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The Inauguration of Sarah C. Mangelsdorf: Full Ceremony

The Inauguration of Sarah C. Mangelsdorf: Full Ceremony

[MUSIC – PRELUDE] [MUSIC – PROCESSION] Let us pray. O eternal wisdom,
we gather today as one community, united in
joy, hope, and gratitude, for the gift of
Sarah Mangelsdorf, chosen to be the 11th president
of the University of Rochester. We entrust her with the
mace, seal, and charter of this university. And charge her with
the responsibility to lead us forward building
on the accomplishments of the past, while
dreaming new dreams, and making that which
is yet unseen visible. We are present today the
united in our commitment to the mission of
this university as a place of
learning, discovery, healing, and creativity. We have carefully
and thoughtfully called Sarah as the
woman peculiarly suited to take up the
mantle of President of the University of Rochester
at just such a time as this. She is a woman of integrity,
wisdom, and intelligence, uniquely gifted to move
this university forward, and to push us to realize
our aspirations to be an institution that embodies
its commitments to diversity, inclusion, and equity for
all members of the university community. As she takes on the
challenges of this role, may she know serenity when
times are chaotic. May she find
companionship and support with her colleagues, family, and
friends, when the days are long and the challenges exhausting. May she delight in the
triumphs of her work, and continue to grow
in wisdom and patience when she faces
obstacles or setbacks. May she listen deeply,
and approach each day with curiosity, energy, and joy. May she never lose her
delightful sense of humor and her resilience, born
of humility and compassion. Sarah brings to her presidency
all of her authentic self, prepared to engage
honestly and fairly with those in our university
community and beyond. May we, too, bring our
truest and best selves to the work we do
together with her, accountable each to the other,
with the shared goal of serving our local, national,
and global communities, with the abundant gifts
our students, faculty, and staff bring to
this university, and then offer
back to the world. May the work we do together
in the coming years truly exemplify our
university motto, Meliora. Amen. Please be seated. Good afternoon. Welcome to this
inaugural convocation to install Sarah C.
Mangelsdorf as the President of the University of Rochester. My name is Ann Nofziger. I’m a faculty member in the
Department of Family Medicine. And it was my privilege to serve
as co-chair of the university advisory committee for
the presidential search, with my wise partner,
Michael Scott. Before we begin
today’s ceremony, I have the distinct
honor of recognizing some of our special guests,
including our many partners in government. First, I would like to recognize
congressman Joe Morelle. We also have representatives
from the offices of Senator Charles Schumer,
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and representative Tom Reed. I want to thank New
York state senator Rich Funke and assembly
members Harry Bronson, Jamie Romeo, and Mark
Johns for attending. On behalf of Governor
Cuomo, we want to thank his regional
representative, Vinny Esposito, for being here. From the county, we welcome
deputy county executive Tom VanStrydonck, county clerk Adam
Bello, district attorney Sandra Doorley, Sheriff Todd Baxter,
and county legislator Joshua Bauroth. Attending on behalf of
Rochester mayor Lovely Warren, I want to welcome deputy
mayor James Smith and chief of staff Alex Yudelson. I also want to thank city
council members Mitch Gruber, LaShay Harris, and Elaine
Spaull for joining us. And from the town
of Brighton, we are pleased to have town
supervisor Bill Moehle. In addition to our
elected officials, I want to thank Vice
Chancellor of the Board of Regents Andrew Brown, and
all the community leaders who have joined us here today. We deeply value your
partnership, support. And thank you for taking
the time to be here today for this important event. I want to welcome the academic
community gathered here, the many members of our own
faculty who are participating, as well as many delegates
from other colleges, universities, learned societies,
and foundations who are with us today. And I want to extend a very
special welcome to Sarah’s family and many friends, who
have come from near and far to celebrate with us. Let me particularly recognize
Sarah’s spouse, Karl Rosengren, her daughters Julia Rosengren
and Emily Rosengren, and Emily’s spouse Richard Lee. We are so delighted
that you are now part of the Rochester family. In the course of the search
for our new president, I learned a lot of things. That students,
faculty, and staff all felt deeply invested
in our committee’s work to identify their new leader. That our trustees bring
profound dedication, wisdom, and seriousness to
their partnership with our institution’s leaders. I was most struck by the
complexity and enormity, really, of our university
president’s work. The person we needed must
be tireless and smart. She would need grit and
determination, persuasiveness and decisiveness. She would need to
deeply understand the work of scholarship
and teaching, but also the operation
of a complex campus community serving
many constituencies, including faculty,
students, and staff, with elements as diverse
as an art gallery, a laser lab, a medical center,
a world-class school of music, and many more. Our university president serves
as a leader in the Rochester community, and in our state, who
must be responsive to our wider community’s needs
when shaping vision, so that our efforts to discover,
innovate, heal, and create can have their greatest
impact, and truly make our world better. And no less important, in a room
with a few students or parents or staff or faculty, she
must be able to relate with compassion and concern
to the needs they bring. All of that is a
very tall order. And I am proud and
very grateful to say that we found our president
in Sarah Mangelsdorf. In the few short months
since she began this work, I have recognized the buzz of
eagerness and optimism people bring about her tenure
as our president. So with that, again,
welcome, everyone, to this very special program. It will be solemn and joyful,
with music, tradition, and voices of many
constituencies to commemorate the inauguration
of the university’s 11th president. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] That’s the problem
with being tall. Good afternoon, everyone. [INTERPOSING VOICES] You all can make
more noise than that. Good afternoon, everyone. [INTERPOSING VOICES] There we go. This is a celebration. So let’s celebrate. My name is Jamal Holtz, and I’m
a senior from Washington, DC. And I’m a policy scholar here
at the University of Rochester, and I currently serve
as the student body president for the River Campus. As always, we would
like to give shoutouts before we begin our remarks. I’d like to give a special
shoutout to student government, River Campus in the back. Y’all are not going
to wave your hands? No? There you go. And I have the
honor to welcome you on behalf of approximate
11,000 students here at the University
of Rochester. I would first like
to say that I’m honored to share this stage
with a wonderful group of people and our president,
Sarah Mangelsdorf. I have to say, wearing this gown
is an accomplishment for me. It is. When I got reached out
to by Lamar and Sasha, and they asked me what
was my head circumference, I didn’t know what
to respond, so I said that I have a big head. [LAUGHTER] And as you all see, it’s
a little tight on my head. So I didn’t say the right size. So I need to figure out my
head circumference if anybody wants to help me with that. [LAUGHTER] So I grew up in a ward
in Washington, DC, with four siblings
and a single mother. I’ve always been drawn to
public service and politics since I was 16
years old, working in the Department of
Employment Services to the office of DC mayor. The importance of community
work to collectively address problems of poverty,
affordable housing, and access to quality
of education and life, has been deep and
personal to me. The University of
Rochester has allowed me to design my own major,
social justice and public policy. Yes, you can do that here. I’ve had a chance to
study the important issues like mass incarceration,
economic disparities, and access to a
quality of education. As student body
president, I’m focused on making the campus
safer and more inclusive, with new initiatives such as
addressing food insecurities on campus, and showing
that every student here can prosper and live every
day with a quality of life. That’s my favorite
word, quality of life. I’d also like to mention
some of the initiatives that we launched in
student government, such as the safe
drop our program, to ensure every student can get
home from the hours of 11:00 PM to 4:00 AM when the
buses are running. And also free printing,
where every student has access to 100 pages of free
printing here at the University on River Campus. I know this makes you all
want to be students again at the University of Rochester. [LAUGHTER] But this moment isn’t about me
it’s about our president, Sarah Mangelsdorf. So let’s just give her a round
of applause very quickly. [APPLAUSE] Shout, scream, clap, stand up. Do whatever you want. This is a moment
about our president. This is a very
important moment for us. I have to say, I have been
so impressed with the way that our president has
engaged with students in her first three months. She shows up. She listens. And of course, she’s
always willing to join you all for a selfie. [LAUGHTER] I actually got to learn her
new role as chief movement officer on move-in day,
when I was stoked that she could lift a 50 pound box. And there was a picture
floating around Twitter, where my face is, like, amazed,
because she lifted a 50 pound box as president. [LAUGHTER] And even better, she
is the first president in university history to use
Instagram as social media. Give that a round of applause. [APPLAUSE] This is a historic moment. Her values and her vision
for this university line up with what the
students want here on campus, and what our community want. Her leadership has already
inspired trust and confidence in the idea that our university
should be a place where all students are welcome. Her leadership
makes us optimistic. And even better, it
makes us hopeful. President Mangelsdorf,
the students are so happy to have
you here, despite all of the gray hairs that you
may get in the next few years. Despite all of the gray hairs
that I have gotten as student body president, I
have to say that I’m a little jealous
that I can’t be here for another year as a senior. But that doesn’t mean that I
don’t want to graduate college. [LAUGHTER] So, again, I want us
to enjoy this moment, celebrate this
moment, and thank you all for allowing me
to speak to you today. [APPLAUSE] Greetings, everyone. [INTERPOSING VOICES] How are you all doing today? [INTERPOSING VOICES] Awesome. I am Ashley Campbell, and
I am honored to welcome you on behalf of the staff. There is power when you
walk in a classroom, visit a medical facility,
walk across the lawns, or even grab a bite
to eat, and realize the awesomeness of the staff
that keeps this machine moving. [APPLAUSE] We are magnanimous,
ever-striving, and reaching, while serving and
staying committed to the success of
this institution. Each individual has dedicated
a portion of their lives to the vitality of
this organization, passionate about
supporting the well-being and productivity of the
institution’s many parts. The staff is magical. We are the ultimate believers
in the transformative power of our institution’s mission
and vision for years to come. Our patience and
diligence has gifted us the pleasure of being a part
of the lives of the students, who become extended
family members, be hopeful for those
who are receiving care at our medical centers,
and discover greatness with dynamic scholars
tethered to the U of R. We are the steady beat that
glides the melodic rhythms of this universe. Wherever we are, we
leave an indelible mark, and our purpose is fulfilled. Our institution is now the
largest employer in Rochester, serving as the professional
home to more than 30,000 total employees,
all contributing to research, teaching,
artistry, and patient care, often behind the scenes. But today is a new day. And today, we
celebrate to recognize the substantial contributions
from parts of our university that are often unseen. Celebrating you, in
turn, celebrates us. We are encouraged and pleased to
welcome your new president who brings substantial knowledge
about the importance of staff engagement and
professional development. As we hold fast to the values
of meliora, equity, leadership, inclusion, openness,
respect, and accountability, I leave an ode to the staff. The late, great
vocalist Donny Hathaway shared with us, “Keep your
self-respect, your inner pride. Get yourself in gear
and keep your stride. Never mind your fears, brighter
days will soon be here. Keep on walking tall,
hold your head up high. Lay your dreams
right up to the sky. Sing your greatest song, and
you’ll keep going, going on.” Today is a new day. And we are honored to have,
you our new president, a part of U of R family. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Good afternoon, everyone. [INTERPOSING VOICES] It’s hard to follow that. [LAUGHTER] My name is Chunkit Fong. I currently serve as co-chair
of the faculty senate, along with Dr. Gerald Gamm. I’m really honored today to
welcome President Mangelsdorf on behalf of the faculty. As a medical
oncologist, my patients inspire me to find meanings
in every facet of my life. I find meaning in my work
because of the people whom I interact with, and
learn from every single day. I have to argue, the
most valuable asset of this institution
is truly the people who we call our students, our
colleagues, and our friends. I’m looking around
the room today. And I’m really
delighted to see people with different identities,
backgrounds, and experiences. As one of the co-chairs
of the faculty senate, I know we may respectfully
disagree at times. But what I find is,
what unifies all of us is our shared passion to make
the University of Rochester ever better. President Mangelsdorf has only
been here for three months. But in that short
time, we have enjoyed have very productive
and collaborative working relationship with her. We deeply respect her as a
scholar and a visionary leader. We have found her to
be a good listener. Someone who is genuine
and easy to talk to, and who is
fundamentally committed to the principle of
equity and inclusion. [APPLAUSE] We also appreciate the
way she has already signaled her interest in being
a partner and shared governance. In one of our first
meetings, I still remember vividly
her simple gesture of declining to sit at
the head of the table, signaling her spirit of
humility and teamwork. I know I speak for many
members of the faculty in saying that we look forward
to working with her to promote equity and inclusion, strengthen
the university’s research prominence, and support
our academic engine. At its core, our university
is in the business of ideas and knowledge creation. Our mission is to learn,
discover, heal, create, and make the world ever better. Our new president is
very focused on enabling the kind of research that
changes life, engages our community to foster a
just society, and contributes to solving the pressing
problems of our world. I am inspired by the leadership
she has already shown, and the way she demonstrates
the values that are now embedded in our motto of meliora. In the words of
Gandhi, “Our ability to reach unity in diversity
will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” We all look forward
to a bright future with President
Mangelsdorf at the helm, bringing together
diverse people and ideas, advancing a unified university,
realizing our full potential, and making our
world ever better. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC – SERGEI RACHMANINOFF,
“VOCALISE”] [APPLAUSE] Before I begin,
I would just like to take a moment to acknowledge
that the sartorial splendor of my regent’s regalia
is utterly disrupted by this huge button that
I received with my Meliora Weekend registration material. [LAUGHTER] And I want you to
know that I am wearing this button, which
announces that I met my wife at the U of R. [LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE] I am wearing this button, not
just because Lisa told me to. [LAUGHTER] But I am wearing it
because it affirms the spirit in which I would
like to extend this welcome. And it is the spirit
that understands that the University of Rochester
is more than just a college or a college community to me. It literally is a
part of my family. Lisa and I both
studied and met here. Our surviving children
followed us here for their undergraduate studies. All four of my children were
born at Strong Hospital, and two of our daughters are
buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, just across Intercampus Drive. And fundamentally to all
of this, and to my life, my mother spent her
career as a nurse at that University
Medical Center. And it was her staff
tuition benefit that made my education possible. And so I stand before
you literally– [APPLAUSE] I stand before you literally,
with this overly large button on, acknowledging that those
who are behind me are my family. And you who are before
me are my family. And this button was
so apropos because of the big heart in the middle. I greet you with the
simple word of love today. Over the course of
the last 40 years, since I first walked the
River Campus with my parents as a prospective
student, I have been blessed to come to
love the university and to be loved by this
family of scholars. And I have been blessed
to spend my life aiming to learn, discover,
heal, create, and make the world ever better. And so I welcome you,
President Mangelsdorf. I welcome you in
that spirit of love, with a genuine
desire to see how you will make your mark on
the story of my family, and affirm that we
remain committed to the legacies of
Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, George Eastman,
and Joseph C. Wilson. You have my personal
pledge of partnership to continue to work with you
in support of East High School. In support of the university’s
community programs, like the Mount
Hope Family Center, the Center for Community
Health and Prevention. And to affirm that this
institution remains a 21st century Underground
Railroad community, committed to the
idea that everyone must have a fair chance
to succeed, and to go as high and as far as their
talent, their willingness to work, and their
struggle can carry them. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. [INAUDIBLE] I will get off the stage. So just let me formally
extend congratulations to President
Mangelsdorf on behalf of both the Norwood family and
the University of Rochester family. We are delighted that
you have come home. As flows the Genesee
River, gathering force, along its steadfast
way, my prayer is that you, along
your life’s course, will grow stronger day by day. And on behalf of my
university family, I pledge to you that our hearts,
wherever we roam, forever loyal will be, to our
beloved college home beside the Genesee,
congratulations and welcome. [APPLAUSE] [INAUDIBLE] you can
come up here, you know. [LAUGHTER] Whoa. OK, I am Kathy Minehan. I’m an alumna of the
University of Rochester. And I bring you greetings
from the thousands of alumni who are poised today to
welcome a new president of the University of Rochester. Lucky for you, I did
not bring a saxophone. [LAUGHTER] Jamal, that was wonderful. I am, however, a member
of the board of trustees. And I’m also a member
of a family where three generations
of us have graduated from the University
of Rochester– my father, my son, his wife. And we have hopes for his
six-year-old daughter. [LAUGHTER] I was the co-chair of
the search committee that searched and successfully
found our new president, Sarah Mangelsdorf. [APPLAUSE] In the process of the search– and I think Ann covered
a lot of it really well, we learned a lot. We learned a lot
from all of you. If you remember, some of you
taking the various surveys that we asked you to fill
out, we learned a lot about your thoughts
on leadership, your thoughts on community. We learned about what all
of you as the constituencies of the university wanted. And believe me, it was a lot. And looking at this from
the point of view of alumni, most of us on the
search committee are alums of the university. The success of the university
is absolutely vital. Looking at this from a
self-centered point of view, it reflects well on us. The better the university looks,
and is, the better we look. And there is a
virtuous circle aspect to that– a virtuous
cycle to it. Because when we feel good,
and the university is really doing well, and alums are
really feeling good about it and doing well themselves,
that translates back into support for
the next generation. Ensuring the success
of the university, and creating an ever better
university of Rochester. So alums are really, really
engaged in the quality of the university. We’re especially invested in
the excellence of our faculty, of our students, whether
they’re scientists or humanists or musicians, in
the research that we do that informs the world,
in our patient care, and in the communities
that we serve and that Wade talked
about so memorably. We all believe in the
principles of meliora, and we also believe that Sarah
embodies those principles. We were impressed by her
record of accomplishment, her scholarly acumen, her
equanimity, her confidence, her humility, and as
I’m sure many of you have already experienced,
her ability to listen. This is a great day
for the university. We welcome Sarah as
our new president We also welcome her as
our first woman president. [APPLAUSE] As everybody has
mentioned more than once, this is all about meliora. But I have to say, it doesn’t
get much better than this. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Hi. My name is Rich Handler. Will Marshall Dalecki please
escort President Mangelsdorf to the podium. [LAUGHTER] Well done. [APPLAUSE] Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, it
is my duty and privilege, as chair of the University of
Rochester Board of Trustees, to present to you
the symbols that represent the
authority as president of our great university. The university mace, with the
university seal and the names of all the university’s
presidents engraved into it, represents your presidential
authority over the institution. I consign this mace to
you, to your custody, for as long as you
serve as president. [APPLAUSE] She’s getting more stuff. She’s getting more stuff. She has more things to come. [LAUGHTER] The original university
charter granted in 1850 by the Regents of the
University of the State of New York for the establishment of
an institution of the highest order for scientific
and classical purposes represents our
university’s authority to educate our students,
and prepare them for leadership and
engagement around the world. I place this charter and
the academic authority it represents in
your stewardship. [APPLAUSE] Finally, the university
seal certifies all official documents,
and is imprinted on all diplomas authorized
by the board of trustees. Emblazoned on it is
our motto, Meliora, and the three symbols– the book, the lyre, and
the staff of Aesculapias, which together exemplify
the university’s mission to learn, discover,
heal, create, and make the world ever better. The seal’s inscribed
with your name, and I entrust to you the
mission it represents. [APPLAUSE] Here’s the big part. Sarah C. Mangelsdorf, having
presented these symbols of your office to
you, I am honored to officially declare
that you are President of the University of Rochester. [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING] Well, distinguished guests,
university delegates, colleagues, friends,
and family, thank you all so much for being here. I am deeply honored
by your presence, and inspired by the words
and music we’ve heard today. Before I begin, I would
like to acknowledge two people who are
not here today, but would have
loved to have been– my parents, who instilled in
me the values of the academy, and who encouraged
and nurtured my sense of intellectual curiosity. My father was the Marshal of
the commencement ceremonies at Swarthmore College
for many, many years. He loved the pomp
and circumstance of academic ceremonies, and he
would have loved this ceremony. Both my parents
would also have loved the beauty of this historic
theater and the wonderful music we have heard today. Given that this is a
presidential inauguration, I thought I might take the
time allotted to me to reflect with you on the role of
the university president, and more importantly, the
role of the university today and in the future. To begin with, I would
like to share with you what the university’s first
president, Martin Brewer Anderson, who served this
institution with distinction from 1853 to 1888, had to say
about the role of university president. In a letter to a friend
in February 1882, when he had been president
for almost three decades, Anderson wrote, “The
typical college president is expected to be a vigorous
writer and public speaker. He must be able to address
all sorts of audiences upon all sorts of subjects. He must be a financier,
able to extract money from the hordes of misers– [LAUGHTER] –and to hold his
own with a trained denizens of Wall Street. [LAUGHTER] He must be attractive in
general society, a scholar among scholars, distinguished
in some one or two departments of learning,
gentle and kindly as a woman in his relation– [LAUGHTER] –in his relations to
students, and still be able to quell a row with
a pluck and confidence of New York Chief-of-Police. [LAUGHTER] If a man fails in any of
these elements of character, he is soon set down as
unfit for his position.” He goes on. “Here, we find a reason
why so many men break down in health in this
field, or give up after a few years of trial
in unmitigated loathing and disgust. [LAUGHTER] My sympathies are
excited for the man who takes the presidency of
an American University much more deeply than they
would be for a man on the way to the gallows.” [LAUGHTER] You know, that
cheerful picture of his professional
responsibilities makes me wonder why Anderson
stuck around for 35 years. [LAUGHTER] And I’d like to
point out that he led this institution
before email, 24/7 news cycle, and social media. [LAUGHTER] What I find curious about
Anderson’s tragic assessment of the role of the university
president is that it omits the president’s most
important, most critical, and indeed the happiest
responsibility– the stewardship of
the university itself. I stand before you as
a university president. But I’m also a professor, and
the daughter and granddaughter, as well as the
spouse, of professors. So you might rightly assume
I’m just a little biased. But to me, there are few
more important and enduring societal institutions
than the university. Especially those like the
University of Rochester, where research,
teaching, engagement with this city, this region,
the nation, and the world, are of primary importance. And there is no greater
privilege or responsibility than to lead such an
essential institution. The central role
of the university is the creation,
preservation, and advancement of knowledge and culture. Or more accurately, cultures,
because we know we cannot be monolithic in our views and
influences in this increasingly interconnected world. Great universities create,
preserve, and advance knowledge through research,
teaching, learning, and practical execution. The eminent Harvard
scholar Louis Menand has this to say about knowledge. “Knowledge is our most
important business, but its value is
not only economic. The pursuit, production,
dissemination, application, and preservation of knowledge
are the central activities of a civilization
knowledge is memory, a connection to the past. And it is social hope, an
investment in the future. The ability to create
knowledge and put it to use is the adaptive
characteristic of humans. It is how we keep our
feet on the ground and our heads in the clouds.” I like that Professor
Menand points out that knowledge is both practical
and abstract, both material and metaphysical. Knowledge is the
necessary engine for a mathematical
equation, as much as for a Baroque organ recital or a
quantum processor semiconductor chip, or a sonnet or
a data visualization, or Bhangra dance concert. It is necessary for
educational innovation, for entrepreneurship and
economic development, and for pathbreaking
surgical techniques. It is even required for a
national-championship winning Quidditch strategy,
which our team won the national
championship last year. Just want you to know. [APPLAUSE] So Menand alludes to
an important concept. Knowledge is valuable
for its own sake. Those of us in the academy would
do well to keep this in mind, and to promote and protect
this idea whenever possible. What we teach and what our
students learn may not always result in a product or a
prize or some tangible result. The payoff is in the cultivation
of a well-informed critical thinker and citizen
of the world. As I’ve already noted, one
of the central ways knowledge is acquired is through research. The kind of basic,
painstaking creative research conducted in libraries, in
offices, labs, coffeehouses, and numerous other locations
across the University of Rochester campus,
in our community, and around the world. Rochester’s focus on
research places us among the country’s
elite institutions of higher learning. And our research focuses
on virtually every area of human endeavor, from Nobel
Prize winning optics and DNA science, to the catastrophic
effects of climate change and the tragedy of Alzheimer’s
and Parkinson’s disease, to the pathways to social
justice for the incarcerated or for urban families
and children, to a better understanding
of the historical roots of globalization. As president, I will focus
on supporting and sustaining research at every
level, because it is through the knowledge derived
from research that we fulfill our mission to make
the world ever better [APPLAUSE] The environment of a
great research university creates great opportunity, not
just in the learning itself, but how the learning translates
into understanding and action. As Hannah Arendt
said, “Education is the point at which
we decide whether we love the world enough to
take responsibility for it.” The role of the university
environment in the formation of young minds– and I
would argue older minds, because I am learning
all the time, and I’m sure all of you are
as well, cannot be overstated. At its best, the university
provides a protected space for the marketplace
of ideas to thrive. The university
challenges us, and allows us to think the unthinkable,
question the unquestionable, imagine the unimaginable,
and create the uncreatable. To frame problems
and to solve them. To experience difference
and embrace it. To think critically,
to be curious, to agree to disagree civilly. To learn to lead,
and also to follow. As I said, when I was announced
as president of University of Rochester in
December of 2018, education can and should
change people’s lives. As much as the university
environment forms us, we must also be committed
to our responsibility to form our institutional
environment. I believe the
University of Rochester is truly blessed with a
vast diversity of ideas, backgrounds, and belief. I believe those diversities
enhance our life experience, sharpen our thinking, and make
us better and more empathetic citizens of the world. But to sustain
those diversities, and to maintain an environment
of equity, inclusion, and respect, we must be
mindful and intentional. One Rochester figure
we have to thank for some of the
diversity on our campus is Susan B Anthony, who in the
late 1800s, along with the wife of the Unitarian minister
and the wife of one of the local rabbis, lobbied
the trustees of the University of Rochester to get
them to admit women. In 1898, the trustees
agreed that they would if the women
could raise $100,000. They were able to raise $40,000
in a two-year door-to-door campaign. And in the end, Susan
B Anthony famously pledged her own life
insurance policy, which thankfully
was later returned, to help achieve the goal. In September 1900,
33 women registered to study at the
University of Rochester. [APPLAUSE] As president, I
will be particularly attentive to issues of
equity and inclusion. And I will do everything
I can to make sure that every student,
faculty, and staff member at the
University of Rochester feels welcomed and included. [APPLAUSE] And finally, engagement. Gone are the days
of the ivory tower. Today’s university is, and must
be, engaged with its community. Or again, I should
say communities, because we have students,
faculty, alumni, and scholarly projects
and partnerships all around the world. In addition to being an
academic and cultural center, today’s university is
often an economic force within its community, as
corporations contract, and other businesses and
established organizations downsize or disappear. Think of Yale in New Haven, and
the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. These are but two examples
of peer institutions that have invested heavily
in their local communities, and with generally
positive results. Add Rochester to that list. In fact, you could even put
us at the top of the list. The relationship between
the University of Rochester and the city of
Rochester has always been one of mutual engagement. There is no better
illustration of this than the words inscribed
on the building that houses this magnificent theater– “For the enrichment
of community life.” Even when this building
was constructed in the early part of the
20th century, our city’s and our university’s
greatest benefactor, George Eastman,
and the leadership of the University of Rochester
were committed to the idea that this was a place not
just for the musicians and scholars of Eastman
School of Music, but also for the community. I have another story to
illustrate this point in quite a marvelous way. When I visited the university
archives so that I could learn more about the history
of the institution I now lead, among the
items that had been set out for me to look at
was a large book, many pages long, handwritten
with exquisite calligraphy. The book memorializes
contributors from the campaign
of 1924, spearheaded by then-president
Rush Rhees that raised the funds needed for
the construction of what we now call the River Campus. As some of you may know,
the original University of Rochester campus was
in a former cow pasture a few blocks away from here. Part of the campus is now part
of the Memorial Art Gallery, another institution that’s
part of our university, and also dedicated
to the community. The new and current River Campus
was sited on a golf course. And that famous golf
course, Oak Hill, moved out to Pittsford so the
university could be built. But that’s another story. In this memorial book, all
of the 13,651 contributors the campaign, which by the
way included 70% of all living graduates– so that’s the
kind of participation rate we’re expecting for
our next campaign– [APPLAUSE] They’re all listed
alphabetically, whether they gave
$10, or whether they gave hundreds of thousands. All the names are listed in two
columns from many, many pages, with decorations in
red, blue, and gold ink. And there, I found
in a left-hand column on one of the “E” pages among
all the other names, no bigger than any of the
rest, George Eastman. Immediately across
from Eastman’s name in the right-hand column
was another donor, “Eddie’s Chop House.” [LAUGHTER] It turns out that Eddie owned
a very popular restaurant that was a mainstay
on East Main Street from before the Depression
until the Reagan era, described as “a place to
meet and a place for meats” for generations
of Rochesterians. “Power brokers gathered
at the downtown eatery to talk business,
and everyday folks came to savor the dishes.” In a sense, Eddie and Eastman
weren’t very different. They both worked to bring
communities together. But what struck me
most about this pairing was the idea that the
University of Rochester was not only built
by wealthy donors. Although George Eastman
deserves lion’s share of credit, the University of
Rochester was built by the people of Rochester. Think about that for a moment. We’re not just a
university in a community. We are a university
of this community. Another item from the archives
was a 1953 promotional brochure for the university,
incidentally with photos taken by a little-known
photographer named Ansel Adams. The brochure included a section
called “The University Serves the Community.” “In medicine music,
art, adult education and technological
research,” it proclaims, “the University of Rochester
performs more direct services for its community than any
comparable American University. These services are decisive
and true in determining the tone and quality of
the community’s life.” Well, I’m not really sure
that the 1953 copywriters had empirical evidence
to back those claims up. But one thing is certain,
both then and now. As much as we are a
university in the community and of the community, we must be
a university for our community. If we are being true to the
values that George Eastman espoused, we must continue
to be mindful of our role in the city of Rochester
and the surrounding region. Without a vibrant Rochester,
the university cannot thrive. Issues facing our community,
and many other communities– poverty, unemployment,
and lack of access to education and health care,
are our shared responsibility. We must be a committed community
partner working together to achieve success we must
build on our shared past, and work together on
our shared future. But I should also note that our
connection with the community also means community
in a global sense. Even though the scale
is always growing, and the boundaries
are constantly shifting, to be a
citizen these days is to be a citizen of the world. And I would be
remiss if I did not acknowledge the importance
of our global partnerships. This, too, is what a
contemporary university, a university of
global consequence, must always keep in mind. As president, I will
continue in the footsteps of my predecessors,
and make community engagement a priority. A few weeks ago, I participated
in the university’s global day of service, where
members the university community around the world
take part in service projects. On the back of our t-shirts
designed for the occasion was a quote by George Eastman. “A good reputation is
measured by how much you can improve the lives of others.” Throughout my presidency, I
will keep this adage in mind. I will also keep Martin
Brewer Anderson’s observations about the necessary attributes
of a university president close at hand. They may not always be
a useful guide for how I go about doing my job. But whether I am on Wall
Street or Wilson Boulevard, I will keep my feet on the
ground, my head in the clouds, and my focus on meliora. [APPLAUSE] Thank you all again for
joining me on this occasion. And thank you for
the opportunity to lead this great
institution into the future. [APPLAUSE] So, friends, we’re about to
conclude the inaugural ceremony of Sarah Mangelsdorf after
those really wonderful words. Please rise now and join members
of the university’s a cappella groups. Sorry, up and down– After Hours, Midnight Ramblers,
PASApella Trebellious, Yellow Jackets, and
Vocal Point, in singing the first and third
verses of The Genesee. I believe the words
are in your program. After The Genesee, please
remain at your places, clear of all the aisles, until
the full academic procession has left the theater. Thank you so much for joining us
on this important and historic occasion. Meliora. [HARMONICA TUNING] Full many fair and famous
streams, beneath the sun there be, yet more to us than
any seems our own dear Genesee. We love her banks and stately
falls for to our minds they bring our dear old
alma mater’s halls where sweetest memories cling. As flows the river gathering
force, along her steadfast way, may we along life’s
devious course grow stronger day by day. And may our hearts, wherever
we roam, forever loyal be to our beloved home

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