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UR President Joel Seligman delivers farewell address

Feb 13, 2018

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman delivered his farewell address at the Memorial Art Gallery late Tuesday afternoon.

Seligman's resignation was announced January 11th, just hours after the release of the independent investigation into the university's handling of allegations of sexual harassment made against professor Florian Jaeger, although the university said that Seligman had notified the Board of Trustees of his decision before the Board, the Special Committee or he had received the report from the independent investigation.

Credit Caitlyn Whyte / WXXI News

Met with a standing ovation lasting about a minute long, Seligman opened his speech by saying he was not a president on his first day, it’s a position that one must grow into.

He thanked his fellow staff, administrative assistants that worked late to help him meet deadlines, and all the nurses and doctors who work in the many UR medical centers.

Seligman didn’t hesitate to crack jokes in his speech, warning interim president Richard Feldman about the hours a university president keeps.

"You’re frequently traveling and flying on regional jets, slowed by long delays in airports or runways, arriving in hotels at 10, 11, 12 at night before 7am meetings....getting all this down Rich?”

Brief mentions of healing were brought up throughout the speech; Seligman says he is confident in Feldman.

"We now need a new period of mutual trust and mutual respect. I am hopeful by rallying around a new leader that will occur."

Seligman said he threw his body and soul into the position, because he loves any opportunity to serve.

"I have no regrets, I have no bitterness. Being president of the University of Rochester involved far more joy than pain."

He reflected on some of his visions for the future, saying by 2025 he pictured the university achieving an even more prominent place among the nations leading research universities.

He said in order to succeed the university must be one, and hopes rallying around a new leader will achieve that.

"Progress for any institution is based on a kind of magic when we unite behind common goals. For much of the past 12 years, we had this type of magic."

Seligman was the 10th president of the University of Rochester, serving since 2005.

He said he looks forward to returning to the university as a teacher and a scholar after his yearlong sabbatical.