On Tuesday, April 1, UR President Joel Seligman announced The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation made a $10 million gift to the University’s Institute for Data Science and a $7 million gift to support the Golisano Children’s Hospital. This represents the fourth largest contribution to the University’s Meliora Challenge Campaign and the second largest gift to the children’s hospital. Along with previous gifts, this brings The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation’s contributions to the University’s comprehensive campaign to over $20 million. In recognition for their contribution, the Institute for Data Science will be named in honor of the Wegman family.

“It is our honor to support the University’s campaign,” said 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.

“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 our efforts to make the University of Rochester a world leader in this emergent field,” said Robert L. Clark, senior vice president for research and dean of the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

The Institute for Data Science, which will be housed on the Science & Engineering Quadrangle, will be 50,000 square feet and support as many as 20 new faculty members. The institute will allow the University to expand its work with data science, a rapidly emerging field focused on understanding, consuming, and applying vast quantities of information and data within the fields of medicine, science and engineering, the humanities, education, business, and other disciplines.

The children’s hospital will feature 52 private patient rooms, an expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and various spaces designed to meet the needs of children and their families. Some of these spaces will be a healing garden, family lounges, and a hospitality suite where parents can shower, prepare and eat home-cooked meals as a family, or even do laundry.

The new hospital, the largest capital project in the University’s history, will open in the summer of 2015. The community and donors, such as The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation and B. Thomas Golisano have supported the hospital construction, donating $45 million of the $60 million cost of the building. Wegman hopes the foundation’s recent gift will inspire others to contribute to close the $15 million fundraising gap for the new building.

The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation was created by Robert Wegman in 1991 and is funded by assets from his estate. The Foundation focuses on health care, education, workforce development, and United Way.  According their website, United way is “a national system of volunteers, contributors, and local charities helping people in their own communities.”

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

Kath is a member of the class of 2016.

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