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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