Many of UR’s graduates go on to successful careers, landing positions in America’s most prestigious universities, according to a new survey entitled “A Thousand Faculty Members: University of Rochester Graduates at America’s Best Schools.”

Provost Charles Phelps believes that UR’s stress on independent thought has led to the university’s success. “We’ve concentrated on helping people think and write well,” Phelps said. “It’s a key thing.”

Holding a degree from UR appears to be a key merit for successful future employment, with over a thousand graduates earning high ranking positions among the nation’s top 25 schools ranked by the US News and World Report.

Harvard employs the most UR graduates at 64, followed by the University of Michigan with 44 and Johns Hopkins with 38. Other highly ranked universities with Rochester alumni leading their staff include Yale, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Cornell University, UCLA, Duke, University of Wisconsin and Washington University in St. Louis, among several others.

The top 25 medical schools also have faculty matriculating from UR’s School of Medicine and Dentistry with M.D. degrees, with four of the top ten medical schools’ deans graduating from UR. The College as well as all of the graduate schools are included in the representation.

“It was a real discovery process,” University Dean of Graduate Studies Bruce Jacobs said who conducted the survey. “Many in the Rochester community were unaware of several that graduated from their own departments and had gone on to these successful positions.”

The survey found other equally gratifying information regarding the careers of former UR graduates. Ten are deans of their respective schools, thirty-six hold department chairs and a little less than a hundred maintain endowed chairs at various universities.

“It is eye opening in terms of their intellectual impact,” Jacobs said. “[These graduates] have serious positions at these schools-deans, chairmen, department heads.”

Other statistics also favored UR. One quarter of UR alumni obtained degrees from The College and one fifth of UR graduates remained here to receive their graduate degrees, with thirty-one receiving medical degrees and nineteen receiving doctorates.

The graduates included in the study span a wide variety of Rochester generations, from 1943 to 2002.

Jacobs also explained the survey process. As staff searched the alumni database to discover what Rochester graduates had been doing, they validated that information against various university Web sites by searching under “University of Rochester.”

“All of a sudden, people started popping up,” Jacobs laughed.

The staff also checked the universities’ telephone directories, in order to be certain that the survey was dealing with accurate information.

The study did, however, leave out certain criteria, such as scholars outside of the top 25 and professors at international universities. Overall, though, it is deemed to be a promising view of graduates’ accomplishments post-Rochester in higher education.

Jacobs also mentioned that the study gives an important message about the newfound awareness of graduate success and the future. “It is a significant record that we have established a legacy which should continue,” Jacobs said. “It is powerful evidence that we have something to preserve and build on.

“We have shown that we may not be division leaders, but we play in the same ball field,” Jacobs said.

Linden can be reached at

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