September 2014

A Meliora Message 

With more than 150 activities scheduled for the University’s 14th Meliora Weekend beginning October 16, some tough decisions will have to be made—especially on Saturday, which offers an entire day’s worth of programming. 

Here are some of Saturday’s highlights that shouldn’t be missed.

11 a.m.–Noon. Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin, will give the weekend’s keynote address at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Get tickets while they are still available! For those who cannot make it downtown, there will also be a live simulcast in Strong Auditorium.

2 p.m.–3:30 p.m. Administrators from universities in the northeast will discuss the future of higher education at the Presidential Symposium. Panelists will include Edward D. Miller ’68M (MD), CEO emeritus of Johns Hopkins Medicine, John Sexton, president of New York University, Kent Syverud, chancellor of Syracuse University, and Nancy Zimpher, chancellor of State University of New York. University Trustee Hugo Sonnenschein ’61, president emeritus and Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, will moderate the conversation. 

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Noted attorney and broadcaster Arthur Miller ’56, ’08 (LLD) will “hold court” on privacy in the digital age. Henry Kautz, University of Rochester professor of computer science, and Linn Foster Freedman, partner and Data Protection Group chair at Nixon Peabody, will join Miller and other panelists to discuss constitutional issues as they relate to the Internet.

These programs represent a miniscule portion of the weekend’s excitement. You can put your weekend itinerary together by visiting the Meliora Weekend website’s “Schedule of Events” page.

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A New CEO, A New Institute 

Bradford Berk '81M (MD), '81M (PhD) and Mark Taubman, M.D.

On September 17, Bradford C. Berk ’81M (MD), ’81M (PhD), announced his plans to transition from his role as senior vice president for health sciences and CEO of UR Medicine and the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) to launch a new Rochester Neurorestoration Institute at the URMC.

President Joel Seligman has named Mark B. Taubman, M.D., currently vice president for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, as Berk’s successor. Taubman will maintain his position as dean in the transition, which occurs on January 1, 2015.   

“Brad has provided outstanding leadership to our medical education and research programs and to our multi-hospital network,” Seligman said. “He has already made significant contributions to the Medical Center by changing the focus to patient- and family-centered care. Brad now wants to turn his full attention to neurorestorative medicine. I am confident that he will develop a Neurorestoration Institute that will be one of this nation’s leading scientific and patient care institutes. I will support this Institute as a top priority for our University.”  

Seligman announced that the University Board of Trustees had approved a Distinguished University Professorship for Berk, effective upon his return to the faculty. 

Taubman, a highly respected leader at the URMC, has served as dean since March 2010, which followed nine-months of service as URMC CEO while Berk recovered from his spinal cord injury in 2009. 

“In his recent five-year review, Mark was praised for his strategic ability with the School of Medicine and Dentistry, his hiring and promotion of outstanding leaders, his implementation of operational plans, his integrity and his ability to engage Medical Center leaders during the post-2008 recession period of financial challenges,” Seligman said. “Mark has proven to be unflappable, a straight shooter, a dean with particular success in working with his research and clinical faculty. He is a man of unquestioned honesty and integrity, whose sense of ethics is of the highest order.”

Taubman is credited with steering the School of Medicine and Dentistry through turbulent financial times, leading the creation of the Medical Center’s strategic plan for research, and his strategic plan for education gave birth to the inter-professional Institute for Innovative Education, to list a few of his accomplishments.

“As a long-time professional colleague and friend, I’m well aware of Mark’s strengths as a thinker and leader,” Berk said. “I am fortunate to be able to turn the reins over to someone as capable and visionary as Mark Taubman.” 

You can read more about the new Rochester Neurorestoration Institute and the leadership transition in the official press release.

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Goldbergs, Nathans Support DM2 Research

Albert (Alfy) and Lilyan (Lil) Nathan

Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is a genetic disease that is split into two types: DM1 and DM2. Although they share similar characteristics, DM2 is more difficult to recognize and is often misdiagnosed. Michael and Sherry Goldberg and Lilyan (Lil) and Albert (Alfy) Nathan hope to change that with the Goldberg Nathan Myotonic Dystrophy Type 2 Endowment, a $1.25 million gift that will help advance DM2 research.

“We are deeply grateful to the Nathan and Goldberg families for their extreme generosity,” said Robert Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., the chair of the Department of Neurology and the Edward A. and Alma Vollertsen Rykenboer Chair in Neurophysiology. “Due to the efforts of Chad Heatwole, Richard Moxley, Charles Thornton, and many others here in Rochester, we believe that new therapies for this disease are on the horizon. This gift will help accelerate these efforts.” 

The Goldbergs can attest to the complexity of DM2 firsthand, as their son struggled with the disease for many years before it was diagnosed. The family had difficulty finding a neurologist that specialized in treating the disease and were even more discouraged to discover that very little research funding was being dedicated to find new therapies. Then they found UR Medicine neurologist Chad Heatwole, M.D. 

“Dr. Heatwole gave us the first glimmer of hope that someone was actually interested in helping people with this disease,” said Michael Goldberg, founding partner of the Chicago law firm Goldberg Weisman Cairo. “While our family had never made a major donation to a charity or medical institution before, we believed in Dr. Heatwole, the University of Rochester, and in the importance of helping find a cure for DM2 for our son and for the untold number of other people afflicted with this disease.”

The Nathans’ and Goldbergs’ endowment will be dedicated to finding new therapies for the disease and enabling Heatwole and other researchers at the University of Rochester to dedicate more of their time to studying DM2. These resources will allow UR Medicine scientists to develop a more precise understanding of the disease and create the infrastructure necessary to entice pharmaceutical companies to invest in new experimental treatments. 

You can read more about the Goldbergs’ and Nathans’ gift in the official press release.

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Barowsky Foundation Establishes Fellowship

Andrew P. Barowsky '72 

A University of Rochester education can take a student far in life. The Andrew P. Barowsky Foundation, Inc. has taken a more literal approach to help make that happen. With a $1 million commitment, the Barowsky Foundation has established a fellowship for students of Dominican University of California pursuing graduate degrees at the University of Rochester. 

Driven by a desire to become involved in education, Andrew P. Barowsky ’72, president of the Barowsky Foundation, began serving on the board of trustees at Dominican University in 2004, where he currently serves as chair. Knowing more than a quarter of Dominican University students are first generation college graduates and that nearly half come from ethnically diverse backgrounds, Barowsky sought to promote academic advancement by creating a path between Dominican University and his alma mater. 

“The University of Rochester has benefited enormously from Andrew’s generous support over the years,” said Peter Lennie, provost and the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering. “As his foundation establishes a bridge between Dominican University and the University of Rochester, we are reminded of his great commitment to higher education and its capacity for service to society.” 

Andrew, a Charter Member of the George Eastman Circle, is the chairman and CEO of Abaco LLC, and former president and CEO of Lepage Bakeries, Inc. Thanks to his generosity, students who might not have been able to pursue graduate school outside of California now have both the incentive and financial support to attend the University of Rochester. The fellowship will ultimately support five graduate students per year.   

“I created this fellowship,” said Barowsky, “to enhance society by using resources in a way that fosters inquiry, supports a culture of inclusion and open-mindedness, and integrates ideas, research and learning together to make the world a better place.”

You can read more about the Barowsky Foundation’s gift in the official press release

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Bils Installed as Inaugural Fyfe Professor

Joel Seligman, Mark Bils, Ph.D., and Gloria Culver '91M (MS), '94M (PhD)

Why has income inequality translated into consumption inequality? How has wage stickiness affected hiring in recessions? Have distortions in labor or product markets exacerbated recent recessions? These areas of inquiry are the domain of Mark Bils, Ph.D.

Bils is a professor in the Department of Economics and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. His distinguished career as an economist was recognized on September 15, when he became the inaugural Hazel Fyfe Professor in Economics.

An anonymous donor’s bequest honoring the Fyfe Family helped create this professorship, named in honor of Hazel Fyfe Gallaher ’46, who was also recognized during the installation ceremony. 

“Mark has used his brilliance in statistical analysis to tackle important economic issues, and has become widely respected in his field,” said President Joel Seligman. “I am sure Hazel, who worked as a statistician at Kodak for 30 years, would have approved of this appointment, and I am grateful this anonymous bequest has enabled us to celebrate her legacy.”

While the donor’s bequest was initially intended to only establish one endowed professorship, the value of the commitment allowed the University to create a second professorship in economics. The additional professorship was created in honor of Hazel’s brother, Gordon Samuel Fyfe ’46. The family legacy is further enriched through the Fyfe Scholarship Fund for Economics Majors.

The creation of this professorship—and the other funds—has made “Fyfe” synonymous with excellence in economics in perpetuity. As the first Fyfe Professor, Bils will provide an outstanding example for his successors.

“Mark’s work is consistently described as ‘paradigm shifting,’” said Gloria Culver ’91M (MS), ’94M (PhD), interim dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “His research has spanned many areas, producing an even broader and more significant impact. As highly regarded as he is in his field, he is equally—if not more—valuable as a University community member, through his teaching and leadership.”

Bils earned his doctorate at MIT in 1985 and joined the University faculty in the same year. His research has examined topics such as how wage-setting and pricing contribute to business-cycle fluctuations and measuring the importance of new and better consumer products. He has published on these subjects in several journals and has been the associate editor of a number of others, including the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, a position he currently holds. 

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