This has been a momentous year.

At the end of April, the community celebrated the grand opening of College Town, which now boasts approximately 20 retail facilities, including Barnes & Noble, the Corner Bakery Cafe, Constantino’s Market, Breathe Yoga, Insomnia Cookies, Jimmy John’s and many others.

In March, we surpassed our initial $1.2 billion goal in The Meliora Challenge capital campaign, providing more than $200 million in student support.

Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences Gloria Culver announced recently that we will establish a Humanities Center to be located in Rush Rhees Library. Dean Culver also announced the formation of our new Institute for Performing Arts.

Joe Testani joins us next month as assistant dean and executive director of the Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center. In October, Jessica Guzman-Reawasnameddirector of what is now the Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center.

On May 27, we will dedicate the largest individual construction project in our history, the new Golisano Children’s Hospital, with eight floors and approximately 245,000 square feet dedicated to children and their families.

Starting in July, the University—led by the Warner School of Education—will assume supervision of East High School with a plan to significantly improve student achievement and double graduation rates over the next seven years.

This year we launched several key projects which will help us focus our efforts on reaching the “Next Level,” including initiatives in Data Science, Neuroscience and Neuromedicine, the Humanities and the Performing Arts, and the Revitalization of our Community.

For example, plans for our new Goergen Institute for Data Science also are progressing, thanks to significant charitable gifts as well as capital support from New York state. We will aim to achieve best in class programs in the domains of Predictive Health Analytics,Cognitive Systems and Artificial Intelligence, and Analytics on Demand.The Goergen Institute plans to dedicate its new home in fall 2016 and move in by winter 2017.

Renovations will begin soon in Douglass Dining Hall to improve dining facilities, create event space and expand space for student organizations.

We will continue to make progress on the Brian F. Prince Athletic Complex. Very significantly, this year we committed to the construction of a new dormitory overlooking our football stadium that will include additional space for athletics.

The best part of May is graduation. Between May 15 and 17, our schools will graduate more than 3,000 exceptional students in the 165th graduation ceremony at the University. The Simon School of Business commencement occurs later on June 7. We have come a long way since 1851, when we graduated 10 students.

Deborah Bial, founder and president of the Posse Foundation, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree and deliver the College’s commencement address on May 17. At the College ceremony, we will present honorary degrees to Porter W. Anderson, professor emeritus of pediatrics at the School of Medicine and Dentistry; Robert Duffy, president and chief executive officer of the Rochester Business Alliance who previously served as New York lieutenant governor and as Rochester mayor; and Richard Rashid, chief technology officer of Microsoft’s Applications and Sciences Division.

We will also recognize the outstanding contributions of distinguished leaders and scholars by bestowing the Eastman and Hutchison Medals for exemplary service, as well as awards for scholarship and teaching. Howard Zemsky, President and CEO of Empire State Development and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development, will be the speaker for the Simon School’s commencement ceremony. He will be recognized for his distinguished record in business and public service with the Simon Distinguished Alumnus Award.

I wish all of you the happiest possible graduation week.

Seligman is the President of the University.

UR Softball continues dominance with sweeps of Alfred University and Ithaca College

The Yellowjackets swept Alfred University on the road Thursday, winning both games by a score of 5–4.

The Clothesline Project gives a voice to the unheard

The Clothesline Project was started in 1990 when founder Carol Chichetto hung a clothesline with 31 shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse, rape, and childhood sexual assault.

Furries on UR campus?

A few months ago, as I did my daily walk to class through the tunnels to escape the February cold,…