October 2012

University Community Celebrates
12th Annual Meliora Weekend

Keynote speaker Barbara Walters speaks with President Joel Seligman after her Meliora Weekend 2012 keynote address.

The first Meliora Weekend since the launch of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester provided another event-rich, fun-filled celebration of the spirit of Meliora. Class reunions, fascinating lectures by distinguished alumni, engaging presentations by faculty, and spirited entertainment by students and guest performers provided a breadth of opportunities to stimulate the hearts and minds of more than 6,500 people.

Veteran journalist Barbara Walters delivered the keynote address to a packed audience at Eastman Theatre’s Kodak Hall, Saturday, October 13. Walters offered insightful, thought provoking commentary on current events, with a particular emphasis on her experiences interviewing some of the world’s most influential people. On the lighter side, comedian and Emmy Award-nominated host Craig Ferguson, of CBS’s The Late Late Show, entertained Friday-night audiences in the Palestra with his sardonic take on the state of the world.

Nearly 700 members of the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society, attended the weekend filled with diverse programming. On Friday, members attended an exclusive event with award-winning journalist Jim Lehrer. Lehrer's remarks focused on American politics, particularly the recent Romney-Obama debate and the debate process. After his remarks, Lehrer took questions from the audience.

A lively panel of experts, led by moderator Arthur Miller ’56, ’08 (LLD), debated the role of money in intercollegiate sports at "Miller’s Court: Intercollegiate Athletics—Who Are They Playing For?" Other signature programs included the Presidential Symposium hosted by Tom DiPiero, dean of humanities and interdisciplinary studies ; the “Medicine, Technology, and Innovation Luncheon,” where faculty and students from the Hajim School of Engineering and the School of Medicine and Dentistry discussed the synergies between technology and medical treatment; and a presentation by Rear Admiral Sean Pybus ’79, a career Naval Special Warfare SEAL officer, who shared his perspective on today's complex national security environment.

Opportunities to enjoy the arts were especially abundant this year due to Eastman Weekend, the Eastman School of Music’s reunion and family weekend, which is celebrated as a part of Meliora Weekend on a biennial basis. This year, Eastman celebrated the 150th anniversary of the radical musical innovator Claude Debussy’s birth with The Prismatic Debussy. Additionally, numerous student groups from across the University community demonstrated their diverse talents throughout the weekend.

The enduring popularity of Meliora Weekend is as much of a testament to the community’s affection for the University as it is a demonstration of a commitment to an “ever better” future. In all, the 12th Meliora Weekend was another to be remembered.

To view photos from the weekend, click here.


Values and Action

During our 12th Meliora Weekend, more than 6,500 members of the University community celebrated Meliora together. Alumni celebrated reunions and reconnected with faculty and each other. With current students, they also showcased their talents, engaged with visitors as University ambassadors, and participated in panel discussions. Parents saw our mission in action through a myriad of diverse programs. Friends toured campus, met with the scholars they support, and learned about the innovative work and important research being done here.

The memories created and the good times reminisced need not be confined to this special weekend. As Larry Cohen ’66 said, when he and his wife, Jane Cohen ’67, received the James S. Armstrong Alumni Service Award, "Little did you know you were creating another Meliora Moment in a lifetime of them."

Like Meliora Weekend, our Meliora Moments project provides the opportunity for our students, alumni, parents, and friends to connect with and take pride in being a part of the University community. Through personal accounts of experiences with the University, we are documenting what it means to be "ever better" and how this motto has, for many, become a guiding principle. It pleases me to report that we surpassed 300 Meliora Moments. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to share the story of how the University ignited Meliora within you. As a token of our gratitude, all participants will receive a “Meliora” pin.

To read my Meliora Moment, those of others, or to share your own, click here.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer

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The Meliora Challenge
Launches in the Midwest

On September 27, within the Grand Ballroom of the Trump Hotel in Chicago, the University kicked off its second regional campaign for The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. Along curved walls, 24-foot windows provided more than 120 guests stunning views of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, and the city’s historic architecture, as they celebrated during the largest University event ever held in Chicago.

Trustee Gail Lione ’71, vice-chair of the central U.S. Campaign efforts, provided a welcome that put the scope and importance of the University’s Campaign ambitions in perspective. The Chicago/Midwest regional campaign, led by co-chairs Trustee Hugo Sonnenschein ’61 and Stephen Down ’88, ’95S (MBA), will support The Meliora Challenge by raising $14 million and surpassing 100 George Eastman Circle members in the Midwest.

“Here, in Chicago and throughout the Midwest, we are the University of Rochester,” said Sonnenschein who is also chair of the Chicago Regional Cabinet. “Rochester was great, is great, and is becoming even greater. ‘Ever better’ is our motto; it is now our challenge.”

Citing specific support from great supporters and friends of the University, President Joel Seligman highlighted the ways the Campaign’s momentum and success are visible throughout campus and closed with a message that looked toward the future and encouraged guests to “come home.”

School of Arts & Sciences student Kelsey Burritt ’13 spoke on how Rochester opened her eyes to a new world of creative expression through her many theater experiences. Additionally, Eastman School of Music student and soprano Adelaide Boedecker ’13E (MM) gave an outstanding vocal performance; she was accompanied by fellow Eastman student and exceptionally talented pianist Heather McEwen Goldman ’13E (MM).

Alumni, parents, and friends in Chicago and southern Wisconsin have already raised $5.6 million. In the rest of the Midwest, the University community has raised $5 million, giving the regional campaign a total of $10.6 million in momentum. Additionally, there are currently 45 George Eastman Circle members in the greater Chicago area and another 26 members in the Midwest.

“We are playing more than witness to this remarkable transformation; we are active participants,” said Lione. “This is our University. We own it. Together, we bear responsibility for its future, and our pride will determine its legacy.”

To view photos from the event, click here.

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University Honors 2012
Award Recipients

Rochester’s award recipients exemplify our mission to Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—and make the world ever better. This year, we are proud to recognize outstanding alumni and friends at multiple celebrations. With these awards, we honor their accomplishments, service, leadership, and dedication to the University and their communities. They continue to inspire others to make an impact on the world and are deserving of the warmest congratulations and thanks for their commitment to helping the University be “ever better.”

Click here to see photos of the 2012 award recipients.

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Gosnells Name New NICU
at Golisano Children’s Hospital

Georgia Gosnell and her late husband, Thomas, almost lost both of their daughters at birth. It is with that memory that they build on a long history of philanthropy by supporting nearly 1,200 babies born in the region each year who need intensive care. To help give our most vulnerable children the best chance at full, healthy lives, Mrs. Gosnell has committed $5 million to name the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the new Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Mrs. Gosnell has also supported a top priority of the Medical Center campaign through the creation of two professorships within the School of Medicine and Dentistry. The Georgia and Thomas Gosnell Distinguished Professorship in Palliative Care will be held by Timothy Quill, M.D., and the Georgia and Thomas Gosnell Professorship in Quality and Safety will be held by Robert Panzer, M.D.

“Georgia and Thomas have been great friends of the University—and countless other Rochester institutions—for many years. This gift and the new professorships they have created are part of their incredible philanthropic legacy,” said President Joel Seligman.

The Gosnells’ generosity will help fund the new Gosnell Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which will include 60 beds, and allow for renovations to be made to the current NICU space, where babies needing less acute treatment will receive highly specialized care. When Mrs. Gosnell had her children, decades ago, a NICU did not exist at Strong Memorial Hospital. Today, her support is enabling the development of a first-class facility and providing leadership to the Golisano Children’s Hospital’s $100 million campaign. The Children’s Hospital’s 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.

“There are few ways to make a greater impact on a community’s future health than by ensuring babies the best start they can have in life, and the Gosnells’ gift is going to help us do just that,” said Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), University senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of the Medical Center.

Mr. and Mrs. Gosnell met after World War II, where Mr. Gosnell served with the U.S. Navy, earning many honors, including a Purple Heart. Mr. Gosnell died in 2009, but his legacy lives on through his and Mrs. Gosnell’s philanthropy throughout the Rochester area. In addition to their support of the Medical Center, the Gosnells have given to the Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Al Sigl Center, Genesee Land Trust, and the Memorial Art Gallery, among other important Rochester institutions.

For more information, click here.

To learn how you can give your support to the Golisano Children’s Hospital, click here.

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Argento Endows Professorship at Eastman

One of the fundamental reasons the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music has become the nation’s leading music school and has maintained a reputation for having the highest standards in performance, scholarship, and creativity is its exceptional faculty. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento ’58E (PhD) has made a commitment that will endow a professorship at $1.5 million and help perpetuate Eastman’s teaching excellence.

“Dominick Argento is one of Eastman’s most illustrious and admired graduates. We are in awe of his artistic achievements, and grateful for his exceptional generosity and commitment,” said Douglas Lowry, the Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music. “His gift will support and enhance the work of our outstanding faculty in presenting new musical ideas, as well as adventuresome ventures in music teaching and performance.”

To honor Argento, the endowed position will be named the Dominick J. Argento Professorship. Argento's gift to an alma mater that gave him so much moves the Univesity closer to reaching its Campaign goal of establishing 80 new professorships, which now stands at 54.

“In addition to providing me with an extraordinary musical education, Eastman changed my life in much more significant ways,” said Argento. “More than just imparting to me particular compositional techniques, what I acquired from the School was a sense of confidence, instilled by Howard Hanson, Bernard Rogers, and Alan Hovhaness.”

Argento, one of America’s preeminent composers of lyric opera, has compiled a diverse oeuvre that also consists of major song cycles, orchestral works, and choral pieces for small and large ensembles, with commissions from singers and ensembles across the United States and Europe. Of these, he has received notable accolades for From the Diary of Virginia Woolf (Pulitzer Prize for Music, 1975) and Casa Guidi (Grammy Award, 2004).

For more information, click here.

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Burger Commits to Broad Student Support 

Coming from an undergraduate background that included playing field hockey and running track and field, Barbara J. Burger ’83 has a deep appreciation for the faculty support and well-rounded education she received at Rochester. To ensure future generations of students have similar experiences, Burger has committed $1 million to the University to support both academics and athletics.

Burger’s gift will be used to create the Barbara J. Burger Endowed Scholarship in the Sciences, which will support one or more undergraduates each year who are pursuing degrees in biology, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, or physics. Her commitment will additionally support two endowed professorships in the chemistry department in the names of Richard S. Eisenberg, the Tracy Hyde Harris Professor of Chemistry, and Professor Emeritus Andrew S. Kende. It will also support the Timothy G. Hale Endowment for Competitive Excellence in Athletics, which benefits the University’s cross country and track and field programs.

“Barbara Burger clearly shares the University’s commitment to developing students both in and out of the classroom,” said Joanna B. Olmsted, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “Her generosity will make a difference for generations to come.” In addition to her recent philanthropy, Burger has shown longtime commitment to the University as a Charter Member of the George Eastman Circle.

Since graduating from Rochester, Burger earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at Berkeley. She is currently a vice president at Chevron Corporation. Burger believes she gained many of the tools to build her successful career while working in the chemistry labs of Rochester professors Richard Eisenberg and Douglas Turner.

One of Burger’s professors left a particularly lasting impression, when she arrived 90 minutes late to her final exam. Rather than sticking to the rules, when the professor handed her the test paper, he told her to do what she could and promised to give her back the time she had lost. Throughout the years, moments like these have stayed with Burger who is still in touch with some faculty and continues to visit the campus.

“It’s like I never left,” she said. “And I now want to make sure other students have the same opportunities as I did.”

For more information, click here.

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