February 2012

Values and Action


For the last 130 years, George Eastman’s company, Kodak, has been a fundamental part of our University and the Rochester community. At times, the media’s somber depiction of the company’s future has implied that there is a dark cloud over Rochester. Duncan T. Moore, the Rudolf and Hilda Kingslake Professor of Optical Engineering and vice provost for the Center for Entrepreneurship, recently provided illuminating commentary for The New York Times addressing this perception. Duncan suggests that while Kodak has declined in terms of employment, Rochester has remained economically robust.

Kodak’s presence in the Rochester community has provided it with diverse resources and a workforce of highly skilled creative professionals, well-positioned to become successful entrepreneurs. Additionally, we have strong centers of higher education, led by the University of Rochester, and offer a multitude of cultural institutions, which all help us continue to thrive. This is really a great place to live.

Here is a range of publications that provide broad evidence of our stability.

•    Forbes—Best Places to Buy a Home (#1), Best Places in the Country to Raise a Family (#3), Most Affordable Cities in America (#7), and Most Innovative Cities in the U.S. (#14)
    The Daily Beast—America’s Smartest Cities (#10)
•    Newsweek—America’s Best High Schools (10 of 35 are greater Rochester high schools)
    Business Facilities—Best Medical Devices and Equipment Region in U.S. (#7)
•    Bloomberg Businessweek—Strongest Job Market in America (#15)
•    St. Louis Business Journal—Job Growth in the Private Sector (#28)

The University continues to be an important linchpin to Rochester’s success. The Simon School’s recent international acclaim is one example of the resources the University provides. In London’s Financial Times, the Simon School was ranked in its “World’s Best Business Schools” for finance (#3), managerial economics (#4), and accounting (#7). Within the U.S., Simon tied with Stanford (#4) for salary progression. This is an amazing showing for Dean Mark Zupan and our beloved Simon School.

Kodak will always be an important part of our history and hopefully, our future. We will continue to move forward, inspired by our heritage and the very bright future we all share at the University of Rochester. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and the ways in which we contribute to society through learning, discovering, healing, creating—and making the world ever better. We are a city, University, and broad community of leaders to be greatly admired.



James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer


Smiths Provide Leadership Gift to Golisano Children’s Hospital

Golisano Children’s Hospital Campaign Co-Chair J. Michael Smith

J. Michael Smith and his wife, Alice, have committed $1.3 million to Golisano Children’s Hospital in support of The Meliora Challenge. Their gift will support pediatric programs and the construction of a new hospital dedicated solely to children. Mike is leading the Hospital’s $100 million campaign with Mark Siewert, co-chair and fellow Board member.

Mike was compelled to support the Children’s Hospital in 2006 when friends began introducing him to some of the Hospital’s leaders, and he joined the Board of Directors. “I started learning about all the things that went on in Golisano Children’s Hospital and all the immense challenges the Hospital was facing, despite the incredible difference the Hospital was making for families,” said Mike.

The Hospital’s needs and challenges influenced Mike's leadership and giving, as did the generosity of others. He was inspired by his friends, such as Hospital namesake, B. Thomas Golisano, and the passion and dedication of the Hospital’s leaders and staff. Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D., pediatrician-in-chief, and the William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is grateful for the Smiths’ dedication to the region’s children.

“Mike is truly a community leader. We’re honored to have him play such an important role in the campaign, and are thrilled about Mike and Alice’s very generous donation,” said Dr. Schor.

Mike, a sustaining member of the George Eastman Circle, has always shared a passion for giving with his wife. Together they have served as honorary chairs for the Golisano Children’s Hospital Gala and been a part of the sponsorship committee for the Hospital’s annual Golf Classic. Their current gift bolsters the momentum for the Hospital’s $100 million campaign as part of the $650 million goal of the Medical Center and the overall $1.2 billion Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester.

“When I agreed to be co-chair of the Golisano Children’s Hospital campaign, I knew that you really have to lead by example,” said Mike. “When you commit to really supporting something, you have to stand by it.”

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Siewerts Leadership Gift Supports Pediatric Programming 

Golisano Children’s Hospital Campaign Co-Chair Mark Siewert

Golisano Children’s Hospital Campaign Co-Chair, Mark Siewert, and his wife, Marcia, have made a commitment of $1 million to the Children’s Hospital campaign as part of The Meliora Challenge. Their gift will enable major enhancements to seven pediatric programs targeted by the campaign, while also supporting the construction of the Hospital’s new home. Mark Siewert and Campaign Co-Chair Mike Smith are truly leading by example.

“Not only is building the hospital important, but each one of the programs is also important,” said Mark, former owner of Siewert Equipment Company. “You really have to build both at the same time. You have to ratchet them both up.”

The Siewerts have an intimate understanding of just how important the programs of the Children’s Hospital are for those in need. Mark and Marcia’s son, Mark Daniel, required expert medical care beginning in 2002. The dedicated physicians, nurses, and staff became an integral part of their lives throughout a long and hard-fought battle. Mark Daniel lost his battle, yet with firm resolve, the Siewerts continue to give back to the Hospital that did so much to care for him.

The Siewerts’ contribution to the $100 million campaign is the most recent demonstration of their generosity and personal commitment to facilities and programming. Since 2002, Mark and Marcia have helped raise money that built a larger, more modernized pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and a new pediatric surgical suite, which has allowed parents to spend more time with their children, before and after surgery.

Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D., pediatrician-in-chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital, and the William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, commented on the Siewerts’ forward-thinking gift. “They understand that we need to endow positions and programs to improve them, and to ensure they are there and of high quality for future generations of children,” said Dr. Schor.

Mark took over duties as chair of the Children’s Hospital Board of Directors in June 2010, and campaign co-chair with fellow Board member Mike Smith. Mark and Marcia are looking forward to staying actively involved in the campaign and helping the Hospital continue to improve its facilities and its programs.

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Simon School Dean’s Medal Presented to Trustee Barry Florescue ’66

President Joel Seligman, Barry Florescue ’66, and Dean Mark Zupan

Highly successful entrepreneur and investor Barry Florescue ’66 was awarded the Simon School Dean’s Medal for his extraordinary service, philanthropy, and inspirational leadership to the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration. The Dean’s Medal is among the highest honors given by the School.

Barry Florescue and Sharon Gustafson were joined in their Florida home by 120 guests, including Dean Richard Feldman, family, and close friends, to celebrate the award. President Joel Seligman, Dean Mark Zupan, and Florescue Fellow Melissa Martinez ’11S (MBA), shared remarks honoring Barry’s loyalty, devotion of time and energy, and the transformational impact he has had on the Simon School.

Barry’s most recent support has enabled the University to launch the Barry Florescue Undergraduate Business Degree Program. The program supports an innovative collaboration between the Simon School and the College by reestablishing the academic major Florescue pursued while a student of the University. Barry has also generously helped make a University of Rochester education possible for undergraduate and full-time M.B.A. students through the Florescue Family Foundation Scholarship and the Florescue Fellowship Fund.

“Barry has been steadfast in his support over the years, providing educational opportunity to top students at the University of Rochester and Simon who might not otherwise be able to run with their dreams. His strategic insight on the value that the Barry Florescue Undergraduate Business Degree Program will have over the decades to come to both the College and Simon, has paved the way for a fruitful partnership between our two units,” said Simon School Dean Mark Zupan. “The outcome of the partnership is bound to be the largest cross-disciplinary program at our University.”

Barry Florescue is chairman of the board and president of BMD Management Company Inc., a privately owned business that manages more than 30 commercial real estate properties. He is a Charter Member of the George Eastman Circle at the Founder level, and a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and the Simon School Executive Advisory Committee. Barry is the father of three children, Gretchen, Geremy, and Bryan.

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J. Peter Simon ’08S (LLD) Awarded Simon School Dean’s Medal

Dean Mark Zupan and J. Peter Simon ’08S (LLD)

At the 25th Naming Anniversary celebration of the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, J. Peter Simon ’08S (LLD) was awarded the Simon School Dean’s Medal―one of the highest honors given by the School. The Dean’s Medal recognizes extraordinary service, philanthropy, and inspirational leadership, as well as dedication and commitment to the University. Nearly 250 guests—comprised of the Simon School community, University of Rochester alumni, Dean Mark Zupan, President Joel Seligman, William E. Simon Jr., members of the Simon family, and the participants of the 32nd Annual New York Recruiting Program—celebrated Peter and the legacy established by his family at Union Square Ballroom in New York City.   

“Peter's willingness to carry the torch that his father first lit for our School has been exemplary, as has been his leadership in the promotion and support of excellence at the Simon School,” said Dean Zupan. “Like our namesake, Peter is an ardent proponent of freedom and the vital role that entrepreneurship and free markets play in bettering society. We have been proud to carry his family's name for the past 25 years.”

Peter is a passionate advocate, mentor, and volunteer. He chairs the Simon School’s National Council and Executive Advisory Committee. Peter served as the School’s commencement speaker in 2008, when he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree. His devotion to mentoring future leaders can be seen in his personal counsel of students. Peter provides internship and placement opportunities to students and graduates, and encourages new recruits to join the School’s program. Peter and his family have funded Simon Leadership Fellowships for more than 50 exceptional students who demonstrated a record of community involvement, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

In addition to his service to the School and University, Peter has a successful career as a global financial executive, and is co-chairman of William E. Simon and Sons, a private investment firm and global merchant bank with offices in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and New Jersey. He and his wife, Janet, are George Eastman Circle Charter Members at the Benefactor level. Peter is a member of the Northern New Jersey Regional Cabinet as part of The Meliora Challenge. They are the parents of four children, Peter Jr., Emily, Timothy, and Cameron. 

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Make Your Reservations Now:
March 15, 2012 GEC Dinner in New York City

Maureen Dowd, The New York Times
columnist and bestselling author

Make your reservations now!

George Eastman Circle
NYC Annual Dinner
Keynote Address
by Maureen Dowd,
The New York Times columnist and
bestselling author

Thursday, March 15, 2012
Gotham Hall
1356 Broadway
New York, NY

To make your reservations, contact the Office of Donor Relations at 585-275-7393.

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January 2012

George Eastman Circle Reaches Membership Milestone

The George Eastman Circle Charter Phase began in 2006 with a goal of 250 members and by its end, 1,087 leaders stepped forward. As a result of this momentum, in 2008, a new goal was set: 2,000 members by December 31, 2011. The George Eastman Circle has met its goal and surpassed an important milestone with 2,021 members, representing 44 states and 11 countries.

The George Eastman Circle, the University's leadership annual giving society, has had a tremendous impact since 2006. It is a key factor in the University’s Annual Fund becoming one of the fastest growing in the nation. The Eastman Circle has enabled total contributions of more than $83 million or 64% of The Meliora Challenge’s $130 million goal for the Annual Fund. George Eastman Circle members’ generosity is helping the University pursue its mission.

Members exhibit their leadership and vision through unrestricted five-year pledges at six giving levels ranging from $1,500 to more than $50,000 annually. They support their passions by designating their gifts to more than 150 Annual Funds of the University. For example, annual giving has enabled the Golisano Children’s Hospital to create Health-e-Access, a pediatric telemedicine program, which is one of five programs nationwide to be honored for hospital-community collaborations that improve community health. Members’ contributions ensure the University is able to continue to supply 300,000 meals to homebound people each year through the Meals on Wheels program of Visiting Nurse Service. Funding has brought cutting-edge technology to Eastman School of Music students, allowing them to interact with professors and artists at institutions worldwide. Pledges support increased scholarships and help make major capital projects possible across the University.

George Eastman Circle members are leaders because of what they make possible. Through their continued support, members have enabled the University to turn “we need” into “we are able to.” Reaching 2,000 members is truly a testament to the commitment and engagement of the University community―locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. To continue this success, members must renew and upgrade current commitments and continue to expand the membership by inviting friends, colleagues, family, and fellow alumni to be a part of the Eastman Circle.

Learn more about how you can become a part of this leadership annual giving society and the impact it is making on the University by clicking here.

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Values and Action

We begin this year with excitement as we build upon two major milestones in 2011: growth of the George Eastman Circle and the public launch of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. Congratulations to the leadership and members of the George Eastman Circle―now with more than 2,000 members! Accomplishing this goal in just five years is a remarkable achievement. The progress has built a strong community of active supporters. It has also been a catalyst for much greater engagement and the rapid growth of our Annual Fund.

The public launch of The Meliora Challenge showcased our great momentum for the next phase of our Campaign. Amidst the fanfare of record-breaking Meliora Weekend attendance, we announced our $1.2 billion goal and our intentions to promote and enhance the University’s mission to Learn, Discover, Heal, Create―and make the world ever better. This Campaign, on behalf of the life-changing work of the University, will define the path on which we progress. I am incredibly inspired by the dedicated volunteers who are leading this Campaign through hard work and their terrific example.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this impressive growth, you have generated strong momentum to build upon, as we enter 2012. I would like to wish everyone a year full of good health, happiness, and continued success.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer

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Evans and Susanna Lam

Simon School Receives Susanna and Evans Y. Lam Professorship

“The School enabled me to fulfill the American dream. Giving back is part of this dream and what makes America great,” said alumnus, Evans Y. Lam ’83, ’84S (MBA) of the Simon School. Evans and his wife, Susanna, have added $1 million to a previous gift of $500,000 to establish the Susanna and Evans Y. Lam Professorship at the Simon School. The Lams’ generosity will help attract and recruit global business scholars to the Simon faculty.

Evans and Susanna have very successful careers as financial services professionals. Susanna, a CPA, is also an accomplished Chinese opera singer and performer. Evans is the senior vice president of investments and senior portfolio manager at UBS Financial Services, and a renowned expert who has advised the State Council of China on monetary reform.

"I came to the United States with $180 and a four-year scholarship from the University,” said Lam. “I am forever grateful to the University of Rochester and the Simon School for providing me with the foundation for my career in corporate finance and investment management."

Together, the Lams have counseled dozens of Rochester students over the years by providing guidance and direction for their studies and professional ambitions. Mentoring is just one of the ways Evans has remained an actively involved alumnus; he is also a member of the Simon School’s Executive Advisory Committee and National Council, and the University's Los Angeles Regional Cabinet. Currently, Evans’ leadership and counsel are helping Dean Mark Zupan advance the School around the world. The Lams, who are Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle, frequently host events in the Los Angeles area to strengthen the alumni community. And in 2010, Evans was honored for his commitment to the University with the John N. Wilder Award.

“We are immensely grateful to the Lams for the leadership they have shown by giving to the Simon School,” said Dean Mark Zupan. “Because of their generosity, we will be able to recruit premier faculty from around the world.”

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 Janice and Joseph Willett

Willetts Support Simon School Scholarships, English, and Theatre

Longtime benefactors of the Simon School and the University, Joseph T. ’75S (MBA) and Janice M. ’78S (MBA) Willett have pledged $3.5 million, which equals their previous gifts to the University’s comprehensive Campaign, The Meliora Challenge. This new gift will support student scholarships at the Simon School, faculty in the Department of English, and enhance the University’s International Theatre Program. 

“The global business school environment is becoming more and more competitive. The Willetts' gift will enable Simon to attract the most talented students from around the world,” said Dean Mark Zupan. “We are profoundly thankful for Joe and Janice’s steadfast and magnanimous support for our school.”

In addition to supporting Simon School students, the Willetts have chosen to honor Professor Russell Peck, the John Hall Deane Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature, and his wife, Ruth. Russell’s courses enhance the International Theatre Program through a comprehensive introduction to performance and technical demands. Together, the Pecks have taught a course on Theatre in England, which included extensive theatre-going experiences.

This marvelous gift from Janice and Joe Willett means a lot to us,” says Peter Lennie, senior vice president and Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. “It brings proper recognition to a beloved faculty member and a remarkable program in an accomplished department. The Willetts’ generosity inspires all of us.”

Joseph Willett is the retired CFO of Merrill Lynch and Co., Inc. and the retired COO of Merrill’s European region. Janice Willett, currently a freelance editor, most recently served as manuscript editor for The Boston Consulting Group, and has served as both a clinical faculty member and guest lecturer at the Simon School. She is a member of the University of Rochester Board of Trustees, the Simon School National Council, and is chair of the Simon School’s portion of The Meliora Challenge.

Together, the Willetts are members of the Simon School Executive Advisory Committee, co-chairs of the Northern New Jersey Regional Cabinet, and recipients of the inaugural Simon School Dean’s Medal in 2008. They are also George Eastman Circle Charter Members.

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Kathleen Whelehan and President Joel Seligman with event host, Tim Tompkins (left).

Honoring World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day was uniquely honored by the University of Rochester this year. Local entrepreneur, Tim Tompkins, brought both art and AIDS awareness to the community in an unconventional way. Tompkins, a long-time supporter of the University of Rochester Medical Center and its efforts to find new treatments and vaccines to combat HIV/AIDS, hosted a one-of-a-kind salon. He welcomed 120 guests into his historic home on East Avenue to enjoy beautiful music and an opportunity to experience a one-time gallery exhibit of an international collection of AIDS education posters from Dr. Edward C. Atwater ’50.

“This was a special evening. Tim brought together a distinguished group of people to remind us that HIV is still with us and to point out that Rochester’s contributions to HIV research are having a global impact,” said Dr. Michael Keefer, URMC Professor of Medicine and Principal Investigator of the HIV Clinical Trials Unit. “Tim has been a valued long-term partner, not only for our research effort, but also in fighting stigma that unfortunately can still cause people to avoid HIV testing, which denies them a chance to take life-saving medications at a time when it can be most effective."

The posters, mounted like paintings in an art gallery, replaced all of the art usually hanging on Tim’s walls for this event. As a medium of communication, education, and awareness, these posters have been a mainstay of the HIV movement to promote awareness and educate all segments of society. Dr. Atwater’s collection—a gift to the University―contains more than 6,200 pieces collected since the late 1980s, and represents 123 countries and 60 languages. A digital presentation of the collection was also put together to accompany the posters on display.

Dr. Atwater remarked, “This type of gallery setting is a unique and effective way to experience this archive. The collection serves as a constant reminder that AIDS has not yet gone away.”

Guests, including Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, were able to experience this important slice of modern cultural history in a very intimate setting. While viewing the collection, guests also celebrated Tim’s birthday and honored his commitment to HIV vaccine trials, research, and the pivotal work of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

When committed and passionate supporters join with the University, the results are remarkable. “This has been another great collaboration with the University of Rochester Medical Center―truly a pleasure to work with and advance the HIV cause,” said Tompkins.

Through the dedicated work of the Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation Department of the Rush Rhees Library, Dr. Atwater’s collection is now accessible to the public online. For more information about the Atwater collection of AIDS education posters, please click here.

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