April 2013

Hilfiker Enriches Humanities with Leadership Support

Longtime Trustee Alan Hilfiker ’60 was the first in his family to attend college. With the help of a generous scholarship, he enjoyed a positive and enriching experience at the University. And when he graduated, he aspired to “repay” the University for all he had gained.

Hilfiker realized a lifetime goal when he made a significant gift that created the Alan F. Hilfiker Distinguished Professorship in English. He has also committed additional funds to the existing Alan F. Hilfiker Endowed Graduate Scholarship Fund, which helps students pursue academic careers of distinction in English, and the Alan F. Hilfiker Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship Fund, for first-generation college students who plan to study English or the humanities.

“The University has long benefited from Alan's engagement, vision, and generosity. He is one of our most active alumni and someone who genuinely values the richness that the humanities can bring to our lives,” said President Joel Seligman. “This gift will not only enhance scholarship in the field of English, but also allow a new generation of students to fall in love with literature, the way he did as an undergraduate student at Rochester.”

Hilfiker's commitment contributes to two top priorities of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester—faculty and student support. Combined, these two goals account for almost half of the overall $1.2 billion Campaign goal, at $350 million and $225 million, respectively. These goals are being achieved primarily through the establishment of new professorships, scholarships, and fellowships.

“I'm hopeful that through these efforts, the University and English Department will continue to inspire through research and excellent teaching,” said Hilfiker. “It's a privilege and a pleasure to be able to contribute in my small way to a department that enriched my life. I am a very proud and grateful alumnus.”

Born and raised in Rochester, Hilfiker is a founding partner of Garlick, Hilfiker & Swift, LLP, a law firm in Naples, Fla. He remains closely engaged with the University as a generous supporter of scholarship initiatives, as well as the Alan F. Hilfiker Gallery in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation in Rush Rhees Library. He and his wife, Carol Hilfiker ’60W, are Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle. They live in Naples and have three children and nine grandchildren.

For more information on Alan Hilfiker and this gift, click here.


Values and Action

During the month of April, we celebrated faculty excellence in the medical field at the installation ceremonies for Michael P. Eaton, M.D., as the inaugural Denham S. Ward, MD, PhD Professor and Theodore Brown, Ph.D., as the inaugural Charles E. and Dale L. Phelps Professor in Public Health and Policy. These distinctive events connected two exceptional professors with generous and visionary donors who created their positions. These academic leaders provide critical guidance through their contributions to the University. I am grateful we have had the opportunity to do this so often throughout this Campaign. 

The annual Celebration of Scholarships dinner turned our focus to some of the incredibly bright and talented men and women attending the University. Thanks to the support of alumni, parents, and friends, these students have the opportunity to become leaders in the fields they choose to pursue. Your gifts ensure Rochester remains a place where those with tremendous potential can thrive and lead, regardless of their family’s financial situation.

Just as endowed professorships are leading the progress toward our Campaign’s Faculty Support goal, scholarships and fellowships are the driving force in the pursuit of our Student Support goal of $225 million. A new initiative that will aid the effort of obtaining current-use funds for students is the George Eastman Circle Scholarship program. I encourage you to learn more about how you can use a George Eastman Circle membership to provide support to students in need by visiting the Campaign Web site.


James D. Thompson
Senior Vice President
Chief Advancement Officer

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Eaton Installed as the Inaugural Ward Professor

From left, President Joel Seligman, Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD),     Michael P. Eaton, M.D., and Denham S. Ward, M.D., Ph.D.

Anesthetic was first administered at Strong Memorial Hospital in 1926, and in 1969, the Department of Anesthesiology at the Medical Center was formally established. From that point forward, the work of distinguished department chairs put the department on par with some of the finest in the nation. Michael P. Eaton, M.D., current chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, has more than upheld this standard of excellence.

On April 1, Eaton was honored for his contributions to the University and his field during a ceremony installing him as the inaugural Denham S. Ward, MD, PhD Professor. The ceremony, attended by family, friends, and colleagues at the Witmer House, celebrated Eaton’s achievements and recognized another extraordinary anesthesiologist, Denham S. Ward, M.D., Ph.D., who twice served as chair of the Department of Anesthesiology (1992–2001 and 2008–2011).

“I want to thank Denham Ward not only for his leadership in inspiring the establishment of this endowed professorship tonight, but also for his leadership in the Department of Anesthesiology,” said President Joel Seligman. “His contributions have played a major role in shaping the field of anesthesiology and its future practitioners. He has been the inspiration for this professorship.”

The Denham S. Ward, MD, PhD Professorship in the Department of Anesthesiology was established by the generosity of many individuals to honor a revered University educator, scientist, and physician. Ward provided exceptional leadership during his tenure that included the purchasing of one of the first anesthesia human patient simulators in the country and the implementation of innovative educational programs, such as “Training Anesthesiologists as Physician Scientists.” Thanks to leadership gifts by Ward and his wife, Debra, and the supporting philanthropy of many other individuals who endowed this professorship, the University will have the resources to continue to attract leaders in anesthesiology like Ward and Eaton in perpetuity.

“This position acknowledges Eaton as a clinician, researcher, educator, and administrator who truly exemplifies ‘Medicine of the Highest Order,’” said Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), University Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and CEO of the Medical Center. “He is the Medical Center’s foremost expert in cardiac anesthesia, leading a group of physicians who provide support for a wide range of heart surgeries in adults and children. 

In addition to leading the Department of Anesthesiology, Eaton is also chair of the Congenital Heart Surgery Research Interest Group at the Medical Center. His research focuses on decreasing complications associated with the use of cardiopulmonary bypass machines, which do the work of the heart and lungs when the heart is stopped to perform a surgical procedure. He is particularly interested in pediatric and neonatal cardiac surgical procedures because less is known about the use of bypass machines for infants and children, and they are at a higher risk.

The Medical Center has added 28 new endowed professorships to the School of Medicine and Dentistry since the start of its campaign, a part of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. By the Campaign’s end on June 30, 2016, the Medical Center plans to have 40 new endowed professorships.

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Brown Installed as the Inaugural Phelps Professor

From left, Provost Peter Lennie, Dean Joanna B. Olmsted, Theodore M. Brown, Ph.D., Charles and Dale Phelps, President Joel Seligman, and President Emeritus Tom Jackson

The Department of Public Health Sciences is devoted to the mission of improving health and health care among diverse populations through research, learning, and community partnerships. To this end, Theodore (Ted) M. Brown, Ph.D., has made exceptional contributions as a scholar and professor of history, public health sciences, and medical humanities in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Brown was installed as the inaugural Charles E. and Dale L. Phelps Professor in Public Health and Policy during a public ceremony held in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library on April 24. The event was attended by family, friends, and members of the University community, including Board Chair Emeritus Bob Witmer, Jr. ’59President Emeritus Thomas H. Jackson, Distinguished Professor, and Provost Peter Lennie, the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. It was a celebration that acknowledged Brown’s achievements and recognized the outstanding commitment and philanthropy of Charles (Chuck) and Dale Phelps.

“This is a deeply meaningful gift,” said President Joel Seligman. “Few other couples have been as immersed in the life of the University or have served the institution in as many capacities as have Chuck and Dale. They also have devoted their entire professional careers to the field of health care and both are recognized nationally and internationally for their scholarly achievements. This generous support for ongoing teaching about and research into our nation’s health delivery system will address an issue not only near to their hearts, but one that is also vital to the country.”

With a $1.5 million commitment, the Phelpses established lasting faculty support for health care policy and public health research. Chuck Phelps is provost emeritus of the University of Rochester and currently holds the title of University Professor, which is awarded to faculty members who have distinguished themselves through outstanding and varied contributions to their own scholarly field as well as to the University itself. Dale Phelps also works in higher education. A University professor of pediatrics, she is a recognized expert in the study of a disease that affects the eyes of premature babies in intensive neonatal care. In addition to this gift, the Phelpses provide continuing support to the University as Charter Members in the George Eastman Circle.

It was to Chuck’s delight that Brown, a former colleague and opponent in many spirited debates held before students on the River Campus, was chosen to be the first holder of this professorship. He noted their debates were precisely what universities are supposed to be doing—presenting thoughtful arguments on an issue from two opposing viewpoints.

“I sometimes disagree with Ted on the details of health policy—about the best way to 'get there'—but we pretty much share the same vision for a better health care system, and I admire him hugely for the quality of his thinking,” said Chuck.

Chuck’s excitement about this appointment is shared by Joanna B. Olmsted, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “Ted has had a transformative effect on our students in the classroom,” said Olmsted. “I have had the privilege of sitting in on some of his lectures, and he provides a depth of thinking that helps students achieve a higher understanding of the practice of medicine and the health care field from moral and ethical standpoints.”

Brown’s research includes the history of U.S. and international public health; the history of U.S. health policy and politics; and the influence of organized philanthropy on medical research and medical education, among other topics. The author or coauthor of seven books, he is currently a contributing editor for the American Journal of Public Health, where he was named “Reviewer of the Year” in 2009. His work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and he is a visiting curator for the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md.

This professorship is one of 63 endowed professorships that have been created since the beginning of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester, which seeks to add 80 new endowed professorships before it concludes on June 30, 2016.

For more information on Brown, the Phelpses, and this gift, click here.

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Fourth Annual Celebration of Students and Their Benefactors

Nearly 200 scholarship recipients and donors gathered in the M&T Ballroom at the Memorial Art Gallery for the fourth annual "Celebration of Scholarships" dinner.

Tomorrow’s educators, scientists, health care providers, and artists are today’s students. Investing in their education ensures the important work being done at the University will be carried forward.

On April 22, a new generation of potential leaders and their benefactors gathered for the fourth annual Celebration of Scholarships dinner. The University-wide event, held in the M&T Ballroom at the Memorial Art Gallery, welcomed nearly 200 endowed scholarship supporters, student recipients, and University leaders, including President Joel Seligman and deans from schools across the University.

In addition to connecting generous donors with the talented students they have helped, the event offers personal perspectives on the importance of giving to endowed scholarships. Featured speaker University Life Trustee Karen Noble Hanson ’70 talked about her family’s legacy of support. In the 1960s, Hanson’s parents, University Trustee Joseph Noble ’34 and Kathryn Cromwell Noble established four endowed scholarship funds in honor of various faculty members. In memory of her parents, Hanson created the Karen Noble Hanson Scholarship Fund in Memory of Kathryn Cromwell Noble and Joseph L. Noble in 1991. Together, the family has aided more than 100 students at the University over the last two decades alone.

The Nobles are exemplars of the kind of support today’s students need. As Hanson noted, students are dealing with unprecedented financial pressure during times when many schools are cutting back on assistance. Students Galen Dole ’14, recipient of the Halee and David Baldwin Undergraduate Scholarship, and Nathaniel Bayer ’15M (MD), recipient of the Carl B. Emerson Memorial Scholarship and the Hugh Hayward MD ’55 Endowed Scholarship, were both able to attest to that reality. Echoing each other in their messages, Dole and Bayer voiced that they wouldn’t be where they are without the help of their benefactors and each closed with a simple, but powerful, “thank you.” Soprano Joel Dyson ’14E, recipient of the William Warfield Endowed Scholarship, showcased her talents by performing two pieces, accompanied by Haeyeun Jeun ’08E (MM), ’13E (DMA).

Underscoring the impact of scholarships, President Seligman provided examples of some of history’s most inspirational figures, as well as leaders within the community, who benefited from financial assistance. These stories provide the basis for scholarships as a priority of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. By the end of the Campaign, the University seeks to reach a goal of $225 million in student support, primarily through the establishment of endowed scholarships.

To see photos from the event, click here.

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New Awards Web Site Celebrates University Leaders

In 2008, the University’s awards program was expanded to recognize great leadership, philanthropy, and professional achievement. Since then, awards have been given to nearly 100  members of the University community who have exemplified the mission to Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—and make the world ever better. These individuals are now being further recognized through a new Web site,

The Advancement Awards Web site celebrates outstanding alumni, parents, and friends of the University. Key features include a homepage organized by school, descriptions of each award, profiles on the most recent winners, and photos and tribute videos from ceremonies held in Rochester and across the country. The site also has a robust database that can be searched by name, degree, award, school, and year, allowing visitors to see the previous holders of each award.

The site is more than a place to display accolades of the past; it’s a tangible history of the leadership, achievements, and generosity of individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the University. Visit to read about the most recently honored University leaders.

For more information, contact Kevin Wesley, assistant vice president for Advancement and Alumni Relations at (585) 276-3575 or

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