Outgoing U of R president Joel Seligman delivers farewell address

Joel Seligman, the president and CEO of the University of Rochester, delivered his farewell address Tuesday afternoon. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - Joel Seligman, the president and CEO of the University of Rochester, delivered his farewell address Tuesday afternoon.

Last month, Seligman announced his decision to step down from the helm of the university just minutes before the release of a report on sexual misconduct allegations by a University of Rochester professor in the Brain & Cognitive Sciences Department. His resignation will take effect on February 28, 2018.

"As a colleague in academic administration once told me, if 80 percent of the days are good days, you are doing fabulously," President Seligman said before an audience of hundreds at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. "I did fabulously."

In a statement released to the university on January 11, the same day the report was issued, Seligman called the presidency "the greatest honor of my life."

Professor Richard Feldman will succeed Joel Seligman.

Seligman assumed office on July 1, 2005 as the tenth president of the University of Rochester. Under his leadership, the Golisano Children’s Hospital and EJ DelMonte Neuromedicine Institute both opened, as well as the James Wilmot Cancer.

Seligman is also behind multi-million dollar investment projects to expand arts and sciences programs.

"We now need a new period of mutual trust and mutual respect," Seligman said. "I am hopeful, by rallying around a new leader, that will occur. Every faculty member, every student, every senior leader, every member of the staff, counts."

University of Rochester Board of Trustees Chairman Danny Wegman says respect is key moving forward.

"We should all expect a place where everyone is listened to," Wegman said. "I'm looking forward to an era of respect for each individual, regardless of whoever they are."

Senior Jacob Braniecki looks forward to healing and improvements in student involvement.

"It's making sure that students are directly involved with some of the big decisions that are made within the university," Braniecki said.

Dr. Larry Nazarian and his wife, Sharon, met at the University of Rochester more than 50 years ago. They say they respect Seligman's decision for the good of progress.

"I think he got caught in a situation that was not in his doing," said Dr. Larry Nazarian, a clinical instructor at the University.

"Whether we did something wrong here or not, it shouldn't condemn the whole university based on that," said Sharon Nazarian, an alumni.

Seligman will return to the University of Rochester to teach law in two years.