public keynote address on Saturday, October 13. Ferguson is the Emmy Award-nominated host of CBS’s The Late Late Show and former actor in the popular television series The Drew Carey Show. He will be performing two shows on Friday, October 12.

Members of the George Eastman Circle commit at least $1,500 in unrestricted annual funds, for a minimum of five years, to areas they care about most. All gifts count toward The Meliora Challenge and support the Campaign’s Annual Fund goal of $130 million. For more information on the George Eastman Circle or how to become a member, click here.

For more information on any of the weekend’s events, visit or contact the office of donor relations, directly at (585) 275-7393.

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May 2012

Simon Addresses Economic Risk at 2012 New York City Conference

Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric, at the Simon NYC Conference

Despite showing signs of growing strength, the economy is not free from risk, and there are a multitude of factors to be considered in its management. The William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester assembled prominent industry executives, government officials, and preeminent faculty to speak on these points at the third annual Simon New York City Conference. The May 3 conference, which took place at the Grand Hyatt, was titled “Economic Action and the Management of Risk” and addressed global economic policies and their impact on the marketplace.

“This is an invaluable opportunity to learn from some of the most intelligent minds in business today,” said Mark Zupan, dean of the Simon School. “We have created a forum where the exchange of ideas and discussion of pressing issues become the foundation for tomorrow’s regulations and policies. Simon is committed to leading the discourse on the rising challenges in business and the global market.”

In an interview conducted by University Trustee Bernie Ferrari ’70, ’74M (MD), chairman and founder of Ferrari Consultancy LLC and author of Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All, Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, spoke on the worldwide impact of emerging industries. Larry Kudlow ’69, host of CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” was also a featured speaker at the event.

Doug Petno ’89S (MBA), CEO of commercial banking for JPMorgan Chase & Co., conducted a question and answer session with Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, who then took live questions from the audience. Dimon was presented with the Simon School’s Executive of the Year Award in recognition of his leadership and central role during the financial crisis. The conference closed with President Barack Obama’s appointee to lead the consumer financial protection bureau, Richard Cordray, who discussed the role his organization will play in regulating and partnering with business. Throughout the conference, Simon School alumni and faculty were active participants as moderators and panelists.

Dean Zupan moderated an alumni panel focused on global issues. The panel was comprised of Mark Danchak ’94, ’99S (MBA), managing director of Harbinger Capital Partners; Saskia Kunst ’01S (MBA), director of corporate strategy and M&A for SBM Offshore NV; Sandeep Pahwa ’95S (MBA), vice chairman and head of investment banking in South East Asia for Barclays Capital; Michael Ryan ’81, ’84S (MBA), chief investment strategist of UBS Wealth Management Americas; and Guy Wyser-Pratte ’62, CEO of Wyser-Pratte Management Co., Inc.

The conference also featured an academic panel discussing the global economy moderated by Marlene Puffer ’87S (MS), ’93S (PhD). Panelists included Thomas Cooley, the Paganelli-Bull Professor of Economics and former dean of the NYU Stern School of Business; David Primo, associate professor of political science and business administration; Clifford Smith Jr., the Louise and Henry Epstein Professor of Business Administration and professor of finance and economics; and Jerold Zimmerman, the Ronald L. Bittner Professor of Business Administration and professor of accounting.

To view a photo gallery of the 2012 Simon NYC Conference, click here.


Values and Action

I continue to be inspired by the exceptional contributions and the growing engagement of the alumni, parents, and friends of our University. Having dedicated much of my life to Advancement, I have seen this type of transformation and it becomes a distinguishing characteristic of an institution. Together, as one engaged body of leaders, we must be a resounding example of the impact of philanthropy.

Our Regional Cabinets are critical building blocks for uniting our alumni, parents, and friends in each region. The San Francisco Bay Regional Cabinet was one of our first cabinets to assemble. This dedicated group of volunteers has instilled energy and enthusiasm within their community on behalf of the life-changing work of the University. In celebration of our success, we will kick off the San Francisco Bay Regional Campaign on June 5. I would like to thank our volunteers, including Charles Munnerlyn ’69 (PhD), inaugural chair of the San Francisco Bay Regional Cabinet, and Joe Abrams ’74S (MBA), P’02 and Carol Karp ’74, P’11 for serving as campaign co-chairs of The Meliora Challenge in the San Francisco Bay area.

Although enthusiastic about our continued momentum, I am saddened to share that we have recently lost one of the great pillars of our University and Medical Center who has been an example of dedication and distinguished leadership. Trustee Ernie Del Monte's life and work epitomized a commitment to improving the world around him. His support of the Medical Center will live on in perpetuity through the Ernest J. Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute and, most recently, the installation of Dr. Web Pilcher as the first Ernest and Thelma Del Monte Distinguished Professor in Neuromedicine. Ernie believed in the fundamental role of the University of Rochester in this community and beyond. His unwavering support and galvanizing vision have left a tremendous mark on our University and the lives of many. Our thoughts remain with his family and cherished friends who share our gratitude for his life and work as a member of the Rochester community.

At a time when we experience great loss, we must also remember our direction for the future. It is said that the greatest way to memorialize is to carry on living in the spirit of those who have passed on. Please click here to learn more about how Ernie’s philanthropy will continue to contribute to solving some of the most pressing medical challenges of our time.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer

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Discovery Ball Honors Inspiration, Perpetuates Hope

On April 28, more than 860 guests filled the Empire Ballroom of the Rochester Riverside Convention Center for the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center’s 13th annual Discovery Ball. Within the room, each table held a basket containing unlit candles; each candle represented a potential pledge. By the night’s end, the room was aglow with candles, and more than $500,000 had been raised in support of life-saving cancer research and care. 

Cancer survivors and Co-Chairs Greg and Shari Smith helped organize an evening that honored inspiration and perpetuated hope. Throughout the evening, guests were treated to musical entertainment from various University performers. The Wilmot family shared their gratitude for guests’ continued support in the fight against cancer through a moving video address. In his remarks, President Joel Seligman highlighted the Wilmot’s unparalleled commitment in helping to create world-class cancer services for the Rochester community and Western New York Region. President Seligman also emphasized the need for continued community leadership to further advance the Cancer Center's leading-edge services and innovative research.

Megan MacKenzie ’84, a women’s sports pioneer, retired USA Hockey official, and this year’s Inspiration Award winner, provided context for the importance of President Seligman’s message. On the day of her mother’s funeral, Megan was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Five days later, her father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. At a time when most people would have been defeated, Megan exhibited extraordinary strength that has not relented. To date, she has raised more than $100,000 through local and national projects for the Comprehensive Breast Care Center at the Wilmot Cancer Center.

“The only way treatment has gotten better is through research,” said Megan. “And the only way we’re going to find a cure is through research and funding that research.”

Megan has become a source of strength to those fighting their own battles with breast cancer, and her story continues to inspire giving, which helps develop new treatments and cures for this terrible disease.

To see a short video on Megan’s story, click here.

To view photos of the 2012 Discovery Ball, click here.

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Eastman School Dean’s Medal Presented to Trustee Martin E. Messinger ’49

President Joel Seligman, Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58, Board Chair Emeritus Bob Witmer ’59, Board Chair Emeritus Bob Goergen ’60, and Trustee Marty Messinger ’49

Dedicated University benefactor and ardent supporter of the arts Martin “Marty” Messinger ’49 was recently recognized for his philanthropy and the profound impact he has had on the Eastman School of Music. On April 27, the Eastman School presented Marty Messinger with the Dean’s Medal, one of the highest honors given by the School.

At The Lotos Club in New York City, 75 guests—including family, friends, and members of the Eastman and University community—gathered to celebrate this honor and Marty’s commitment and contributions to the School. Board Chair Emeritus Bob Witmer ’59, and President Joel Seligman remarked upon the generosity and leadership Marty has shown over the last four decades and Eastman’s Senior Associate Dean for Professional Studies Ray Ricker ’73E (DMA) conveyed gratitude for Marty’s extraordinary service, philanthropy, and longtime partnership.

“His transformational generosity is truly an inspiration, reflecting the kind of involvement that will provide an important foundation of support for Eastman’s second century,” said Ricker. “On behalf of all of us at the Eastman School of Music, we are grateful for Marty’s exceptional leadership, loyal friendship, and outstanding commitment to empowering the Eastman Advantage.”

Entertainment for the evening was provided by three of Eastman’s own talented alumni: Christopher Ziemba ’08, ’11E (MM); David Baron ’10E; and Kevin McDonald ’10, ’10E.

Since joining Eastman’s Board of Managers, Marty has, with his late wife Joan, helped provide a new home for the Eastman Community Music School and established the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music Endowed Fund. This fund provides a permanent source of support for programming and areas of critical need for the dean of the Eastman School. Doug Lowry was recently installed as the first Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music.

Marty is managing director of Neuberger Berman, an independent management firm. He is also a senior trustee of the Messinger Family Foundation, a University life trustee, and a member of the Eastman School National Council.

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Diversity Initiative Supports
The Meliora Challenge

Claude Steele, the I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University School of Education and keynote speaker for this year’s conference.

On April 20, the 2012 Diversity Conference reaffirmed the University’s commitment to creating the most welcoming and inclusive environment possible. It also reinforced current plans to launch the diversity initiative of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester more widely later this year. Trustees, Lance Drummond ’85S (MBA) and Kathy Waller ’80, ’83S (MBA) will serve as co-chairs of this initiative.

“Diversity is a core value, an aspiration, a goal, an objective, an ongoing quest,” said President Joel Seligman in his opening remarks. “Diversity is here to stay not because it’s nice, not because it makes us feel good, but because it is demonstrably consistent with the best education, the best preparation for an increasingly globalized world, where our challenge will be working with people who are different from us.”

Keynote speaker Claude Steele, the I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University, commended President Seligman’s remarks and the University’s commitment to diversity: “When there is a certain will in society to hold a value like diversity, there is hope.”

The diversity initiative of the Campaign will focus on support of three priorities: scholarships and fellowships, faculty, and the campus experience. To create a diverse learning community, the initiative will seek scholarships and professorships to attract the brightest and most talented minds both locally and globally. Additionally, funding for supplemental educational opportunities—such as visiting artists, scholars, and lecturers—will help promote education and dialogue about diversity.

Look for more information on the launch of the diversity initiative of The Meliora Challenge in the coming months. To view the keynote address in its entirety, click here. To view a photo gallery of the Diversity Conference, click here.

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April 2012

New Children’s Hospital
Designed for Families

Rendering of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital

On March 29, the largest capital project in University history came closer to life as renderings of the new Golisano Children's Hospital and accompanying floor plans were unveiled. Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D., the William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics and Pediatrician-in-Chief, explained that the new design is a better reflection of how medicine is practiced now as opposed to 35 years ago when the Hospital was first constructed. “The original thinking was the family should be spared the anguish of being with their child when medical treatment was being undertaken and when the child was ill,” said Dr. Schor. “We now know that was exactly the wrong attitude.”

Dr. Schor described how modern medicine demands that parents must understand the child’s illness so they can be involved in the planning and execution of the treatment. Care of this kind requires much more physical space and privacy, both of which are amply allotted in the new facility. This mentality also extends beyond the patient rooms.

From the arrangement of the floors to the Hospital’s décor, the design “incorporates the totality of children’s care,” as described by Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), University senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the Medical Center. “It’s a setting that provides an opportunity for open communication. Family members can ask questions and provide information, and all members of the medical team can weigh-in . . . It helps establish an enhanced relationship and better information flow between the care providers and the family.”

The approximately 245,000-square-foot tower will greatly enhance privacy and a family-centric experience with new spaces, such as a hospitality suite featuring concierge services for parents and private patient rooms that have doubled in size. The extra space and private rooms provide improved infection control and opportunities for the family to interact with the medical team.

Tom Golisano’s exceptional generosity has bolstered Rochester’s ability to deliver Medicine of the Highest Order. In July 2011, his $20 million gift jumpstarted these plans to make the vision of a new dedicated Golisano Children’s Hospital a reality. The innovative designs were influenced by input from physicians, nurses, therapists, child-life specialists, and members of the community who have used the Hospital’s services. Additionally, they were influenced by children’s hospitals around the country.

“This has been an enormous opportunity not only for us as professionals to configure the Hospital so it serves what we need to do for children and families, but also for us to bring those children and families in and ask, ‘What would you do differently?’” said Dr. Schor. “We’ve learned a lot about how to design a building, and together we have explored as a community how we should deliver care to children and their families.”

The new Hospital is a key component of the Golisano Children’s Hospital’s $100 million campaign, which was launched publicly on October 29, 2011. In addition to the new facility, the campaign seeks to enhance education, research, and clinical practice in seven key priority areas of pediatric care: autism spectrum disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, neonatology, supportive care, and surgery. The Golisano Children’s Hospital campaign is part of the Medical Center’s $650 million campaign and the overall $1.2 billion goal of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester.

For more information on how to support the development of the new Golisano Children’s Hospital and to take a virtual tour, visit


Values and Action

The Meliora Challenge is centered around five critical objectives that will enable us to make the world ever better: support for students, faculty, priority strategic programs, facilities, and the Annual Fund. I am proud to report that our progress in each of these areas is either on track or currently ahead of plan, and we have reached another important milestone of the Campaign. We have recently exceeded two thirds of our $1.2 billion goal by surpassing $800 million. It is the strength of our initiatives and the enduring nature of your leadership support that gives me confidence in our ability to continue this great momentum.

This issue of Fast Forward showcases diverse giving across our University and our five key objectives. Your support is changing and improving lives by honoring faculty and the great work they do, funding vital scholarships, expanding educational opportunities, enabling research, and building a new Children’s Hospital. We have embarked on a challenge of exceptional importance and impact. Because of your leadership, dedication, and commitment, we are on track to meet our goals and define the future of the University of Rochester. Much remains to be done, but together we will do it!


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer

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Record Attendance Highlights George Eastman Circle’s Growth

George Eastman Circle National Chair Nathan Moser

Reflecting a year of remarkable growth and impact, more than 425 George Eastman Circle members and guests celebrated in Gotham Hall, the setting for this year's annual New York City George Eastman Circle Dinner, on March 15. Members celebrated their fifth year with the highest event attendance in its history.

Alumni and friends heard remarks from Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58, Trustee and George Eastman Circle National Chair Nathan Moser ’75, Trustee and Annual Giving Programs Chair Gwen Greene ’65, student Nathan Novosel ’12, and President Joel Seligman. The New York Times columnist and bestselling author Maureen Dowd provided the evening’s keynote address and Victoria Paterson ’93 led musical selections played by the Lumière String Quartet during the reception and throughout dinner.

It was an evening energized by accomplishment and celebration. Over the past year, the George Eastman Circle has grown by nearly 20 percent, with more than 2,100 memberships representing 42 states and 12 countries. Membership eclipsing 2,000—a milestone that was recently surpassed—was lauded throughout this spectacular evening.

George Eastman Circle members have committed more than $38 million toward the $130 million Annual Fund goal of The Meliora Challenge. Nathan Moser shared the importance of broadening the George Eastman Circle—a message that was echoed by each speaker during the dinner.  
“Continuing our momentum and significant growth within the George Eastman Circle will play a pivotal role in achieving The Meliora Challenge’s Annual Fund goal. We will get there one person at a time,” said Nathan. “Think of the ‘plus one approach.’ If each person in this room invites one person to join, we will make a world of difference. The impact we are making is incredibly impressive. We are a national model of leadership giving.”

Continuing to focus on building membership—in addition to sustaining and upgrading commitments—increases the George Eastman Circle’s impact on the University’s faculty, students, schools, units, and the community it serves. Much of this wonderful support was illustrated in the recently published 2011 Honor Roll. Giving from the Circle enhanced student scholarships, ensured the continued delivery of patient- and family-centered care, supported new and innovative programming, and enriched cultural experiences, making the University ever better.

To learn more about the George Eastman Circle, please visit our Web site at: To view a photo gallery of the George Eastman Circle Dinner, click here.

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Inaugural Ferrari Humanities Symposia Welcomes Renowned Scholar

Linda Gaddis Ferrari and Bernie Ferrari

Anthony Grafton, the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University, was the featured visiting scholar at the inaugural Ferrari Humanities Symposia, on March 21. His lecture, “Maps of Time: Science, Scholarship, and History in Early Modern Europe,” focused on the study of chronology—the science of arranging events in order of their occurrence in time. Professor Grafton joked to the large audience in attendance that the common perception of chronology was that it seemed like “the least attractive field of learning.” With brilliance, Professor Grafton's lecture provided many fascinating illustrations of important questions addressed by his field, and demonstrated quite the opposite was true.

In the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library, Thomas Slaughter, the Arthur R. Miller Professor of History, introduced his former professor and the symposium's distinguished keynote speaker as “intellectually generous.” His warm characterization of Grafton's graceful teaching style described how Professor Grafton often made arriving at a complex thought or solution seem incredibly uncomplicated.

Professor Grafton’s lecture began by discussing The Republic of Letters, a term used to refer to a community of intellectuals developed through reading. For centuries, this network was based on the writing and exchange of letters. The multidisciplinary nature of these exchanges set the stage for a time when polymaths, or Renaissance men, such as Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibniz, and Joseph Scaliger (the Einstein before Einstein), endeavored to map the history of the world. The results of their process were transformational, making history a large inquiry of Biblical accounts. In a non-secular time, chronology became a model for interdisciplinary study. Despite chronology’s depth and complexity, Professor Grafton discussed it in a way which made it accessible and palatable for the casual attendee, truly capturing the spirit of the Ferrari Humanities Symposia.

University Trustee Bernard (Bernie) T. Ferrari ’70, ’74M (MD) and his wife, Linda Gaddis Ferrari, established the symposia with the intention of broadening the liberal education of University undergraduates. Each year, a visiting scholar of humanistic thought will hold a lecture and participate in a short, intensive course—with an emphasis on the 14th through 17th centuries—taught by faculty members from across the University. Coinciding with Professor Grafton’s lecture this year is a new course titled, “The Art and Science of Time,” which will be taught by nine faculty members from six academic departments, including art, physics, and English.

In his lecture, Professor Grafton highlighted how the early modern world produced generalists, as opposed to today's world predominantly of specialists. In the spirit of the modern classicists, Bernie and Linda’s gift provides an opportunity for undergraduates, regardless of their major, to enrich their courses of study, and broaden their intellectual spectrum.

“In an age when the value of a liberal education is increasingly challenged, Bernie and Linda are vigorous champions of the ideals embodied in our curriculum,” said Peter Lennie, senior vice president and the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

To commemorate the inaugural Ferrari Humanities Symposia and as a token of the University’s gratitude for their generosity, President Joel Seligman presented the Ferraris with an astrolabe—an astronomical device that was used in classical antiquity including through the Renaissance period. Performing more that 100 calculations, the astrolabe solved problems relating to time and the position of the sun and stars in the sky. The astrolabe was chosen particularly for its relevance to the theme of Professor Grafton’s lecture, as many of the scholars mentioned were likely to have used one. In his welcoming remarks, University Trustee Bob Witmer ’59 referred to Bernie as a “Renaissance man.” President Seligman added to that notion by denoting the Ferraris as a “Renaissance couple.”

“The Ferraris celebrate the life of the mind. And there’s no better illustration of what a university is about,” said President Seligman.

To view a photo gallery of the event, click here.

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Roger and Carolyn Friedlander Establish Professorship to Honor an Admired Friend

Roger and Carolyn Friedlander

For more than 35 years University Trustee Roger Friedlander ’56 and his wife, Carolyn Friedlander ’68N, have shown unwavering dedication to the University, through endowed scholarships, the George Eastman Circle, capital improvements to Rush Rhees Library, and the Eastman School of Music. Recently, their generosity took the form of a professorship, demonstrating that philanthropy can be one of the most meaningful ways to honor a respected friend. With a gift that also supports a top Campaign priority, the Friedlanders established the Dr. Elizabeth R. McAnarney Professorship in Pediatrics Funded by Roger and Carolyn Friedlander.

“As longtime friends of the University and the Medical Center, we are deeply grateful to the Friedlanders for their decades of generosity and for establishing a professorship to honor one of our most esteemed and accomplished faculty members,” said Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), University senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the Medical Center.

With this professorship, the Friedlanders are honoring Dr. Elizabeth “Lissa” McAnarney, professor and chair emerita of pediatrics at the Medical Center, for her lifetime of work benefitting children. “Roger and Carolyn’s gift is significant,” explained President Joel Seligman, “because it honors scholarship and faculty excellence. Lissa McAnarney embodies the very best of academic medicine; she’s a truly respected scientist, teacher, and clinician, who is richly deserving of this honor.”

The Friedlanders’ friendship with Dr. McAnarney is rooted in a shared passion for supporting children and their families. “We are so fascinated and intrigued by what she has done for children all over the world. She was the perfect person to recognize in this way,” said Roger. “This is not just financial involvement; it’s heart to heart.” Roger was serving as chair of the Children’s Hospital fundraising board when Dr. McAnarney was named the sixth chair of the Department of Pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief of what is now Golisano Children’s Hospital. However, Dr. McAnarney was already familiar with the Friedlanders through Carolyn’s work as a dedicated pediatric nurse practitioner at Elmwood Pediatric Group.

“It is a singular honor to be acknowledged by one’s University and by cherished friends with the creation of a professorship in one’s name. There is no other acknowledgement in academics that resonates so deeply,” said Dr. McAnarney.

Roger and Carolyn’s gift supports the Golisano Children’s Hospital’s $100 million campaign. The Children’s Hospital campaign is part of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s $650 million campaign and the overall $1.2 billion goal of The Meliora Challenge: the Campaign for the University of Rochester. Professorships―a top priority―help Rochester attract and retain world-renowned faculty. The Dr. Elizabeth R. McAnarney Professorship in Pediatrics Funded by Roger and Carolyn Friedlander will be held by Richard E. Kreipe, M.D., professor of pediatrics and a protégé of Dr. McAnarney’s.

This professorship continues to build the Friedlanders’ legacy of giving their time, talent, and treasure. Roger is a member of the Campaign Cabinet and Medical Center Board of Directors. He chairs the School of Nursing National Council, of which Carolyn is also a member. He is a Golisano Children’s Hospital trustee, a current member of the Simon School Executive Advisory Committee, and on the Board of Directors for Eastman Institute for Oral Health and Strong Partners Health System. Carolyn is a docent of the Memorial Art Gallery and a longtime member and former chair of the Memorial Art Gallery’s Board of Managers. Roger and Carolyn are Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle at the Patron level.

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Ani and Mark Gabrellian Endow Professorship and Support Research

Mark and Ani Gabrellian

The Meliora Challenge seeks not only to create an improved University and strengthen our region, but also to serve our nation and the world. Ani Gabrellian ’84 and Mark Gabrellian ’79 have championed the spirit of these goals through a gift of $1.5 million to establish the Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professorship and an additional $66,000 to fund the Mesrob Mashtots Innovation Grant program. The Gabrellians’ support ensures the most creative faculty and student minds have the resources to pioneer solutions to some of humankind’s most pressing problems.

“I am deeply grateful to Ani and Mark Gabrellian for their commitment to our faculty and students,” said President Joel Seligman. “The breadth of their experience in both the private and public sectors has given them an acute appreciation for scholarship. Their commitment to the next generation is exemplary.”

The Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professorship was inspired by the Gabrellians’ recognition of the strained relationship between government officials and the private sector. A disconnect between the two sides has been caused by a general misunderstanding and/or lack of knowledge of how each side must function. The professorship aims to target this divide. Through a combination of several University disciplines and a focus on the political, economic, global, and historic problems of our time, the multidisciplinary professorship will foster the understanding of the most vital political and economic issues of our era.

“We believe the challenges facing society now and in the future will increasingly require analytical and problem-solving approaches that transcend individual disciplines,” said Ani. “Moreover, we recognize that there is increasing interest among academics and prospective students in multidisciplinary scholarship and teaching.”

While their gift promotes cross-disciplinary learning, it also provides students with the opportunity to enrich their education outside the classroom and develop the skills they will need to become leaders in their fields. Named after Armenian scholar, Mesrob Mashtots—inventor of the Armenian alphabet—the Mesrob Mashtots Innovation Grant program was established by the Gabrellians in 2010. The grants will be awarded to three outstanding, incoming undergraduate students each year. These funds can be used to take on an unpaid internship, conduct independent research, engage in a service-learning project, or for other practical experiences that complement classroom education.

As undergraduates, the Gabrellians were drawn to multiple disciplines and both were double majors: Mark in political science and history and Ani in political science and economics. Ani and Mark went on to receive a degree in business administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a law degree from the University of California, Davis, respectively. Today, they work together in their New Jersey-based real estate development and management company, Gabrellian Associates.

“We believe in the concept of endowment,” said Mark. “The beauty of an endowment is that it lasts in perpetuity and will grow over time. This is a gift based on a belief in the future.” Ani and Mark are committed to supporting the University through these gifts and as Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle at the Benefactor level.

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Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Establish Professorship in Biology

Nathaniel and Helen Wisch

University Trustee and passionate alumnus Dr. Nathaniel “Nat” Wisch ’55 is one of many alumni who, over the years, are reminded of the professors who mentored and inspired them as students. Nat, with his wife, Helen, took his memories a step further by supporting the department that had a hand in creating them. The Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professorship in Biology is an enduring gift which honors scholars who are advancing the field of biology and serving as an inspiration for their students.

“Nat Wisch has lived the ideals of the University of Rochester as a student, a professional, and a trustee,” said President Joel Seligman. “His generous gift is a sign of his commitment to those ideals, and it will significantly help us to better meet the needs of our students for many generations to come.”

Nat and Helen created the professorship to ensure Rochester continues to attract and retain the very best researchers and educators. Leading expert in evolutionary genetics, Professor John “Jack” Werren will be the first recipient.

“Professorships are a wonderful way to acknowledge the excellence of the contributions of our faculty,” said Joanna Olmsted, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “The first incumbent of this professorship, Professor John Werren, is an outstanding example of this commitment to research and education.”

Professor Werren’s research, which combines genetic, molecular, and population studies, aims to better understand diseases that involve inappropriate growth, such as cancer. One of his most recent accolades is an NIH grant, funding the exploration of the venoms of parasitic wasps as a possible resource for new drug discovery.

“Top-rated faculty members go where they can get named professorships,” said Nat, who received a reminder of high caliber faculty he enjoyed as a student, when he met with his former professor, William Muchmore, a few years ago. As their visit progressed, Professor Muchmore surprised Nat with notes on his grades, dissections, and other course activities from their class―more than 50 years ago. “He described what I did right and what I could have done better. It was a sign he truly cared about his students.”

Nat enrolled at the University in 1951 with intentions of studying physics, but quickly had a change of heart. It’s a risk that many students take, but one Nat never regretted. “Spectacular” professors, as he described them, such as Professor Muchmore, gave Nat the belief that he could accomplish anything. The Nathaniel and Helen Wisch Professorship in Biology ensures future Rochester biology students are able to benefit from the same experience.

With their generosity, Nat and Helen are supporting The Meliora Challenge’s goal of establishing 80 new professorships. This goal is reflected in the Campaign’s key objective of $350 million in faculty support and the overall goal of $1.2 billion. Endowed professorships are a priority of the Campaign for their ability to help Rochester compete successfully for world-class faculty. 

Nat is currently on the faculty of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine as a clinical professor of medicine and has remained an active advocate of Rochester. In addition to being a trustee, Nat is a member of the Eastman School of Music National Council and co-chairs the New York New Leaders Regional Cabinet. Rochester remains a special place for both he and his wife, as part of their courtship took place here. Both are Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle at the Founder level.

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Del Monte Distinguished Professor in Neuromedicine Installed 

Dr. Webster Pilcher and members of the Del Monte family

Webster H. Pilcher ’83M (MD), ’83M (PhD), ’89M (Res) was installed as the first Ernest and Thelma Del Monte Distinguished Professor in Neuromedicine on March 20. Family, friends, supporters of the Ernest J. Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute, and Medical Center faculty gathered at the Genesee Valley Club for a night that honored Dr. Pilcher for his commitment and work as a clinician, scientist, and educator, and recognized the generous support of Ernie Del Monte, his late wife Thelma, and the Del Monte family.

University Life Trustee Ernie Del Monte established the professorship to show his appreciation for the Medical Center’s health care services and its broad mission of education and research. President Joel Seligman noted, “The good Ernie has done will be felt for decades and continue on for centuries.” 

Concurrently, it is because Ernie has been such an ardent supporter of progressive research programs that the Neuromedicine Institute has been able to translate neurobiological discoveries into services and treatments, creating better health for all. 

“Thanks to Ernie’s support, we have been able to take our nationally recognized program to a new level,” said Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), University senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the Medical Center.

The professorship was also created to recognize Dr. Pilcher for his outstanding contributions to the Department of Neurosurgery and vision for the Del Monte Institute. Dr. Pilcher was appointed chair of the department in 2002. Since taking on the role, he has been instrumental in the department’s development, initiating growth that has earned the program a spot in the top 50 of the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings.

School of Medicine and Dentistry Dean, Mark Taubman, M.D., explained that Dr. Pilcher’s goal is to bring a large group of scientists, working among eight departments and within different centers, into one state-of-the-art research building. Ernie and his family’s philanthropy have been integral in bringing this to fruition. Dean Taubman punctuated this point by emphasizing the importance of professorships.

“An endowed professorship is the best way in academia to say, ‘You’re outstanding,’” said Dean Taubman. “They provide stability during low points in funding and allow faculty members to think outside of the box and take chances. The security and freedom are critical to innovation.”

Through The Meliora Challenge, the University intends to create 80 new professorships by June 30, 2016. The Ernest and Thelma Del Monte Distinguished Professorship in Neuromedicine is just one of the ways Ernie has exemplified enthusiastic support of the University.

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Third Annual Scholarship Dinner Sets New Record

Record number of donors and students attend third annual scholarship dinner

Education is critically important to our nation’s future, and Rochester is positioned to educate the leaders who will define the next generation. Endowed scholarship support ensures the brightest students can attend the University regardless of their finances. On April 11, the University celebrated the pursuit and gift of knowledge at the third annual Celebration of Scholarships dinner.

Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58 welcomed a record audience of more than 220 generous scholarship supporters, student recipients, and University leadership who gathered at the Memorial Art Gallery to recognize donors and the talented students who benefit from their remarkable philanthropy. Ed, speaking personally as a scholarship benefactor, urged guests to engage the students in conversation about their dreams and the importance of their scholarships. President Seligman, citing outstanding alumni, stressed the importance of continuing Rochester’s tradition of attracting and retaining students with an ambition to excel.

The meaning of a scholarship varies from student to student. A scholarship could mean a nurse practitioner’s master’s degree that influences the care of children and families. It could mean conducting research among Danish health care providers and patients. Or it could mean pursuing a career that combines the arts with international politics. These possibilities are actualities for three scholarship recipients who spoke and performed during the program: Bradley H. Forsythe ’14N, recipient of the Mabel M. and A. T. Hatch Memorial Scholarship; Julia C. Frisk ’12, recipient of the Constantino Family Scholarship; and Garrett M. Rubin ’13E, recipient of the William and Jocelyn Macy Sloan Scholarship.

Scholarships play a critical role not only in higher education, but also in our society. Trustee Nancy Lieberman ’77, who is also co-chair of the Scholarships Initiative for The Meliora Challenge, highlighted why scholarships are a leading priority of the Campaign. Of the Campaign’s $1.2 billion goal, $225 million will support students, primarily through scholarships and fellowships.

“Education is a gift—it’s the great equalizer,” said Nancy, who went on to address the financial obstacles and burdens which often come with the pursuit of higher education. For these reasons, she encouraged students who have received scholarships to give back and continue the chain of giving. She described how her education helped get her to where she is today, and why that motivated her to create the Nancy A. Lieberman Scholarship at Rochester.

Garrett Rubin ’13E, accompanied by Yi-Wen Lai ’13E (MM) on the piano, brought the evening to a moving close by performing an aria from the opera L’infedeltà delusa by Joseph Haydn. He then led the room in the traditional singing of “The Genesee.”

To view an online gallery of photos taken during the dinner, please click here.

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March 2012

Ferraris Endow
Humanities Symposia

Linda and Bernie Ferrari

University Trustee Bernard (Bernie) T. Ferrari ’70, ’74M (MD) and his wife, Linda Gaddis Ferrari, have established the Ferrari Humanities Symposia. Their support endows a yearly symposium and related curricula―intended to explore collaborations between the arts and sciences―and furthers The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester.

Throughout his education, courses in the humanities complemented Bernie’s studies in science and medicine, offering him a balanced education and perspective on life. “The study of the humanities provides people with the ability to better appreciate beauty, and better appreciate life,” said Bernie. The arts first captured Bernie’s interest as an undergraduate, through a course on Medieval and Renaissance-era architecture and art. Those formative years began a long-standing appreciation of the arts, particularly for paintings from the Italian Renaissance period. With an emphasis on that era, the Ferrari Humanities Symposia aim to broaden and enrich the liberal arts education of undergraduates, enhance the experience of graduate students, and strengthen the connection between University faculty and scholars around the world.

“Through the Symposia we hope to create another opportunity for students at the University to study, appreciate, and reflect on an extraordinary piece of history,” said Bernie. “We are creating new collaborations for students in different academic disciplines.”

The Symposia's inaugural event begins with a visit and public talk by renowned historian and academic Anthony Grafton. His March 21 keynote lecture, titled “Maps of Time: Science, Scholarship, and History in Early Modern Europe,” will be open to the public in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library.

President Joel Seligman acknowledged the Ferraris’ generosity and underscored the importance of their gift. “The vitality of the Arts and Humanities at our University is critical to all of our students and faculty, and the Ferraris’ support strengthens our ability to promote these ideals while expanding our connections in the community and with scholars from around the world.”

Bernie worked as chief operating officer of the Ochsner Clinic prior to his nearly 20-year career as the director of the medical practice and partner of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. Most recently he added author to his list of accomplishments, publishing Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All (Portfolio, 2012). Currently, he is a member of the Campaign Cabinet for The Meliora Challenge, serving as vice chair of the Campaign for New York. He is also a trustee of The Juilliard School in New York, a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Linda has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and earned her MBA at the Tulane University Freeman School of Business. Formerly a medical researcher and banker, she is a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Linda and Bernie are both Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle at the Founders level. 

For additional information about the Ferrari Humanities Symposia, click here.  


Values and Action

I am proud to share the news of our exceptional progress in this month’s Fast Forward. In this issue, two of the stories provide examples of strengthening the University’s core. The third is about our newest publication, Endeavor, dedicated to telling the story of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester.

Our community of leaders continues to help Rochester advance through important scholarships and the new innovative Ferrari Humanities Symposia. Each new gift plays a role in supporting the development of new technologies, medical breakthroughs, scholarly endeavors, and business ventures. All of these help us carry out our mission to make the world ever better.

With shared vision, leadership, and talent, we are truly making a difference.  


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer

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Endeavor―Campaign News for the University of Rochester Community 

Endeavor, University Advancement’s new newsletter, is on its way to your mailbox. This printed publication is dedicated to telling the exciting stories of the impact that your generosity is having on the University community. Endeavor will share the voices of those who are making a difference because of philanthropic support, and highlight the volunteers whose selflessness is shaping the University of Rochester for the future.  

The first issue of Endeavor will feature faculty, students, schools, and units that exemplify the type of effects that gifts to The Meliora Challenge are having on the University and the people it serves. You will be able to read about the Rochester professor who created a multi-billion dollar industry, three scholarship students who represent the next generation of leaders in optics, nursing, and the arts, and how children will be the beneficiaries of the largest capital project in University history. 

Look for these stories and others to be delivered to you this month!

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Celebrating a Commitment

to Education 

The third annual Celebration of Scholarships dinner will take place on April 11 at the Memorial Art Gallery. The University-wide event will bring together endowed scholarship recipients and the donors who generously support their academic pursuits. Featured speakers will include President Joel Seligman, Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58, and Trustee and Co-Chair of the Scholarships Initiative for The Meliora Challenge, Nancy Lieberman ’77, as well as student speakers and performers.

Endowed scholarships are one of the highest priorities of The Meliora Challenge. These funds are paramount to the University’s ability to attract and retain the most promising and talented students, regardless of their financial capability. In addition to making a world-class education affordable, scholarships can help alleviate the burden of carrying significant student loans. This makes Rochester even more competitive among its peers, enhances student experiences while at the University, and helps shape a diverse learning community. Supporting endowed scholarships enables the University to educate the next generation of leaders and strengthen all of the areas we serve.

For information about establishing an endowed scholarship, please contact Jim Thompson, senior vice president and chief advancement officer, at (585) 273-2158 or

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