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The University of Rochester (commonly referred to as U of R or UR) is a private, nonsectarian, research university in Rochester, New York. The university grants undergraduate and graduate degrees, including doctoral and professional degrees. The university has six schools and various interdisciplinary programs.
The University of Rochester is particularly noted for its Eastman School of Music. The university is also home to the Institute of Optics, founded in 1929, the first educational program in the US devoted exclusively to optics. Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics is home to the second most energetic fusion laser in the world.
In its history, five university alumni, two faculty, and one senior research associate at Strong Memorial Hospital have been awarded a Nobel Prize; eight alumni and four faculty members have won a Pulitzer Prize, and 19 faculty members have been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Faculty and alumni of Rochester make up nearly one-quarter of the scientists on the board advising NASA in the development of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to replace the Hubble Space Telescope in 2018. The departments of political science and economics have made a significant and consistent impact on positivist social science since the 1960s; the distinctive, mathematical approach pioneered at Rochester and closely affiliated departments is known as the Rochester school, and Rochester graduates and former affiliates are highly represented at faculties across top economics and political science departments.
The University of Rochester, across all of its schools and campuses, enrolls approximately 5,600 undergraduates and 4,600 graduate students. Its 158 buildings house over 200 academic majors. Additionally, Rochester (along with its affiliated Strong Health System) is the largest employer in the Greater Rochester area and the sixth largest employer in New York.
The University of Rochester was founded in 1850 as a Baptist-sponsored institution. The impetus to form the university came primarily from the town of Hamilton, New York, which has been home to Colgate University since 1819. In 1848, the Baptist Education Society planned to move Colgate University (then known as Madison University) to the city of Rochester, but was halted by legal action in Hamilton. Dissenting Colgate trustees, faculty, and students founded the University of Rochester with a charter granted from the Regents of the University of the State of New York on January 31, 1850. Classes began that November, with approximately 60 students enrolling, including 28 transfers from Madison.
The University of Rochester's campus was originally in downtown Rochester at the United States Hotel, which was located on Buffalo Street near Elizabeth Street, which today is West Main Street near the I-490 overpass. In 1853, the campus moved east to a then-suburban location on what is now University Avenue. Local businessman and Congressman Azariah Boody donated 8 acres (3.2 ha) of land for the new campus, and the University purchased a further 17 acres (6.9 ha) from him. UR would remain on this campus until the current River Campus was constructed in 1930, and the university continues to own a small part of the University Avenue campus (where the university-owned Memorial Art Gallery is located).
The first female students were admitted in 1900, the result of an effort led by Susan B. Anthony and Helen Barrett Montgomery. During the 1890s, a number of women took classes and labs at the university as "visitors" but were not officially enrolled nor were their records included in the college register. President David Jayne Hill allowed the first woman, Helen E. Wilkinson, to enroll as a normal student, although she was not allowed to matriculate or to pursue a degree. Thirty-three women enrolled among the first class in 1900, and Ella S. Wilcoxen was the first to receive a degree, in 1901. When the River Campus was completed in 1930, male students moved there while the female students remained on the University Avenue campus until 1955.
UR was one of the 25 New Ivies in the 2007 Kaplan/Newsweek "How to Get into College Guide." The list names institutions whose caliber of students is considered to rival traditional Ivy League schools. The rankings are based on admissions statistics as well as interviews with administrators, students, faculty, and alumni.
Admission into the University of Rochester has become increasingly competitive, with an average acceptance rate of 35.7% (20% for transfer students) and average SAT scores falling in the 95th percentile, for the fall of 2011. UR is ranked 33rd among national universities by U.S. News & World Report, and 144th by Washington Monthly. The school places within the top 10 for the staff-to-student ratio.
The doctoral programs for economics and political science are historically ranked among the top five worldwide in career placement and alumni success, despite their small size. Additionally several other graduate programs are consistently ranked within the top 20 in the United States.
The Eastman School of Music ranks first among graduate music programs in the U.S. Other schools in the university also rank highly, with the School of Medicine and Dentistry at 30th overall among medical schools and its primary-care program ranked 15th among primary-care medical schools, and the Simon School ranked 23rd among graduate business schools. U.S. News & World Report also ranked the Hajim School of Engineering's graduate program 38th nationally. Additionally, the graduate programs of political science, economics, and medical research were ranked 15th, 22nd, and 31st in the nation, respectively.
Rush Rhees Library at The University of Rochester was featured on the cover of the "Princeton Review 373 Best Colleges 2011 Edition".
The High Impact Universities Initiative which measures research performance ranked the University of Rochester 28th in the world.
Simon Graduate School of Business is ranked among the top 5 Finance, Accounting and Economics business schools in the world by Financial Times MBA ranks.
UR's official symbol is the seal of the university, which features a book, representing arts and sciences, a lyre symbolizing music, and a modified symbol of medicine. The official flower of the university is the dandelion, purportedly prolific on the cow pasture that became the university's second campus.
The official mascot of the university is a predatory wasp found throughout Rochester, the Yellowjacket. From 1983 to 2008, the yellowjacket mascot was named "URBee." However, when the university re-designed the mascot during the 2007-2008 academic year, a new name was chosen and as of February 1, 2008, the school's mascot is now known as "Rocky".
The university uses Dandelion Yellow and Rochester Blue as its official colors, which are the prominent colors on the official regalia.
The motto of UR is Meliora, which loosely translates to "better" with the connotation of "ever better," the meaning adopted by the university.
The image of Rush Rhees Library's main dome serves as an additional icon for the University of Rochester.
UR also has official logos for the university as a whole as well as individual units, including the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and the Eastman School of Music. President Seligman, as part of his efforts to improve UR's external appearance, commissioned Bill Murphy, the Vice President of Communications, to start an initiative to develop a new graphic identity, including a new logo, in hopes of improving uniformity and overall usage of official standards. During March 2007, the communications office was soliciting opinions and comments on finalist designs for the new logo, which was unveiled later that fall.
The song most often sung at college events, led often by the school's many a cappella groups, is The Genesee, written by former Rochester student Thomas Thackeray Swinburne (Class of 1892). Although less frequently used, the university also has an official Alma Mater, The Dandelion Yellow.