September 2013

Special Message from
President Joel Seligman

I consider this readership a special group within the University community, which is why I wanted to personally inform you that Jim Thompson recently began a medical leave from his Advancement duties.

Jim Thompson has been my partner in building the University of Rochester’s Advancement program for almost eight years. He has been a dedicated leader who has made enormous contributions to our Advancement efforts.

Because Jim’s leave is expected to last several months, I have appointed James W. Osterholt to serve as Interim Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer. Jim Osterholt has had a very successful career in fundraising, most recently as Interim Vice President for Advancement at Pomona College. He also spent 21 years at UCLA, many of them as lead advancement officer. There is no doubt Jim Osterholt will provide sure-handed interim leadership until Jim Thompson returns.

Since its inception, Jim Thompson has been the steady and enthusiastic voice of this publication. In his absence, the Advancement team will do their best to fill this role, as we look forward to Jim’s return.


A Meliora Message

Meliora Weekend 2013 is right around the corner.

Those returning to campus only have to look around to see the principle of Meliora and how, in the twelve months between this Meliora Weekend and the last, we have continued to be “ever better.”

Meliora Weekend is not only an opportunity to reconnect to friends and colleagues, it is an ideal time to pause and reflect on the importance and the impact of what is happening throughout the University.

You can see the results of our efforts everywhere. In the brick and mortar that are coming together to change our University. And in the brilliance and determination of our people that are changing the world.

Look to the center of the River Campus and you see Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation, which will house two new majors.

Across the way is Raymond F. LeChase Hall, the first dedicated home to the Warner School.

There are the transformed grounds of the Memorial Art Gallery, and the new Centennial Sculpture Park.

Rising above it all is the steel that will soon be the new Golisano Children’s Hospital.

And everywhere are the faculty, staff, and students that are developing innovative technologies, breakthrough treatments, and tomorrow’s leaders in areas ranging from engineering to education and from music to medicine. 

Even though we live it every day, the spirit of Meliora really comes alive on these four days in October. We look forward to you joining us in person or in spirit—and in the Campaign to make the University, our University, “ever better.”

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Wyss Gift Strengthens Orthopaedics

Steven I. Kates, M.D.

Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss has given the University $2 million to support clinical work and research related to geriatric fracture care being led by Stephen Kates ’89M (Res) in the Department of Orthopaedics and the Center for Musculoskeletal Research (CMSR) at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC).

Wyss’s generosity, which in the past has supported medicine, education, arts, and land conservation, has established the Hansjörg Wyss Professorship in Orthopaedic Surgery. The gift will support Kates’s efforts to develop and disseminate a program that treats fractures in geriatric patients.

“Mr. Wyss’s generous gift is a testament to the caliber of the University’s outstanding clinical and research endeavors in the orthopaedic field and the pioneering work of Steve Kates in addressing geriatric fractures,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for Health Sciences. “It undoubtedly will accelerate our efforts to improve the health of orthopaedic patients worldwide.”

Kates and Wyss have a longtime connection through the AO Foundation, a nonprofit Swiss organization that supports research and development in the orthopaedics field. Wyss is a founder and honorary member of the AO Foundation, which currently funds Kates’s research in orthopaedic infections. For more than a decade, Kates’s goal has been to improve all aspects of care for geriatric fracture patients, which includes managing the continuum of care as part of the Geriatric Fracture Center.

“I am pleased to be able to support Dr. Kates’s excellent work studying, treating, and teaching the management of fractures in geriatric patients,” said Wyss. “Fractures in geriatric patients are an important clinical issue today and are predicted to increase dramatically over the next decade. I congratulate Dr. Kates on what he has accomplished so far, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact of my gift.”

Kates is one of the country’s top orthopaedic surgeons and serves as chief of the Metabolic Bone and Geriatric Division and associate director of the CMSR at the Medical Center. His efforts in geriatric fractures include research, national and international lecturing, and expanding the unique model of health care as well as improving the treatment of patients at the Geriatric Fracture Center at Highland Hospital.

The CMSR is addressing some of the most challenging issues in the musculoskeletal sciences, all in an effort to improve the health of patients. The CMSR currently is ranked No. 1 in the nation in National Institutes of Health (NIH) orthopaedic funding, receiving $4.86 million in peer-reviewed NIH grants in 2012, surpassing institutions such as Washington University, Johns Hopkins, and Duke University. At a time when research dollars are becoming increasingly scarce, the CMSR upped its funding by 30 percent over the previous year. Since 2000 it has consistently ranked among the top five NIH-funded musculoskeletal programs in the country.

The Department of Orthopaedics, led by Chair Regis J. O’Keefe ’00M (PhD), the Marjorie Strong Wehle Professor in Orthopaedics, is the highest NIH funded orthopaedic program in the United States.The department boasts a proud history of leadership in orthopaedic care and research that includes creating the gold standard for basal joint arthritis with the “Burton Procedure;” having the first team in the nation perform meniscal repairs in the knee; and having faculty members who have served for more than 30 years as directors of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

For more information on Wyss’s gift, Dr. Kates, the Department of Orthopaedics, and the CMSR, click here.

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Handlers Host Event Recognizing Importance of Scholarships

From left: Michael Lightman ’14S, Madalina Viasceanu ’16, Danika Felty ’15E, Shay Behrens ’14, and Nathaniel Bayer ’15M

As a young girl growing up in Avoca, Iowa, Shay Behrens ’14 dreamed of becoming a doctor but knew that dreams were not enough. Nor were hard work and determination, which she exhibited in abundance. For Shay, like so many others, success required the generosity of others in the form of scholarship support.

On September 9, University Trustee and Co-Chair of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester Richard Handler ’83 and his wife, Martha, opened their home to guests, President Joel Seligman, and students from Arts, Sciences & Engineering, the Eastman School of Music, the William E. Simon School of Business, and the School of Medicine and Dentistry in celebration of the spirit—and the success—of scholarships.

Throughout the evening, the students spoke of the difference their scholarships made in their education and in the pursuit of their aspirations. And everywhere in the room, the Handlers’ ongoing generosity was visible.

For Shay, who is the first in her family to attend college, the Alan and Jane Handler Scholarship brought her dream within reach. “With the Alan and Jane Handler Scholarship, I will have no financial obstacles, so I can focus on becoming the best student, leader, and adult. I can put more time into helping others as the Handlers have helped me.”

Nathaniel Bayer ’15M, recipient of the Carl B. Emerson Memorial Scholarship and the Dr. Hugh Hayward Scholarship, stressed that he views scholarship funding as an ongoing opportunity, now and in the future. “Without this support, medical school would not have been feasible for me. I am immensely grateful for this gift and for the opportunity to help patients’ lives. I know one day, I will give this chance to another student at the University.”

Madalina Vlasceanu ’16 spoke of how the Alan and Jane Handler Scholarship helped her pursue new opportunities outside her home country. “I would have had very limited options in Romania for higher education, and I would not have been able to receive higher education in the U.S. if it wasn’t for this scholarship.”

Danika Felty ’15E described how the Andrew Stalder Collegiate Scholarship helped her pursue her dreams of a career in music. “Through my education at Eastman, which this scholarship has made possible, I am able to reach for my goals, which includes performing to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.”

And Michael Lightman ’14S, recipient of the Sue and David Reh Scholarship, spoke of his plans to follow the example of his benefactors and give back in the future. “Knowing that there are people who have succeeded through the same rigorous experiences we have, and who have invested in us to also succeed, inspires me to be the best that I can.” 

Together, all of the students served as testaments to the importance, and the power, of scholarship support. Scholarships and fellowships are major components of the Student Support goal, one of the top priorities of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. As of September 16, $160 million has been raised, representing 71% of the $225 million goal for student support.

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The Bennett and Davielle Keiser Scholarship Challenge

For many students, paying for higher education can be a challenge. It’s a financial reality at virtually every university, including our own.

Thanks to the generosity of the Keiser Family, including alumni Bennett Keiser ’75 and his daughter Davielle Keiser ’08, that burden promises to be lessened for students far into the future because of a challenge of a more positive sort.

The Bennett and Davielle Keiser Scholarship Challenge is designed to encourage alumni, parents, and friends to create an endowed scholarship in any discipline within Arts, Sciences & Engineering. Beginning July 1, 2013, for the first eight new endowed scholarship pledges of at least $100,000 to Arts, Sciences & Engineering, the Keiser Family will contribute an additional $25,000 to each new endowment.

A gift of this type is a chance to multiply the impact of every scholarship that it touches. An endowed scholarship like those supported by the Keiser Challenge is an excellent way to provide opportunities to those in great need and those with great talent—and to create a legacy of tuition support that continues as long as the challenge of paying for the best education does.

For more information, click here.

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MEL Talks New to Meliora Weekend

Beginning this October during Meliora Weekend, the University will be spreading the spirit of Meliora through a new program: MEL Talks.

Modeled after the structure and flow of “TED Talks,” MEL Talks is a new University program that will deliver stimulating and inspirational stories, performances, and presentations from University alumni, faculty, and students. MEL Talks will be held in the Louis A. Alexander Palestra on Saturday, October 12 in two sessions, featuring a mix of speakers, performances, and video. 

Among the six speakers in session one, David Hursh, professor of education at the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, will give alternatives to high stakes performance reviews and the testing “madness” in today’s schools. And American Sign Language interpreter Dana Mittelman ’05 will share what it’s like tackling the intimidating task of signing for President Barack Obama.

Session two will have six more speakers, featuring Kathy Rideout, EdD, PNP-BC, FNAP, dean of the School of Nursing discussing how nurse practitioners, urgent care centers, and other providers can help prevent the looming shortage of primary care providers. And Emily Wozniak ’09E, ’14E (MM), founder and executive director of Sound ExChange, who will share ways to present music that turns the traditional experience on its head. To check session times and/or see the full lineup of speakers, click here.

MEL Talks is just one of the many highlights of Meliora Weekend 2013, which kicks off on Thursday, October 10. Meliora Weekend, now in its 13th year, is a unique Rochester tradition that welcomes parents, alumni, family, and friends to campus for dozens of programs, including lectures, dinners, department open houses, performances, exhibits, and reunion celebrations. Registration for all programs and events can be done online until Tuesday, October 1, at noon EDT.

To register for a program or event or for more information on Meliora Weekend 2013, click here.

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