Akin to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address describing his plan for the nation, University President Joel Seligman recently delivered his State of the University Address detailing events of the past academic year and what the administration will be focusing on for the future.

The President’s address covered a range of topics, from the success of the Meliora Challenge to the continuing construction of College Town, as well as the numerous successes and achievements in research that have been achieved by the faculty of the University.

Some of the most significant information shared by Seligman detailed the new set of  strategic plans for the University and the Medical Center that were adopted by the University Board of Trustees in October of last year.

“Our first University objective is to be one of this nation’s leading research universities,” Seligman said. “This objective is well aligned with what has become a critical national priority. Economists have estimated that at least 50 percent of economic growth in the United States during the last half of the 20th century was derived from technological innovation.”

A key step towards reaching that goal is the continued construction of the Data Sciences building. The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation recently donated $17 million to the University, $10 million of which will provide the lead gift for the Institute of Data Sciences. The facility will be named Wegman Hall in honor of the gift.

The remaining $7 million will support the construction of the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

The expansion of Data Sciences research will be one of the University’s top priorities in the coming five years.

“This research field has emerged as one of the defining disciplines of the 21st century. Seligman said, “According to IBM, every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data—so much that 90 percent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone.The University of Rochester intends to be among the world’s leading institutions in this rapidly accelerating discipline, focusing on health threat early warning systems, reducing the cost of health care and cardiac modeling, among other specifically defined areas.”

For the next year, Seligman emphasized completing construction of College Town and most of the Golisano’s Children Hospital, as well as beginning construction planning for the Data Sciences Institute.

Additionally, he hopes to revise the strategic plans for the Medical Center as well as the Eastman and Simon schools, and to complete the search for senior leadership positions for both schools.

Smith is a member of the class of 2014.

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