George Eastman Circle Newsletter

George Eastman Circle Newsletter

Gotham HallWe are thrilled to welcome you to the second issue of the George Eastman Circle Newsletter.

Our second annual dinner in New York City this spring was a wonderful occasion that showed the phenomenal progress we have made in one year. Thanks to the exceptional generosity of our members, the George Eastman Circle is helping the University make a positive impact on the lives of students, faculty, patients, and so many others.

Your commitment is helping to build the momentum needed for an institutional transformation that will raise the University to a new level among the world’s best research institutions. We thank you for joining this venture in its early stages, and for your continuing involvement.

Looking forward, we must continue our momentum and achieve our next milestone: recruiting 1,000 Sustaining Members, those who make five-year commitments in the tradition of the Charter Members. As University of Rochester Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58 said at the New York dinner, “If each Charter Member recruited just one Sustaining Member, we could reach our goal and double our ranks in a short time.

As you will see in the articles that follow, you have increasing opportunities to participate in University life. We encourage your involvement, which will inspire many others. In particular, please join us in Rochester for Meliora Weekend 2009 — October 8-11. Special events are being planned for George Eastman Circle members, and we hope you will be on hand once again to make University history.

Make a Gift by June 30In this challenging economic time for our nation, the George Eastman Circle stands as an example of how the power of philanthropy can make a real difference. We urge you to pay your pledges before the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30 so we can finish the year strong. More than ever, our generosity, leadership, and commitment are helping to improve the lives of the many people that the University serves.


   Larry Bloch ’75
   National Co-Chair, George Eastman Circle
Tom Sloan ’65, ’67 (Mas)        
National Co-Chair, George Eastman Circle        



George Eastman Circle Dinner in New York City Features Esteemed Historian David McCullough

Friederike Seligman, Ed Hajim, Joel Seligman, David McCullough, Rosalee Barnes McCulloughNearly 250 members and guests attended the George Eastman Circle dinner in New York City on April 1. The night’s featured speaker was acclaimed author and historian David McCullough, who spoke about the lessons of leadership.

Board Chair Edmund A. Hajim ’58 opened the evening in historic Gotham Hall with the news that Charter and Sustaining membership had surpassed 1,110 (the original goal for Charter Membership was 250). He thanked members for their generous support and acknowledged volunteers for their exceptional leadership, including National Co-Chairs Larry Bloch ’75 and Tom Sloan ’65, ’67 (Mas); Chair of Annual Giving Programs Gwen Meltzer Greene ’65; and George Eastman Circle Vice Chairs Robert Hurlbut, Sr., R. Wayne LeChase, Nathan F. Moser ’75, Peter D. Standish ’64, Janice M. Willett ’78S (MBA), and Nathaniel Wisch, M.D. ’55. Hajim also announced the beginning of a new initiative to recruit 1,000 Sustaining Members before Meliora Weekend, October 2011.

Members and volunteers also received kudos from President Joel Seligman, who encouraged them to rededicate themselves to the University and the vital services it provides to the community and across the globe. Gwen Meltzer Greene ’65 spoke about the need to support current students and introduced Asher Perzigian ’09, who talked about the impact of George Eastman Circle support on the lives of students, some of whose families are struggling due to the nation’s economic crisis.

To see photos from the event, click here:
George Eastman Circle Dinner Photos

To watch video highlights from the event, click here:
George Eastman Circle Dinner Video

Meliora Weekend 2009 to Offer Special Events for George Eastman Circle Members

This year’s Meliora Weekend will offer a number of special events for George Eastman Circle members. Please reserve October 8-11 on your calendar and join us at the University of Rochester for a number of unforgettable events. More information and special invitations will be mailed this summer.

Kodak Hall at Eastman TheatreThursday, October 8
Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre Celebration — Join us for a special evening and performance of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, marking the start of the inaugural season of the newly renovated Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Click the following link to learn more about the Eastman Theatre Renovation and Expansion Project.

Friday, October 9
Dedication of the Edmund A. Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences — An academic symposium and other special events are planned to mark this important milestone in the University’s history. Click here to read the news release.

Malcolm GladwellA George Eastman Circle Evening with Malcolm Gladwell — Continuing our tradition of presenting the great thinkers of our time, this George Eastman Circle event will feature Malcolm Gladwell, the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers — Outliers, Blink, and The Tipping Point. A staff writer for the New Yorker, he was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2005.

Steven ChuSaturday, October 10
Meliora Weekend Keynote Address by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu ’70 — A former Trustee and a George Eastman Circle Charter Member, Secretary Chu will also be a featured speaker. Before joining the Obama administration, he was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Secretary Chu was a co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics. He earned an A.B. degree in mathematics and a B.S. in physics from the University of Rochester and his doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.

George Eastman Statue Dedication — The weekend will also include a ceremony to dedicate a new statue on the Eastman Quadrangle honoring our great benefactor and commemorating the launch of the George Eastman Circle. Please plan to attend this historic event.

For more information, please contact the Office of Donor Relations at:
(800) 281-2055

Witmer and Leibner Announce College 50th Reunion Gift Challenge

Bob WitmerRichard LeibnerGeorge Eastman Circle Charter Members and 50th Reunion Co-Chairs G. Robert Witmer, Jr., and Richard Leibner have made individual $1 million challenges for the 50th Reunion Gift Campaign for the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. They will each commit up to $1 million if the Class of 1959 collectively raises $1 million. In addition to the dollar-for-dollar match, Witmer and Leibner have issued another challenge. If a Golden Anniversary class member makes a George Eastman Circle gift of at least $1,500 a year for five years, they will each match the gift 2:1 — increasing the value of these gifts by a multiple of 5!
Witmer and Leibner said they partnered for this challenge because they know their class can leave a lasting impact on the University. They hope this challenge will inspire the class to break previous 50th Reunion records. “When we look back at all that our University of Rochester education has done to shape our lives, we are committed to helping the students of today and tomorrow.”  

Through their challenge, Witmer and Leibner hope to increase membership to this leadership annual giving society and its impact on student scholarships, attracting and retaining outstanding faculty, medical research, cutting-edge health care, maintaining our fine facilities, and art and culture.

For more information about Reunion 2009, visit the
College Reunion 2009 Web site.

Unrestricted Annual Giving — Essential to a Great University

As a member of the George Eastman Circle, you are a leader in annual giving. The George Eastman Circle is the only recognition program at the University of Rochester that counts multiple school or unit gifts (made on an unrestricted, annual basis) as one aggregate gift. George Eastman Circle members make a difference in these areas and more:

StudentsScholarships: These gifts enable the University to attract the most talented students. More than half of our students need financial assistance.

Faculty: Annual funds help support our world-class faculty — acclaimed for their research, teaching, and contributions to society and culture — across a wide spectrum of academic areas.

Health care: Annual Fund support ensures that patients — whether they come from Rochester or from around the globe — receive the very best medical treatments and services from physicians and nurses dedicated to their well being.

ResearcherMedical research: Our researchers translate their discoveries into new applications for patient treatment and are leading the international effort to find cures for the most challenging diseases.

Arts and culture: Annual giving helps make the University a vibrant center of intellectual and cultural activity, providing excellence and innovation in areas including dance, literature, music, and the visual arts.

Facilities and operations: George Eastman Circle members provide support for world-class libraries, laboratories, research facilities, technology, and equipment.

Memorial Art GalleryAnnual Fund gifts are more important than ever before as we maintain excellence in a challenging economic environment and move forward with our plans to build a greater institution. Each $1 gift to an annual fund is the equivalent of $20 in the endowment.

Your unrestricted gift supports the work of the University and makes a difference in the lives of so many in a direct and immediate way. Please make your gift or pay your pledge before June 30. With your help, we will continue to help improve the lives of those who live in our community and across the world.

Honoring the Heroes of the University of Rochester Medical Center

Hero FundIf you or a family member received care at the University of Rochester Medical Center and would like to give something back, consider contributing to the Hero Fund. The Hero Fund enables you to express your thanks to doctors, nurses, and staff members who were especially kind or helpful to you. These gifts support medicine of the highest order throughout the Medical Center and qualify for George Eastman Circle credit.

Many lives have been saved and improved thanks to the Medical Center’s doctors, nurses, research, and technology. The following story, just one of many, highlights the Medical Center’s excellence, which the Hero Fund directly supports.

JaredJared Wright was just four years old when his parents, Tricia and Dale, noticed he had difficulty going up and down stairs and delayed speech. Dr. Emma Ciafaloni, a neurologist at Strong Memorial Hospital, determined Jared had Duchenne Muscular Distrophy (MD). People with Duchenne MD, the most common form of the disease, lose their ability to walk, eventually requiring wheelchairs.

Jared would need the help of numerous doctors, with Dr. Ciafaloni at the hub of the effort. She put the Wrights in touch with pulmonologists, cardiologists, behavioralists, as well as physical and occupational therapists, all of whom had experience in working with children like Jared. Home to one of three original Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Centers established by the National Institutes of Health, the Medical Center became the centerpiece of Jared’s care.

While Jared’s diagnosis was heart-rending, Tricia and Dale feel fortunate that the Medical Center is a world-leader in research on MD. “We feel like we’re at the leading edge,” she says. “When something comes along, we absolutely know about it first here.”

Your donation to the Hero Fund could improve people’s lives like Jared’s and help transform medicine. Your support would fund innovative research and patient care programs, accelerate efforts to improve patient experiences, and conquer the most challenging diseases. If you choose to honor a caregiver with your gift, his or her name will be listed along with yours in the quarterly Hero Fund report.

For more information, please visit:
The Hero Fund Web site.

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Be a Part of History


George Eastman Circle Logo(Click image to enlarge)

The University is creating a commemorative book that features the George Eastman Circle’s Charter Statement and the signatures of all Charter Members. The Charter expresses our shared vision, values, and renewed commitment to making the University of Rochester ever better. We want to include your name and signature to recognize your role in founding a transformational movement to build a greater University of Rochester.

If you are a Charter Member and have not already provided the Advancement staff with your signature, please contact Angela Salce at (585) 276-4826 or

Highlighting the Simon School’s Executive Networking Series

John J. Perrotti at Simon Executive Networking SeriesGeorge Eastman Circle members were in attendance at the first event in the Executive Networking Series sponsored by the Simon Graduate School of Business Administration. They joined other members of the University community at the Locust Hill Country Club in Rochester on Tuesday, June 2. Keynote remarks were presented by John J. Perrotti ’91S (MBA), who was introduced by Simon School Dean Mark Zupan.

Contact Us

We are deeply grateful for your support and commitment to the University of Rochester. Please contact us with your comments and suggestions for what you would like to see in future issues of the George Eastman Circle newsletter. Please bookmark our Web site — — to learn how to become more involved.

Stephanie Katz
Senior Director, George Eastman Circle
University of Rochester
Alumni and Advancement Center
300 East River Road
P.O. Box 270441
Rochester, NY 14627
Tel. (585) 276-3597 or (800) 598-1330
Main Advancement Tel. (585) 273-2700
Web site: