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April 16, 2014

Wegman Foundation gives $17 million to University

Gifts benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital and Institute for Data Science

Danny Wegman at podium
“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,” said Danny Wegman, president and chairman of the board of the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation.

The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation has announced two gifts: a $10 million lead gift to the University’s Institute for Data Science and a $7 million gift to support the Golisano Children’s Hospital. Together with previous gifts to several programs across the University campuses, the announcement brings to $20 million the foundation’s total contributions to the University’s comprehensive campaign. In recognition of the support for the Institute for Data Science, the institute’s new landmark building will bear the Wegmans name.

“It is our honor to support the University’s campaign,” says Danny Wegman, the foundation’s president and chairman of the board. “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.

“In a similar way, 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. What could be more important or gratifying than ensuring the health of our children?”

The Institute for Data Science and the Golisano Children’s Hospital campaign are flagships of the $1.2 billion goal for The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester. The Wegman Foundation gift represents the fourth largest contribution to the University’s comprehensive campaign and the second largest gift to the children’s hospital.

“Data science is the defining discipline of the 21st century and among the University’s top priorities,” says President Joel Seligman.

“Danny 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 Institute for Data Science is uniting our institutional strengths in this area for this first time, including research being conducted at the Health Science Center for Computational Innovation, computer science, biostatistics, and other disciplines where data informs discovery,” says Rob Clark, senior vice president for research and dean of the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. “Our contributions in data science are already having a profound impact on research in fields ranging from political science to medicine, and the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation’s support for the institute is enabling in our efforts to make the University of Rochester a world leader in this emergent field.”

UR Medicine’s new $145 million children’s hospital features 52 private patient rooms, a greatly expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and spaces designed specifically to meet the needs of children and their families. Some of the new spaces families will be able to enjoy include a healing garden, family lounges, and a hospitality suite where parents can shower, prepare and eat home-cooked meals as a family, or even run a load of laundry.

“The foundation’s gift brings patient- and family-centered care one step closer to reality for our region’s youngsters,” said Nina Schor, pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital and the William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics. “Enhancements to the configuration of patients’ rooms and their increased proximity to charting stations will make it easier to include families in the care process. It also allows us to immerse our doctors-in-training into all aspects of care and develop more-skilled providers.”

The new hospital, which is the largest capital project in the University’s history, is slated to open in the summer of 2015. To date, the community and donors, such as the Wegman Family Charitable Foundation and B. Thomas Golisano, have supported the hospital construction, giving $45 million of the $60 million that must be raised for the building. Wegman, honorary chair of the Medical Center campaign, hopes this gift inspires others to contribute to close the $15 million fundraising gap needed for the new building.

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