The University of Rochester was founded in 1850 by members of the Baptist Education Society on West Main Street in downtown Rochester, subsequently moving further from the center of town to University Avenue, where the Memorial Art Gallery is still located. The school finally moved to its current location on the Genesee River in 1930.
With the work of women’s rights leaders Susan B. Anthony and Helen Barrett Montgomery, women were admitted to the school in 1900. However, they had to study on the old University Avenue campus until 1955, whereas the male students moved to the new campus when it was ready, in 1930.
The Eastman School of Music, named for philanthropist George Eastman, opened in 1921 and is today considered to be one of the best programs of its kind in the country. The Institute of Optics, in the School of Engineering, was introduced in 1929 and is the oldest such program in the country.
The University of Rochester’s main campus, known as the River Campus for its location on the banks of the Genesee River, is just south of downtown Rochester. The campus is planned in quads, which students like to hang out on n nice weather. Eastman Quad is at the center of campus, and the major academic buildings are laid out around it, including the Rush Rhees Library. The Wilson Commons student center is just behind Eastman, at the top of Wilson Quad. Designed by modernist architect I.M. Pei, the Commons paints a nice contrast with the Greek Revival buildings around it. The Residence and Fraternity Quads are adjacent to Wilson, close to the Genesee River.
The athletic center and Fauver Stadium are just north of Residence Quad, across Library Road. The Sage Arts Center is farther north still, with more dorms in this direction as well. Across campus to the east are the science and engineering buildings, closer to the Genesee again. The Interfaith Chapel is located on the banks of the river, across Wilson Boulevard from the campus.
The University of Rochester Medical Center, where Strong Memorial Hospital and the School of Medicine and Dentistry are located, is east of River Campus. The Eastman School of Music, which features the Eastman Theater, is right in downtown Rochester.
The University of Rochester is located in upstate New York, just south of Lake Ontario. Rochester’s metropolitan area has the second largest economy in New York State, behind New York City, and is New York’s third largest city.
In 2007, Rochester was named one of the top ten most livable cities in America by the Places Ranked Almanac in its 25th anniversary edition. Since snow is a regular occurrence during the cold months, the city is perfect for winter sports enthusiasts. Those who want to stay warm indoors can enjoy a variety of restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, movie theaters, and museums the city has to offer. Rochester also offers several music venues and has a thriving bar and club scene.
The summer months brings several festivals to town including the Lilac Festival in Highland Park, the Park Avenue Festival, the Corn Hills Arts Festival, and the Clothesline Festival in the Memorial Art Gallery. The primary area to enjoy the nightlife is the East End District, which contains several nightclubs, restaurants and bistros.
The Boar’s Head Dinner, which has been an annual occurrence since 1934, is based on an English legend from the 16th century, in which an Oxford student defends himself against and kills a boar in the woods, and then brings it back to campus with fellow students for a large feast. Students at Rochester host their own dinner reminiscent of such a celebration, even donning more or less traditional costumes of the period. The event used to be restricted to male students, but has been coed for several decades now.
Dandelion Day, or D-Day, is a springtime celebration with a long history at Rochester. Because of their abundance around campus, dandelions figure prominently in the school’s culture. D-Day began as a field day with games like tug-of-war, morphed into a weekend-long carnival, and today remains an annual celebration, albeit an increasingly alcohol-focused one.
George Abbott (1911) was the Broadway showman who wrote, directed and produced playas such as The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees.
Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, published in 1892.
Robert Forster (1964) is an Academy Award-nominated actor.
Susan Hockfield (1973) is president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Janet Maslin (1970) is a film and book critic for the New York Times.
Debra Jo Rupp (1974) is a TV actress known for her role on That ‘70s Show.
Donald C. Winter (1969) is secretary of the Navy.
Herbert York was a physicist on the Manhattan Project.
The Rochester Yellowjackets compete in Division III of the NCAA, except for the squash team, which plays at the Division I level. During the last four years, eight Rochester teams have advanced to the Division III championships, with the men and women’s basketball teams reaching the Final Four in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Rochester also has a number of intramural sports teams for students to get involved in.
Overall, the Yellowjackets have won seven conference championships and seven Eastern College Athletic Conference championships. Nineteen sports have achieved a national ranking and thirteen athletes have earned All-America honors.
The University of Rochester hosts the Laboratory for Laser Energetics which boasts the most powerful ultraviolet laser in the world.
Anderson and Wilder towers said to be among the first coed dorms in the country.
The majority of Rochester students live on the River Campus. Students at the Eastman School of Music live in housing on their campus in downtown Rochester.
The Residence Quad features several living options in six buildings – Burton, Crosby, Lovejoy, Hoeing, Tiernan, and Gilbert Halls. Housing on the quad mixes freshmen and older students. Adjacent to the Residence Quad, Fraternity Quad has housing for fraternities and special interest groups in some of the oldest buildings on campus.
The Susan B. Anthony Halls feature coed living with views of Fauver Stadium and house some of the freshman population. The Hill Court complex, farther from the center of campus, is composed of six buildings – Chambers, Fairchild, Gale, Kendrick, Munro, and Slater, which are connected by underground tunnels. More upperclassmen live here.
Anderson and Wilder Towers are located at Founders Court, near the bank of the Genesee River.
Riverview is the newest addition to Rochester’s housing stock. Located across the Genesee from the main campus, the complex will have two- to four-person fully furnished apartments. A pedestrian bridge will connect residents with the main River Campus.