5 Meliora Weekends ago when President Clinton spoke. And Great Books with President Seligman


GREETINGS: Keynote speaker President Bill Clinton is greeted by Meliora Weekend–goers as he makes his way to Eastman Theatre. 10/20/11 (Courtesy: UofR)

In keeping with our Presidential visits to Rochester series, on October 20th, 2011, former President Bill Clinton spoke at the University of Rochester’s Meliora Weekend.

This morning at the University of Rochester’s Meliora Weekend — sporting my new Media pass kindly offered just a few minutes before by University Spokesperson Sara Miller — I spotted UR’s President Joel Seligman. Five years ago, President Seligman had introduced — as I and a packed Kodak Hall watched — President Bill Clinton as the 2011 Meliora Keynote Speaker.


KEYNOTE: Americans have rid themselves of many prejudices, but there’s “one last remaining prejudice: We don’t want to be around people who disagree with us,” said keynote speaker Bill Clinton, the founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States. “Cooperation works in the real world, not conflict.” Clinton addressed a packed Kodak Hall for a 90-minute session that was also streamed to standing-room-only simulcast venues and a University-only webcast. 10/20/11 (Courtesy: UofR)


Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 10/21/11

Today, I wondered what President Seligman most vividly recalled 5 years later — what President Seligman called one of his most exciting experiences. First, President Seligman remembered that Clinton had just flown back from China. He’d had only a few hours sleep but his irrepressible energy shone through.

On the podium, President Seligman asked what were Clinton’s 10 favorite novels or novelists. The question was sparked by President Seligman’s memory of JFK once being asked to name his top ten favorite books.

For Clinton, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was first. Clinton then rattled off nine more without missing a beat. (President Seligman says Sara can provide the full list.) Later, President Seligman mentioned to Clinton he was surprised none of the Russians were named. Oops, winced Clinton, I should have said Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and the Margarita 


Yuki Gonzalez ’17

Master and the Margarita is also one of President Seligman’s must reads. And what Great Books is President Seligman now reading? A recent translation of The Iliad by Peter Green. And always a biography. Currently it’s Richard Ellman’s Oscar Wilde. President Seligman says Wilde is even better than Ellman’s James Joyce.

To older people, five years doesn’t seem like such a long time. But for Yuki Gonzalez ’17 working a Meliora booth in Wilson Commons, the last five years have been life transforming. 5 years ago, living in Paraguay, Yuki had never heard of Rochester, NY, much less its university.

But a Peace Corp volunteer helped Yuki fill out applications for American universities. And — undertaking a great adventure — here he is in Wilson Commons, a very different person from the teenager in Paraguay. Yuki and I agreed life is probably not that dramatically different for Clinton and Seligman (as President Seligman said he’s still here) and myself than in 2011. But who knows what adventures are in store for Yuki before his own reunion, Meliora Weekend 2021?


from The sky announces the Moon Dress landing at Meliora Weekend

Meliora Weekend 2016 is already off to an auspicious start. President Seligman expects number to top previous records set in 2011.


see The sky announces the Moon Dress landing at Meliora Weekend

sarh-wise-signAlready, yesterday, in The sky announces the Moon Dress landing at Meliora Weekend, you witnessed the aerial debut of the Moon Dress.

First year student Sarah Wise recently began learning the carillon. She was thrilled to tout the wild bells. Sarah took the M pic, capturing the secret Talker hand signal known only to the magazine staff.

on the carillon, see “Ring out, Wild Bells”

More on the day see: Score one for love at Meliora Weekend


Hard to resist a Media pass photo-op. Yellowjacket cheerleaders under the tent. 10/08/16 [Photo: Myles Duval]



secret Talker hand signal known only to the magazine staff. [Photo: Sarah]


graveIn When President John Quincy Adams visited Rochester on July 27th and 28th, 1843 and toured Mt. Hope Cemetery, the grave of Nathaniel lincolnRochester.

In On Abraham Lincoln in Rochester from Michael Nighan, a plaque and a train station.


In Memorial Day, 1892, when President Benjamin Harrison dedicated the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument in Washington Square Park with Frederick Douglass. And Occupy Rochester, Benjamin Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in the same park Occupy would occupy.rab-fdr

In FDR’s first visit to Rochester as a national candidate, September 23rd, 1920. And the League of Nations., Rachel in Washington Square Park.

In When President Truman campaigned in Rochester en route to his upset win over NY Governor Thomas Dewey, a thruway sign.dewey-cropped

In 56 years ago when JFK spoke at the War Memorial. Two days after his debate with Nixon. Nine days after RFK was here., the War Memorial.war-memorial

In 45 years ago when President with BrIAN croppedNixon visited Rochester. And 3 days later when East High School erupted in racial violence a media briefing at the Landmark Hotel in Pittsford.

In 27 years ago today when President George H. W. Bush visited Wilson Magnet High School, a signed chalkboard.


With President Seligman 10/08/16 [Photo: Myles Duval] see Bringing back the mid 19th Century at the University of Rochester. Nanotechnology meets local history

In A seat at the President’s table three years later, soup and a grilled cheese sandwich at Magnolia’s.


Score one for love at Meliora Weekend

A personal tour of the URMC during Meliora Weekend with Dr. Ruth Lawrence, URMS ’49. And still on the active faculty.

“Ring out, Wild Bells”

Bringing back the mid 19th Century at the University of Rochester. Nanotechnology meets local history