June 2014

A Meliora Message 

There isn’t an adequate way to summarize a University year—especially during a transformative campaign. Proper coverage of the highlights, achievements, and milestones requires a comprehensive, presidential address, and fortunately, the University has one every year: the Garden Party.

President Seligman’s speech provided details on the University’s strongest fundraising year in history, including some of the resulting impact. This issue of Fast Forward offers a brief summary, but we encourage you to read the full presentation.

Many of you are the reason we have had such a special year, and for that, you have our most sincere gratitude. Your partnership and all that it makes possible is an unceasing source of pride, a point that President Seligman captured perfectly in his Garden Party remarks:

“Our University is strong, growing, and an increasingly complex institution that is inexorably faithful to our motto: Meliora, ‘ever better.’”


Novy-Marx Installed as Inaugural Zekelman Professor 

Robert Novy-Marx, Lori Talsky-Zekelman, Alan Zekelman '87S (MS), Mark Zupan, dean of Simon Business School, and President Joel Seligman

At the 2012 Simon NYC Conference, Robert Novy-Marx, Ph.D., professor of finance at Simon Business School, flatly stated that the government pension crisis was getting worse by the day. 

That assessment was echoing a study he co-authored that garnered national media coverage, including publication in The New York Times. This seminal research established him as a leading voice on the subject and, eventually, carried him to Capitol Hill, where he testified before Congress.

It is one thing to be an exemplary scholar, but Novy-Marx is exemplary as an educator, too. On June 6, the University recognized him for his exceptional service at a ceremony formally installing him as the inaugural Lori and Alan S. Zekelman Professor of Business Administration. The ceremony equally recognized the generosity of Alan S. Zekelman ’87S (MS) and Lori Talsky-Zekelman, who established the position.

“I am deeply appreciative of Lori and Alan's tremendous support of the University and Simon,” said President Joel Seligman. “Professorships are the building blocks of great universities, and their gift is one that will preserve the foundation for excellence at the Simon Business School far into the future. It ensures that we will always have faculty members of the caliber of Robert Novy-Marx.”

Alan, a director of JMC Steel Group, also provides leadership to the Simon School as a member of its Executive Advisory Committee, National Council, and Campaign Committee. Lori is an attorney with Maddin, Hauser, Roth & Heller, P.C. Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle, the Zekelmans created the professorship to give the Simon School the resources to recruit a leading scholar and continue to build a globally-renowned faculty of finance experts, like Novy-Marx.

“Robert has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to excellence in all of his endeavors,” said Mark Zupan, dean of the Simon Business School. “He has epitomized the vision for our faculty to produce groundbreaking work with a cross-functional impact and has upheld our School’s goal to be known for understanding the power of markets and the role of entrepreneurs in creating value and improving society—especially through his scholarship regarding the magnitude of unfunded state and local government worker pension liabilities in the United States.” 

Formerly a professional triathlete, Novy-Marx has earned several awards for his research. In addition to government pension, his research is focused primarily on asset pricing—theoretical and empirical—but also includes industrial organization, public finance, and real estate. 

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Looney Installed as Inaugural Rosenfeld Distinguished Professor

R. John Looney ’76M (MD), ’79M (Res), ’81M (Flw), ’84M (Flw), Stephen I. Rosenfeld ’59, ’63M (MD), Elise A. Rosenfeld ’60W, Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, and President Joel Seligman

In 2003, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) selected the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) as one of nine universities and hospitals to be an Autoimmunity Center of Excellence. The recognition was representative of the URMC’s leadership in research on treatments for autoimmune disease which, more than a decade later, continues. 

One of the reasons the URMC has stood at the forefront of this field is the work of R. John Looney ’76M (MD), ’79M (Res), ’81M (Flw), ’84M (Flw)

Looney’s broad background in clinical immunology and great wealth of knowledge about the use of immunosuppressive medications, among other exceptional qualities, made him the ideal choice to be the first holder of the Dr. Stephen I. Rosenfeld and Elise A. Rosenfeld Distinguished Professor in Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The professorship was created by Stephen I. Rosenfeld ’59, ’63M (MD) and Elise A. Rosenfeld ’60W. Joined by family, friends, and the University community, the Rosenfelds and Looney were recognized at a formal ceremony on June 20.

“One of the wonderful aspects of an endowed professorship is that it ensures the continuity of excellence in a particular field,” said President Joel Seligman. “With this gift, Steve and Elise have made an indelible mark on the University that will allow us to continue to attract faculty members such as Dr. Looney in the field of Allergy and Immunology. I am deeply grateful for their generosity, and I am delighted to honor an outstanding educator, clinician, and scientist.”

Stephen Rosenfeld, professor emeritus, has had a distinguished career as a physician, researcher, teacher, administrator, and author, which includes serving as director of the allergy and immunology training program for 18 years and as the director of the Allergy and Immunology Clinic. Elise Rosenfeld is a longtime member of the Rochester Oratorio Society and helped found the Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival with Stephen. In 2011, she created the Elise Golub Rosenfeld Scholarship for students pursuing dual undergraduate degrees between the Eastman School of Music and the School of Arts, Sciences & Engineering. 

The Rosenfelds, Charter Members of the George Eastman Circle, created the distinguished professorship to enhance patient care, teaching, and research in allergy and clinical immunology.

“Dr. Looney’s talents as a clinician, teacher, and researcher have helped make Rochester a ‘Mecca’ for state-of-the-art treatment of allergy and immunologic diseases,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for health sciences. “He is the exact type of physician we aim to honor with a distinguished professorship.”

Looney’s career at the University has spanned three decades. His primary interest is in new agents for the treatment of rheumatologic diseases, and he is an internationally recognized expert in B cell-targeted therapies. Developing a program for diagnosing and managing hypersensitivity reactions to cancer chemotherapy and cardiovascular medications is one of his most important contributions, as without his protocols, many would have had to stop treatment.

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47th Annual Garden Party

President Joel Seligman addresses more than 500 attendees at the 47th annual Garden Party at the Memorial Art Gallery

The Meliora Challenge has the University in a nearly constant state of change. With so much happening year to year since the beginning of the Campaign, the annual Garden Party has, for many, been an opportunity to “catch up.”

On June 24 at the Memorial Art Gallery, President Joel Seligman spoke directly to the many transformations taking place by immediately noting that the University is on the move with great momentum. These points were brought to life through Campaign, student, and faculty highlights and progress updates on facilities and renovation projects.

After going through the noteworthy points of 2013, Seligman named his priorities for the coming year. On top of that list was concluding leadership searches, including the positions of chief advancement officer, director of the Memorial Art Gallery, and dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.

Other priorities included revised strategic plans for the Eastman School of Music and Simon Business School; the implementation of the Medical Center’s strategic plan; completing and opening College Town; completing the majority of the construction on Golisano Children’s Hospital; and implementing the University’s Research Plan with emphasis on planning for the Institute for Data Science and the new Science and Engineering Quad.

 “The University’s distinctive position among America’s great research universities is well earned,” said Seligman. “I have the utmost confidence that the dynamic talents of our faculty, students, and staff will continue to help ensure a vibrant and healthy future for the University.”

For more, read and view the speech and presentation

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