February 2014

A Meliora Message

A defining characteristic of a leader is the ability to inspire the leader within others.

As chief advancement officer, Jim Thompson’s vision for the University of Rochester was that if a voice called down from the heavens asking “Who is responsible for this place?” every person in sight—alumni, faculty and staff, students, parents, and friends—would raise a hand. During the past eight years, that vision led Jim to establish what he proudly refers to as a “community of leaders.”

With your partnership, Jim has created a model fundraising program that launched The Meliora Challenge—the largest campaign in University history—and has provided the momentum that will carry us well beyond the achievement of its $1.2 billion goal. Thanks to your guidance, Jim and the Advancement team developed one of the fastest-growing Annual Funds in the country, fueled by a best-in-class annual giving society (George Eastman Circle); a new society to recognize planned giving (Wilson Society); and invaluable volunteer groups that have increased our visibility and engaged scores of potential supporters across the country.

Jim led Advancement to the realization of virtually everything it set out to accomplish, and in doing so, reached an apex. It is now time for him and Advancement to begin new chapters. Jim will no longer be involved with day-to-day operations, but he will continue to offer his expertise as Special Counsel to the President.

Jim’s achievements in Advancement and his impact on the University will be felt for many years to come.

You can read President Seligman’s statement on Jim’s new role here.

To see photos of Jim from throughout his tenure, click here.


Chen Installed as the Bell Professor

Mark Taubman, M.D.; Richard (Dick) T. Bell; Yuhchyau Chen, M.D., Ph.D.; and Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD)

Cancer is cancer is cancer. Any kind is the worst kind. But when Richard (Dick) T. Bell was told he had Stage IV throat cancer, his initial thought was “this is serious cancer.”

A scary diagnosis was intensified by the prescription of a grueling eight-week course of chemotherapy and radiation at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. The aggressive approach ultimately saved Dick’s life, for which he credits the expertise of Yuhchyau Chen, M.D., Ph.D. Over the last eight cancer-free years, the parts of his treatment that have stayed with him—and given him a lifelong friend—were Chen’s constant encouragement and her willingness to go the extra mile to ensure his comfort.

Dedicated physicians who provide expert and compassionate clinical care are paramount to the Medical Center’s promise of “Medicine of the Highest Order.” Because she has proven to be exceptional in both areas Chen has been formally installed as the Richard T. Bell Endowed Professor.

On February 6, an installation ceremony recognized Chen’s commitment and contributions to the Department of Radiation Oncology and Dick’s philanthropy toward and leadership at the Medical Center.

“One cannot overstate the significance of the doctor and patient relationship, and I am thrilled to be able to honor such an extraordinarily caring relationship between Dick Bell and Dr. Chen,” said President Joel Seligman. “Dick’s generous gift to establish this professorship recognizes a healing bond and makes him an inspiration and an example for others to follow.”

Dick made the gift in honor of Chen and the nurses and technicians on her team to support research activities in clinical cancer and radiation oncology. He provides additional annual support to radiation oncology through his George Eastman Circle membership. Dick has also been incredibly generous with his time by acting as a mentor to other cancer patients. In 2011, he received the Inspiration Award in recognition of his giving—of all types—at the annual Discovery Ball, which he will be co-chairing this year with his wife, Marianne. An active volunteer, Dick is a board member of the Wilmot Cancer Center and co-chair of the Wilmot Cancer Center campaign.

The Richard T. Bell Endowed Professorship is a lasting resource that will enable the University to attract and retain outstanding faculty like Chen for generations.

“Our focus is on being a leader in patient safety and providing world-class care, and to do that, we need the very best faculty members,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for health sciences. “Yuhchyau exemplifies the type of educator, clinician, and researcher we aspire to have throughout the Medical Center.”

Chen, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, has been part of the oncology team at the Wilmot Cancer Center for nearly 20 years. Specializing in radiation treatment of lung cancer and cancer of the head and neck, Chen has an extensive history in clinical and translational research and pioneered a lower toxicity option for inoperable lung cancer. Her work has been recognized with numerous grants, fellowships, and awards.

You can read more about Dick Bell’s gift here.

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