Rs of Gold. In 1988, Alumni Relations created Students Together In Networking Graduates (STING) to address student retention and spirit that was more “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” than “My Own and Only Love.” Twenty years after its establishment, it was time to reexamine STING’s purpose. In 2009, Alumni Relations developed a program that more closely aligned with its philosophy and strategy: the Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAAs). STING was gone, but not forgotten.
Don’t call it a comeback. A reincarnation of STING made up of 30 to 35 undergraduates, the SAA program serves as a bridge between current undergraduates and alumni, while fostering students’ pride in Rochester and their interest in staying connected and giving back. Although it would be great if SAAs could get alumni and fellow classmates to trade Uptown Funk for The Genesee, their purpose is really to inspire future alumni leaders and donors.
UR lovefools. SAAs can be easily identified by their uniforms: the spirit R cardigans. But it’s what’s underneath their Meliora duds that make them who they are. SAAs are the kind of students who when they say they bleed blue and gold, there’s some concern they may try to prove it. They are exceptionally positive and enthusiastic; they are eager to meet new people to expand their personal and professional networks; and they have a solid grasp of the University’s history, mission, and current initiatives. They are quite literally our poster children.
R is for veRsatile. There is little that Advancement could ask SAAs to do that they are not already doing. Need a student presence for a general campus, local, or regional event or how about a presidential or George Eastman Circle event? SAAs do that. Need a campus tour for a prospective donor or new Advancement staff member? Follow the cardigan, sir or madam. Do you want to thank a donor or volunteer with a call, card, or video, or perhaps a current student’s perspective on the University? S. A. As.
Yaas, SAAs. There are countless glowing anecdotes from prospective families, alumni, and volunteers that prove the SAA program is an invaluable contributor to the Advancement mission. But for a sense of hard value, in labor hours, their service is worth an average of more than $17,000 a year. Better still is the program’s effect on SAA members. Compared to their peers, SAA members have proven to be far more likely to give to their senior class gift campaign, continue giving after graduation, and become a member of the George Eastman Circle. And many also continue to serve as alumni volunteers.
The Gift of Music. Kodak magnate George Eastman couldn’t read or play music, but he had a great affection for it, and he wanted to share it with others. So he suggested a music school to President Rush Rhees. He subsequently gave $6.5 million to build a school of music in Rochester and establish its endowment and another $3 million for an adjoining concert hall. The Eastman School of Music, which was to be dedicated to the highest levels of artistry and scholarship, first opened its doors in 1921.
Musical wizards. Eastman’s faculty members would have been Mr. Eastman’s heroes because they are some of the world’s most esteemed performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. They are the winners of Grammy and ASCAP Awards, they are Guggenheim fellows, and they are published authors and recorded artists. And unlike professors at many other schools, most Eastman professors consider teaching their professional priority (making endowed professorships an Eastman School priority). This gives students a steady combination of expertise and dedication in a challenging, but supportive, learning environment.
Eat. Sleep. Music. Eastman students’ mantra is a t-shirt, but it is also an actual lifestyle. They take “practice makes perfect” literally. A typical day goes well beyond classes and studying to include individual practice, orchestra and chambers music rehearsals, opera stagings, and other rehearsals outside of the classroom. And somewhere between it all they eat and sleep. Fifteen-hour days are normal, making extra time for a part-time job—or anything else—almost impossible, and that makes scholarships a critical need for most students.
Halls of harmonized sound. One of the best ways to appreciate the musical wizardry possessed by Eastman’s faculty and students is to hear them—and others—play in one of the School’s historic performance halls. Eastman Theatre has been Rochester’s preeminent performance space since 1922 and is home to the Eastman Philharmonia, the RPO, and the concert series Eastman Presents. Kilbourn Hall is considered to be one of the world’s finest chamber music halls and Hatch Recital Hall offers state-of-the-art acoustic and multimedia technology.
I Love Rock n’ Research. Founded by Telegraph tycoon Hiram Watson Sibley in 1904 “for the use of all music-lovers in Rochester,” the Sibley Music Library is the largest music library affiliated with any college or University in the United States. In January 1922, the library’s 8,600 books and scores were moved to the new Eastman School building. Over the next century, its holdings grew to nearly 750,000 items. Today, Sibley Library is one of the world’s preeminent research libraries devoted to all aspects of studying music.
Spreading the love. In 2013, the Offices of Alumni Relations, Annual Giving, and Stewardship launched a “Valentine’s Day” for the University called “I Heart Rochester Day.” During Spirit Week—the beginning of the spring semester—undergraduates write notes to thank first-time donors for being the gasoline to their burnin’ love for Rochester. A similar fall tradition, “UR Home,” encourages students to write notes in the spirit of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to be shared in donors’ Meliora Weekend registration packets.
TAGsgiving. Mel Liora ’19 could run through and out of the Rush Rhees Library, high-five the Eastman statue and Gene Kelly around a lamp post, on his way to Todd Union, not knowing he passed more than 100 donor-supported objects. But not on Thank A Giver (TAG) Day. Launched in April 2015, TAG Day physically tags those lamp posts, spaces, buildings, and more to highlight what donors have done for the University and give students like Mel a chance to say thank you.
24 hours of contributing. There is no making the world “ever better” without the support of the University community—teamwork makes the dream work! A University that gives together grows together! Enter Day of Giving. Also launched in April 2015, Day of Giving encourages Rochester’s alumni, parents, faculty, staff, parents, and friends to make a gift of any size to anywhere at the University. Support is further shown on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #URMakingADifference. Adding #EverythingIsAWESOME is optional.
“For he’s our greatest benefactor…” On July 12, 1854 in Waterville, N.Y., Maria and George Washington Eastman had the most important Kodak moment—their son, George, was born. Every year, George’s birthday is celebrated by the University’s young alumni across the country. Members of the Young Alumni Council, and other volunteers, organize and host happy hours, allowing recently graduated members of the University community to get together and raise a glass to ol’ papa Eastman, a jolly generous fellow, which nobody can deny.
Smells like ’Jacket spirit. Where do University students go after graduation? “Where’s Rocky?” helps provide the answer. For anyone who has ever been tormented by the infuriating chaos and red herrings that hide Waldo, this is not a question to be feared. University mascot Rocky the yellowjacket simply poses—in card stock form—with students and alumni around the world. And for the alumni who found love as students, or later in life, they can add some Meliora to their wedding day with a UR pennant.
Indiana Stones. Henry A. Ward was professor of natural sciences at the University from 1861 to 1875. He was also a fearless rock hound whose travels around the world enabled him to amass a collection of about 40,000 geological specimens. His aunt assumed his adventures would end with him being eaten by cannibals, falling into a volcano, or being killed by some other danger. None of those happened, but he did contract smallpox, which he promptly bull whipped in the face and kept on collecting. His actual death was fairly pedestrian—a car accident in 1906; he was 72.
Graveboulder? Devastated by the death of his sister, T.T. Swinburne, Class of 1892, committed suicide by jumping into the Genesee River in 1926. Years later, someone probably said, “Hey, you know that 26-ton boulder, near Irondequoit Bay? Wouldn’t that make a great memorial for T.T.?” Rumors that Swinburne’s ashes were buried beneath the boulder—now resting near Interfaith Chapel—were proved to be “boulderdash.” In 1932, Herman L. Fairchild, professor of geology and natural history at the University from 1888 to 1920, waxed geologic about the giant rock’s composition.
Do-lo-mite! Around 400 million years ago, the Rochester area was covered by a warm, shallow sea that was responsible for the formation of the extensive rock unit known as the Lockport dolomite. So what? So, according to Lawrence Lundgren, professor emeritus of geology, the boulders outside of Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls are more or less Lockport nuggets plucked from the bedrock when an ice sheet retreated from the area 10,000 years ago. Some Lundgrens are more appreciative of “rocky” issues than others.
Million-Year-Old Baby. Restored at the University of Rochester… Put on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington… From the Middle Silurian period… belonging to the genus Arctinurus… Measuring at six-and-one-half inches and approximately 425 million years old… one of the best preserved ancient arthropod fossils in the wor-r-r-l-l-l-l-d… I-I-I-I-It’s a trilobite! Recovered by an amateur fossil hunter in York, N.Y., the trilobite spent 100 hours in restoration at the University, led by Gerry Kloc, a lab technician in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Meteormaggedon. There have been five times in the last 500 million years where Earth was the worst place to be. University geologists have contributed to evidence that two of those times Earth was the recipient of an interstellar “bonzai drop” from a massive meteor. The more merciful of the two wiped out the dinosaurs (65 million years ago); the other (185 million years earlier) is known as “The Great Dying.” The second meteor killed 90 to 96 percent of all species. Thanks to Michael Bay, we’re ready for the next one.
There is only one. It became one of the first homeopathic hospitals in the U.S. in 1889. It is now well known for comprehensive care. Its name is
Highlander Highland Hospital. It’s a quasquicentenarian. On the way to more than 125 years of service, Highland became the first U.S. hospital to treat diabetes with insulin, first New York hospital to establish a family medicine training program, and first Rochester hospital to allow fathers in the delivery room—today Highland is Rochester’s busiest hospital for births.
We swear it will be done. Highland is a community hospital, founded on the principle that “no one, however destitute or forlorn, if sick, shall be refused admission and careful treatment.” It is so deeply rooted in compassionate care that it made its motto “compassion heals.” If Highland were a person it would be Patch Adams. And to ensure that motto is put into practice, the hospital backs it up with the Highland Promise. Highland promises to commit its overall service and operation to excellence. Anything less is inconceivable.
The Highland Life. A unique branch of UR Medicine, Highland offers the distinctive blend of a warm, caring environment and first-rate health care, highlighted by region-leading bariatric, geriatric, and women’s health services. It’s a combination that has earned it several accreditations and awards for outstanding quality. Highland’s affiliation with the Medical Center ensures its patients receive Medicine of the Highest Order and make it, what some may say, the Shangri-La of community hospitals. Cheers to being happy and healthy!
Higher and Higher. To continually fulfill the Highland Promise, the Hospital relies on the help of the Highland Foundation. The Foundation is responsible for generating new funds for priority areas within the hospital. In addition to fundraising, the Foundation, which has $9.2 million in assets, allocates around $500,000 annually to support strategic areas (e.g., Linda’s Garden). A source within the Foundation disclosed a desire to recreate the statue of liberty scene from “Ghostbusters II” with a giant Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann to “get the big bucks.”
Party like it’s 1889. Hearing someone in a raspberry beret scream “Let’s go crazy!” and then drive off in a little red Corvette means it’s time for the annual Highland Gala. Or, it might be time for the annual Golf Classic, unless it’s been canceled due to purple rain. And that is when doves cry. What makes doves happy is the presentation of the Highland Foundation’s Nothing Compares 2 U Award a.k.a. the Heritage Award, given to an individual or organization that has played a significant role in the life of Highland and the community.