George Eastman Circle Newsletter

George Eastman Circle Newsletter

 Plaza Hotel


More than 400 members and special guests attended the third annual dinner in New York City with feature speaker Tom Brokaw on March 11 – breaking all previous attendance records. It was a terrific evening that gave us the opportunity to review another year of significant progress. Among the highlights:

  • • We currently have 1,331 memberships. We are building momentum for the University of Rochester’s transformation and the launch of the largest capital campaign it has ever undertaken. Please continue to help us achieve our goal of 2,000 memberships by the end of 2011. Together, we are laying the foundation for leadership giving that will help us successfully complete the campaign.

  • • Honoring the Circle was a major theme of Meliora Weekend 2009. Events included a special luncheon for members with keynote speaker Secretary of Energy Steven Chu ’70, and an evening with best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell. The dedication of the new statue of George Eastman by artist and alumnus Marc Mellon on the River Campus attracted an audience of more than 700. The statue honors the legacy of leadership begun by Eastman and continued by George Eastman Circle members today.

  • • A beautiful commemorative book, which contains all Charter Members’ names, made its debut at Meliora Weekend 2009 and was on display at the annual dinner in New York. The book will expand through future volumes to include the names of all Sustaining Members in the Circle. Future key Circle events will have signing tables for Sustaining Members. By signing, you express your belief in the University’s bright future; and you inspire others to do the same.

Make a Gift by June 30Over the past year, the George Eastman Circle has become an increasingly prominent and integral part of the University community. The range and impact of your giving are exceptional. Your generosity touches the lives of people at the University daily, and you also touch the lives of countless others who benefit from the institution’s service to the world.

Now, more than ever, the George Eastman Circle stands as an example of how the power of philanthropy can make a real difference. We urge you to fulfill your annual commitment before the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30. Our generosity and leadership are helping to improve the lives and protect the future 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        



Photo Gallery: Highlights from the Year

Click the image below to access the photo gallery.

Plaza dinner

Third Annual Dinner Featured Legendary Broadcast Journalist Tom Brokaw 

Please Share Your Feedback 

As the new director of the George Eastman Circle, I am excited to join a wonderful team dedicated to unrestricted giving at Rochester. I have had the privilege to speak with a number of you and listen to your experiences on our campuses and in our community, and I look forward to meeting many more of you in the months to come.

On March 11, I witnessed firsthand the impact the Circle has on the University as a whole as I met with members and listened to the speakers at the annual dinner in New York City. We had a record-breaking number of attendees and the conversations were terrific all around. To help plan next year’s event and inspire even more of you to join us, I have included a short survey. Please take a moment to share your views, even if you were unable to attend the dinner, by clicking here.

I look forward to getting your perspective and to continuing our conversation.


Justin Croteau
Director of the George Eastman Circle

Tom Brokaw PR photoThe annual George Eastman Circle dinner in New York City celebrated the success of the University’s premier annual giving society and provided an opportunity for members to share plans for increasing growth and involvement. Held on March 11 at The Plaza, the event featured legendary broadcast journalist and bestselling author Tom Brokaw.

Guests received a warm welcome from Board Chair Ed Hajim ’58 before National Co-Chairs Larry Bloch ’75 and Tom Sloan ’65, ’67 (MS) provided updates on the east and west coasts. Gwen Greene ’65, chair of Annual Giving Programs, spoke about the significant impact of the Circle across the University and the importance of recruiting new Sustaining Members. Greene, whose volunteer activities include working with students and admissions, introduced Nicholas Wiggins ’11, ’11E who talked about the student experience and the importance of Circle support, especially during these challenging economic times.

President Joel Seligman gave an update on University news and expressed his deep appreciation to the Circle for helping to accelerate the University’s ascension among the world’s best schools for learning, research, and service. The Circle’s vice chairs were also recognized: Robert H. Hurlbut, Sr.; R. Wayne LeChase; Nathan F. Moser ’75; Peter D. Standish ’64; Janice M. Willett ’78S (MBA); and Nathaniel Wisch, M.D. ’55.

Click here for a photo gallery of the George Eastman Circle Dinner

The Circle Creates New Opportunities for West Coast Alumnus

Robert KleinGeorge Eastman Circle membership gives Robert S. Klein ’68, a resident of Albany, California, the opportunity he has been seeking involvement in life at the University of Rochester.

Klein majored in optics, but music was his principal avocation as a student. Some of his fondest memories include serving as concertmaster of the River Campus Symphonic Band for three years and attending Eastman School of Music concerts. He says, “I can think of no other institution in the United States that offers such wonderful ways to combine interests in science, engineering, and music as the University of Rochester.”

Already a generous supporter of his alma mater, Klein became a Sustaining Member of the George Eastman Circle in January 2010. Since that time he has met President Joel Seligman, Hajim School Dean Rob Clark, and Eastman School Dean Douglas Lowry. He greatly enjoyed the annual dinner at The Plaza in New York City. “Attending Circle events is important to me,” says Klein. “I hear the latest news and how I can help.”

His involvement in the George Eastman Circle has inspired him to plan his first visit to Rochester in 41 years. Klein is excited to see new buildings and renovated spaces that house engineering programs and the Institute of Optics. “In addition, I am planning my visit to coincide with a performance of the Eastman Wind Ensemble — my favorite musical group of all time, their performances are brilliant and electrifying — at the newly remodeled Kodak Hall.”

Klein is thrilled to participate in a pioneering organization that strengthens the University’s network of intergenerational support and builds a stronger community. “The George Eastman Circle enables me to actively participate in advancing the University. It is an opportunity to give back to a place that has provided so much to me.”

Touching Students’ Lives: A Profile

Every day, students across the University benefit from the generosity of George Eastman Circle members. Nicholas Wiggins ’11, ’11E (third from the left above) attended this year’s annual dinner in New York City. A double major in economics and music, he performed with the YellowJackets and spoke about the impact of the George Eastman Circle on his Rochester education. We asked him to share some of his thoughts on the student experience and how it is enriched by the Circle.

What do you like most about the academic program?
The open curriculum is extremely empowering. I decide what courses I take and know my future is in the hands of someone I trust: me!

Has the research university environment been beneficial?
Our professors have mastered industry standards. They keep us on the cutting edge by challenging truths we take for granted and by making groundbreaking discoveries.

How would you describe your classmates?
I think what makes us special is our passions. When I talk with my classmates, I can almost glimpse the future. They speak with such honesty I see at the very core they possess a raw ambition and the fundamental qualities that inevitably lead to success. I know some day my friends will be making decisions for our country.

Did playing football enhance your education?
I gave the game two years at the college level. In return, football gave me discipline, poise, lifelong friends, and an extended family.

You are also an opera singer. What do you enjoy most about performing?
I feel exposed to the point that all there is to see is my heart. My greatest hope is that people in the audience leave in a better state than when they arrived for my performance.

What are your impressions of the George Eastman Circle dinner?
It was the standout event of my year — having the opportunity to dine, speak, shake hands, and laugh with people whose names are on the buildings I am in every day. I was with 400 caring, selfless, and giving hearts.

I want to express my gratitude to all the members for what you are doing for my classmates and me. Without your support, we would not be able to receive such a high-quality education and all the opportunities it presents to us. Someday we will follow in your footsteps and give back to the University. 

Special Memorial Art Gallery Viewing for Circle Members

Rembrandt etching for the MAGJoin fellow George Eastman Circle members for an invitation-only viewing of more than 30 rare etchings by Rembrandt at the Memorial Art Gallery on May 4 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The artwork is from the collection of Tobia and Dr. Morton Mower and shows the versatility of Rembrandt’s style as well as the breadth of his subjects. Following a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception, you will have an opportunity to hear about the exhibition from the perspective of both the collector and curator. For registration and further information, call the University’s Office of Donor Relations at (800) 281-2055.


43rd Annual Garden Party to Highlight University’s Service to the World

Rembrandt etching for the MAG

George Eastman Circle members are invited to join other friends of the University at the Memorial Art Gallery on May 18 for the 43rd Annual Garden Party. President Seligman begins the program at 5:30 with his address; a cocktail reception with docent-led tours of the Albert Paley in the 21st Century exhibit follows at 6:15 p.m. Each year, President Seligman offers a personal look at the University—its people and its programs—and highlights the role that the University plays in the community and beyond. For registration and further information, please call the University’s Office of Donor Relations at (800) 281-2055.

Breaking News: Dr. Sanjay Gupta and David Sedaris to Speak Meliora Weekend


George Eastman Circle Logo

photo courtesy of Anne Fishbein

Please be sure to reserve October 14-17 on your calendar for Meliora Weekend 2010. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be the keynote speaker on Saturday, October 16. Senior correspondent for health and medicine at CNN, Dr. Gupta will also serve on a panel discussion on health care reform as part of the Presidential Symposium on Great Issues of the 21st Century. Special events for George Eastman Circle members are already being planned, including an evening with humorist, author, and NPR commentator David Sedaris. More information will be sent early this summer.

Contact Us

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

Help Make a Difference

The power of philanthropy makes a real difference at the University of Rochester, and the George Eastman Circle represents the leaders of unrestricted annual giving. Please fulfill your annual commitment before the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30. Your generosity improves the lives and protects the future of the many people that the University serves. To make a gift online, click here.

Justin Croteau
Director of the 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: