April 2014

A Meliora Message

This issue of Fast Forward features several new gifts, multiple endowed professorship installation ceremonies, and a variety of signature University events. It is representative of everything that has given The Meliora Challenge the powerful momentum that promises to carry it beyond its $1.2 billion goal. As we move forward in this final stage, it is important to remember that the University’s goals, aspirations, and our overall mission to make the world “ever better” will not end with the Campaign. It will be through the continued leadership, dedication, and generosity of alumni, faculty and staff, parents, and friends that the University’s vision—for itself and the world—will always be within reach.


The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation Supports Major Projects

University Trustee Danny Wegman at the announcement of a $17 million gift from The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation.

Data science and children’s health care are two areas in which the University has invested heavily through the creation of the new Institute for Data Science and the construction of a new Golisano Children’s Hospital. Both projects recently received a significant boost in funding.

On April 1, President Joel Seligman announced two extraordinary gifts from The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation: a $10 million lead gift to the Institute and a $7 million gift supporting the campaign for the Children’s Hospital. In recognition of the generosity toward the Institute, the new building to house it will bear the Wegman Family name.

“Data science is the defining discipline of the 21st century, and among the University’s top priorities,” said Seligman. “Danny [Wegman] saw the potential of this initiative to build off of our strengths in data science and computational capabilities and our long tradition of entrepreneurship. He also knew a gift to the new Golisano Children’s Hospital would be an investment in our region’s future. Both of these gifts will further deepen the Wegman legacy in upstate New York.”

The Wegman Family gift represents the fourth largest contribution to The Meliora Challenge and the second largest gift to the Children’s Hospital. With previous gifts supporting several programs across the University, the Foundation has now contributed a total of $20 million to the Campaign.

“It is our honor to support the University’s campaign,” said Danny Wegman, president and board chairman of the Foundation. "The Institute for Data Science is helping the University and its collaborators become leaders in leveraging information in ways that will transform 21st-century discovery and innovation.”

The new building for the Institute, a proposed $25 million, 50,000-square-foot facility, will complete the Science & Engineering Quadrangle on the River Campus. It will bring together—under one roof—faculty members in medicine, science and engineering, the humanities, education, business and other disciplines for the purpose of data science research and studies.

The Rochester community and donors, such as The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation and B. Thomas Golisano, have been paramount to the construction of the new Children’s Hospital, which still needs to raise $15 million toward a $60 million goal. Wegman, honorary chair of the Medical Center campaign, hopes this gift will inspire others to contribute to close the gap.

“The new children’s hospital will move health care for our region’s children and their families into a whole new environment designed around children’s needs,” said Wegman. “What could be more important or gratifying than ensuring the health of our children?”

You can read more about The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation’s gift, the Institute for Data Science, and the new Golisano Children’s Hospital in the official press release, here.

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Blochs Endow Support to Advancement Program

University Trustee Larry Bloch ’75, P’13S and Cindy Bloch P’13S with James D. Thompson following the George Eastman statue dedication at Meliora Weekend 2009.

Working closely with James D. Thompson, former chief advancement officer (CAO), University Trustee Laurence (Larry) H. Bloch ’75, P’13S helped change the culture of philanthropy at the University of Rochester.

Larry and his wife, Cindy Bloch P’13S, have honored that partnership through a significant gift to establish the James D. Thompson Chief Advancement Officer: Endowed by Larry and Cindy Bloch. In addition to ensuring the University always has strong leadership in this position, the Blochs have also created the Larry and Cindy Bloch Endowment for University Advancement to perpetuate the achievement of the Advancement program’s mission.

“I am continually moved by how Cindy and Larry express their support of the University,” said President Joel Seligman. “This gift will allow us to meet the significant challenges we will face in the road ahead for the development of our advancement program, far into the future. The Blochs’ choice to at the same time recognize Jim captures the true spirit of these named positions, as we will be building on his hard work and great success. We are incredibly fortunate to so often be the beneficiaries of the Blochs’ generosity and counsel.”

The Blochs’ innovative gift supporting the University’s CAO reinforces the University’s aspirations for faculty and staff excellence. Alumni, faculty and staff, and friends of the University have helped create 77 new endowed positions toward a minimum Campaign goal of 80.

“For the University to be approaching $1.1 billion in campaign commitments with more than two years to go is something very few would have imagined eight years ago. This accomplishment is very much a reflection of Jim’s vision and deep-rooted commitment to the University’s donors,” said Larry. “Generating support from alumni, parents, and friends requires a great advancement organization and forward-thinking leadership. Endowing the chief advancement officer in Jim’s honor will enable the University to maintain the very high standard he set.”

Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle, the Blochs’ previous philanthropy includes the University’s statue of George Eastman on the Eastman Quadrangle. They also made a leadership gift to the Goergen Athletic Center, for which they were honored in 2000 at the formal dedication of the Larry and Cindy Bloch Fitness Center.

Cindy is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and built a career as head fashion designer for several women's sportswear companies in New York City, including major divisions of Evan Picone, Leslie Fay, and J. G. Hook. In her retirement from the fashion industry, she has taken on leadership roles in a number of philanthropic organizations, including serving as board chair of the San Diego-based nonprofit Kids Korps, USA.

A private investor, Larry has served as a director of several private equity-sponsored companies. He is the former chairman of Diversified Global Graphic Group, a global provider of print and graphic communications services, and the past president and board chairman of TransWestern Publishing Company, LLC, formerly one of the country’s largest independent telephone directory publishers.

As a University volunteer, Larry is vice-chair of West Coast efforts for the Campaign, chair of the board’s Development Committee, and is a member of the Executive Committee.

You can read more about Jim Thompson’s impact on Advancement in the official press release here.

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Lacoff Honors Professor with Faculty Endowment

Professor Michael C. Jensen, M.B.A., Ph.D., speaking at an installment of the Sands Leadership Lecture Series.

Many University of Rochester students have professors whose impact on their lives is felt long after graduation. For Martin (Marty) S. Lacoff ’71S (MBA), economist Michael C. Jensen, M.B.A., Ph.D., was one of those professors. With a $1.3 million commitment to Simon Business School, Marty has honored that relationship by establishing the Michael C. Jensen Professorship.

“I am deeply grateful for Marty's commitment to the Simon Business School,” said President Joel Seligman. “This professorship will serve as a lasting tribute to Professor Jensen’s illustrious career at the University while strengthening the Simon School’s offerings within the field of finance.”

The professorship will support a leading Simon School faculty member and help the School remain at the forefront of education and research. This is the 10th endowed professorship to be established at Simon in support of The Meliora Challenge, an area in which Marty set the precedent. In 1984, he created the first faculty endowment at Simon when he established the LaClare Professorship of Finance and Business Administration—Jensen was the inaugural holder.

Jensen is the founder of Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), which continues to be published at the Simon School. His best-known JFE paper, “Theory of the Firm: Managerial Behavior, Agency Costs and Ownership Structure,” co-authored by former Simon dean William H. Meckling, is the most widely cited paper ever produced by a business school faculty member in the world.

Marty is an entrepreneur with over 45 years of experience starting, developing, and operating businesses within the securities, real estate, and natural resources industries. Current chairman and founder of Belpointe, a family office offering wealth management, accounting, legal and real estate services in Greenwich, Conn., he has also been vice-chairman and co-founder of Walker Energy Partners and founder, chairman, and general securities principal of LaClare Securities, Inc.

“Marty’s generosity is further testament to the lasting impact that our School’s faculty has on students, fellow scholars, businesses, and society,” said Mark Zupan, dean of the Simon School.

As a volunteer, Marty serves on the board of directors for the Lion’s Foundation of Greenwich [Conn.], a charitable organization dedicated to helping the blind and visually impaired, and he is a member of the Simon School’s Executive Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the George Eastman Circle.

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Zeidman and Pressman Lead Funding for Future Professorship

Seth M. Zeidman, M.D., and Eva K. Pressman, M.D.

Several years ago, Seth M. Zeidman, M.D., a neurosurgeon on Highland Hospital’s medical staff, was biking along the Erie Canal when his ride took a disastrous turn. An accident caused him to sustain a broken arm and significant blood loss. Even more alarming, he suffered a heart attack—although he didn’t know it at the time.

That day, Seth was treated by Stephen L. Kates, M.D. ’89M (Res), the Hansjörg Wyss Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation. It was Kates who discovered the heart attack, a discovery which Seth has deemed life-saving. Seth also credits Kates for helping him to regain the mobility he needs as a surgeon.

Honoring this relationship, Seth and his wife, Eva K. Pressman, M.D., the Henry A. Thiede Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, committed $750,000 for orthopaedics research at the Medical Center.

The couple’s gift is meant to inspire additional gifts that would ultimately total a minimum of $1.5 million to fund the Stephen L. Kates Professorship in Orthopaedics. In the meantime, their commitment will support the research of a full-time faculty member that advances the care and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases.

“This generous gift from Eva and Seth will allow our nationally recognized researchers to continue to unravel the mysteries of musculoskeletal health and develop therapies that will impact patients today and in the future,” said Mark B. Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for Health Sciences.

Eva and Seth, who joined the University in 1999, have helped recruit dozens of colleagues at other institutions to come to Rochester. Both are committed to supporting the pioneering work being done by the Department's Center for Musculoskeletal Research.

“We love it here,” said Eva. “The faculty, staff, residents, researchers, and students are phenomenal.” Seth added: “Everyone is top-notch and we’ve been very pleased with how our lives and careers have developed at the University of Rochester. We’re extremely grateful for every opportunity, and we want to give back.”

Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle, the couple has committed a total of nearly $1 million in support to the departments of surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology at Highland Hospital, as well as several programs and initiatives. They also serve on the Highland Foundation Board and are actively involved with the Highland Hospital Gala.

You can read more about the Department of Orthopaedics' Center for Musculoskeletal Research in the official press release here.

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San Diego Regional Campaign Launch

On April 10, the spirit of Meliora was alive in San Diego. Nearly 80 University alumni, parents, and friends gathered at the Grand Del Mar Hotel to celebrate Rochester pride and local support for The Meliora Challenge.

Opening remarks from University Trustee and George Eastman Circle member Larry Bloch ’75, P’13S, vice-chair of west coast efforts for The Meliora Challenge, put the Campaign’s significance and success to-date into perspective. President Joel Seligman reminded attendees that the Campaign supports the University’s vision to be one of the top research universities in the country.

Going into the evening’s celebration, the region had already raised $10 million. Trustee and George Eastman Circle member Mike Rosen ’82, ’83S (MBA), chair of the San Diego Regional Cabinet and San Diego’s regional campaign, is leading efforts to reach a goal of $11.5 million by the end of The Meliora Challenge.

Following the precedent set by the celebration in New York, the evening’s theme was structured around the four pillars of the University’s mission—Learn, Discover, Heal, Create—and brought to life through four video “portraits of Meliora.” Attendees were also treated to a live demonstration of “Create” by soprano Mary Baron ’14, ’14E and pianist Evelyn Lam ’13E, ’15E (MM).

Prior to her performance, Baron spoke about her University experience and how it is supported by her Steven Bramson and Ruth Oroshnik George Eastman Circle Scholarship. She will graduate in August with a bachelor of music in applied voice from the Eastman School of Music and a bachelor of arts in business from Arts, Sciences & Engineering.

You can see photos from the San Diego regional campaign launch here.

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Fifth Annual Celebration of Scholarships

Recipients and their donors celebrating scholarships in the Memorial Art Gallery's M&T Ballroom.

The University’s fifth annual Celebration of Scholarships was held in the Memorial Art Gallery’s M&T Ballroom on April 6 and attended by more than 220 scholarship donors and recipients. They were joined by several University leaders, including President Joel Seligman, deans, and members of the Board of Trustees.

Attendees were welcomed by University Trustee Paul Griner ’59M (MD), ’65M (Res), who created the Paul F. Griner, M.D. Merit Scholarship in 2007 to help students realize the unique opportunities afforded by a Rochester medical education. In his opening remarks, he highlighted the program’s speakers and performers, including Chris Doser ’14E, ’15, recipient of the Robert J. and Signe Sebo Zale Scholarship, who performed with his jazz quartet during the reception.

President of Chevron Technology Ventures Barbara Burger ’83 shared that her professors and the well-rounded education she received at the University inspired her to establish the Barbara J. Burger Endowed Scholarship in the Sciences, which supports students pursuing degrees in biology, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, or physics.

Shay Behrens ’14 spoke about her University experience and the doors that opened because of support she received from the Alan and Jane Handler Scholars Fund, established by University Trustee Rich Handler ’83 and his wife, Martha, in honor of Rich’s parents. Shay is the first in her family to attend college.

You can read more stories like those of Barbara Burger and Shay Behrens and learn about the importance of supporting the University’s students in a new brochure on endowed scholarships here.

You can also see photos from this year's Celebration of Scholarships here.

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Simon NYC Conference 2014

The fifth annual conference will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on May 8.

Simon Business School’s annual New York City Conference brings together leading industry executives, government officials, and preeminent faculty to discuss key issues within the business community.

The fifth annual conference, “The Global Marketplace: Rising to the Challenges of Regulation, Disruption, and International Competition,” will be held on May 8 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Conference participants will discuss the pathways to success for today’s companies facing increasing global competition and innovation and honor this year’s Executive of the Year Award recipient, Rob Sands, president and CEO of Constellation Brands.

The Executive of the Year Award honors a person in business who has made a groundbreaking contribution to his or her organization, exemplifies the spirit of leadership, demonstrates a deep respect for our nation's fiscal health, and has a significant pattern of public service and philanthropy.

Some of the conference’s esteemed panelists will include Michael C. Jensen ’01S (LLD), former LaClare Professor of Finance and Business Administration at the Simon School and Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, Harvard Business School; Sallie Krawcheck, owner of 85 Broads and one of the most respected voices on Wall Street; Larry Kudlow ’69, ’13S (LLD), retired host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report; and University Trustee Rich Handler '83, CEO Leucadia and Chairman, CEO Jefferies LLC.

You can read more on Rob Sands here, and you can find a full list of confirmed speakers and panelists here.

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Kates Installed as Inaugural Hansjörg Wyss Professor

President Joel Seligman, Stephen L. Kates ’89M (Res), Hansjörg Wyss, Mark Taubman, M.D., Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), CEO of the Medical Center and senior vice president for Health Sciences, and Regis J. O’Keefe ’00M (PhD), the Marjorie Strong Wehle Professor in Orthopaedics and chair of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation

It would be more than fair to say that geriatric fractures are scourges of humanity. They rank among heart disease and cancer as afflictions that cause the greatest amount of disability and have the highest mortality rate. The Medical Center is at the forefront of addressing this growing problem, largely because of orthopaedic surgeon Stephen L. Kates ’89M (Res).

Kates, director of the Geriatric Fracture Center, has created an internationally-renowned geriatric fracture care program at Highland Hospital. Accomplishments like this have led to him becoming the inaugural holder of the Hansjörg Wyss Professorship.

Kates and the professorship’s creator, entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss, were recognized by the University community on April 2.

“Hansjörg has extraordinary range as a humanist, including land conservation, fighting hunger, refugee support, and his main interest: health care. I can’t overstate my gratitude for his support.” said President Joel Seligman. “This professorship will enable Steve Kates to continue to provide global leadership in addressing geriatric fractures.”

Born and raised in Bern, Switzerland, and now a resident of Wyoming, Hansjörg’s professorship is only the tip of an iceberg-sized commitment to making a difference in the world. In 2013, he joined the Giving Pledge, a global initiative created by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates that encourages the world’s wealthiest individuals to commit to giving a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. In this instance, his gift was made to support the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation's clinical work and research related to geriatric fracture care, which is currently being led by Kates in the Department's Center for Musculoskeletal Research.

“Steve is helping to tackle one of the world’s most important problems in medicine,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for health sciences. “And he has established himself as a global leader in the area—clinically, as an outstanding surgeon, and in his research and teaching. There’s no one more deserving of a named professorship in this field.”

Kates has developed a model of care for the aging population that is emulated across this country and in several others. He has lectured extensively on geriatric fractures, system improvement, infections, and osteoporosis in North America, Europe, and Asia.

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Laboratory for Laser Energetics Faculty Honored

President Joel Seligman, Robert McCrory, Ph.D., Riccardo Betti, Ph.D., and Robert L. Clark, Ph.D., senior vice president for research and dean of the Edmund A. Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

It’s a rare occasion when two University professors are honored with professorships at the same ceremony. It’s an even rarer occasion when one of those professors is the namesake of the other’s position.

On April 4, Robert McCrory, Ph.D., director of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) for the last three decades, was recognized for his contributions to the physics and engineering community, the LLE, and to the University in general with the appointment of University Professor. Only eight other current or retired faculty members have received this honor.

As McCrory has proven to be an exemplar of the qualities that define faculty excellence, a professorship established by an anonymous donor was named in his honor. Riccardo Betti, Ph.D., professor of physics and astronomy and former Helen F. and Fred H. Gowen Professor, became the inaugural holder of the Robert L. McCrory Professorship, in recognition of his leadership in the domain of fusion energy research.

“Bob McCrory has worked tirelessly in Washington, D.C. as an advocate for high-energy-density physics and the Laser Lab. He has recruited outstanding colleagues, and he has been a visionary of international prominence for his work,” said President Joel Seligman. “I am delighted to recognize Bob’s accomplishments and extraordinary service with this professorship.

“I am also delighted to honor Riccardo Betti, an internationally recognized leader in fusion energy research, as the first faculty member to be named to the Robert L. McCrory Professorship.  I can think of no more fitting incumbent for this new professorship than Riccardo, one of our most distinguished scientists and someone who makes vital contributions to the mission of the Laboratory for Laser Energetics.”

Betti is truly one of the LLE’s exceptional scientists. His research in inertial confinement fusion and magnetic fusion energy has earned him accolades from the American Nuclear Society, the Department of Energy, and the Fusion Power Associates.

Under McCrory’s leadership, the LLE has established itself as a world-leading facility for the investigation of inertial confinement fusion, utilized by scientists from around the world. Since becoming the director, McCrory has been responsible for securing $1.6 billion in funding for the LLE.

You can read more about Robert McCrory in the official press release on his appointment here.

You can also read more about Riccardo Betti becoming the inaugural McCrory Professor here.

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Gross Installed as Inaugural Hilfiker Professor

Joanna B. Olmsted, dean of Arts & Sciences, Kenneth Gross, Ph.D., University Trustee Alan F. Hilfiker ’60, and President Joel Seligman describes Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life as “A book about re-seeing what we know, or what we think we know [about] the startling power of puppets as mirrors of the uncanny in life and art.” Cornell University’s Department of English called it one of the most distinguished books in American theater.

The latter description earned the book the 2011–2012 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, honoring the year’s best work in the field. The book’s author is University renaissance scholar Kenneth Gross, Ph.D. Work of this caliber is just one of the reasons Gross was selected to be the inaugural holder of the Alan F. Hilfiker Distinguished Professorship in English.

Gross and his position’s benefactor and namesake University Trustee Alan F. Hilfiker ’60 were recognized at a formal ceremony on April 4.

“Alan’s continued support of the English department at Rochester is reflective of the University’s commitment to the humanities,” said President Joel Seligman. “Ken’s dedication to both his students and his craft as a scholar of dramatic literature embodies what this new professorship represents.”

Creating this position was a “bucket list” item for Alan. Since graduating, he has aspired to repay the University for the education, financial support, and experience he received as a student. Now, he hopes the professorship will help the English department sustain a rich history of talented faculty to train new generations of scholars.

Gross has been a University professor for nearly 30 years, five of which he served as the director of Undergraduate Studies in English and director of the English Honors Program. His research is predominantly focused on Renaissance literature and the work of William Shakespeare, but also branches out to lyric poetry, literature, visual arts, and traditional and experimental theater. Next academic year he will be a visiting scholar at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

You can read more about Kenneth Gross and Alan Hilfiker in the official press release here.

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