Joel Seligman

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Joel Seligman
10th President of the University of Rochester
In office
July 1, 2005 (2005-07-01) – February 28, 2018 (2018-02-28)
Preceded byThomas H. Jackson
Succeeded byRichard Feldman (interim)[1]
Personal details
Born (1950-01-11) January 11, 1950 (age 69)
New York City, New York, United States
ResidenceRochester, New York, USA
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Harvard University
WebsiteOffice of the President of the University of Rochester

Joel Seligman (born January 11, 1950) is the immediate past President of the University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York, and is one of the leading authorities on securities law in the United States. Seligman resigned his presidency on January 11, 2018, following a University-wide sexual harassment scandal.[2]


Joel Seligman was the 10th president of the University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York. Named to the position on December 1, 2004, he assumed office on July 1 2005, succeeding Thomas H. Jackson. Seligman was formally inaugurated in a ceremony at the Eastman Theatre on October 23, 2005. He announced his resignation on January 11, 2018, and stepped down on February 28, 2018.


Seligman received his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1971. He received his juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1974.[3]


Before his service as the University of Rochester's president, Seligman served as the dean and Ethan A.H. Shepley University Professor at the Washington University School of Law. Prior to serving there, Seligman was the dean and Samuel M. Fegtly Professor of Law at the University of Arizona College of Law (1995–1999). He also held professorships at the University of Michigan Law School (1987–1995), George Washington University Law School (1983–1986), and Northeastern University School of Law (1977–1983).


In addition to being an academic leader, Seligman is considered a leading authority on securities law. He is the author or coauthor of 20 books and over 40 articles on legal issues related to securities and corporations including the 11-volume Securities Regulation, the leading treatise in the field (cowritten with Troy Paredes and the late Louis Loss); The Transformation of Wall Street: A History of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and Modern Corporate Finance.

Seligman is currently a member of the board of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. He also has served as reporter for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Revision of Uniform Securities Act (1998–2002); as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission Advisory Committee on Market Information (2000–01); and as a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Professional Ethics Executive Committee. He was a member of the board of the National Association of Securities Dealers (2004–07) and of Eastman Kodak Company (2009–13).

Seligman's Presidency[edit]

New Buildings and Facilities[edit]

Under Seligman's leadership, the University opened the following buildings and facilities: • Golisano Children's Hospital • Ernest J. Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute • Genesee Hall • Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics • Thomas Jackson Court • Raymond F. LeChase Hall • Dennis O'Brien Residence Hall • Saunders Research Building • Ronald Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation • James P. Wilmot Cancer Center • Wegmans Hall.

In 2010, the University's Eastman School of Music completed a $46.9 million multiyear project, which included renovations to the school's Kilbourn Hall (444 seats) and to Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre (3,352 seats), its main performance space. The project also included construction of Hatch Recital Hall (222 seats).[4]

Other Accomplishments[edit]

Seligman's presidency has also been marked by progress in these areas: Research: In the 2014 fiscal year, nearly 250 inventors from 48 University departments filed invention disclosures.[5] Its research is supported by state-of-the-art technological equipment and facilities, including the IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer and the Omega 60-beam laser—the world's second most powerful laser—housed at the University's Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

Fundraising : In 2011, the University launched The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester, with the goal of raising $1.2 billion.[6] The Meliora Challenge is the largest comprehensive capital campaign in the University's history and the first comprehensive campaign since 1924. The University concluded its campaign in June 2016 having raised $1.37 billion.[7]

Undergraduate Strength:[8] The 2014–15 freshman class has a two-score equivalent SATs at a record 1375 (with an SAT test-flexible policy), up 75 points from 2005. Simultaneously, there has been a substantial increase in the enrollment of underrepresented minorities, from 12.2 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2014, and in the enrollment of first-year international students, which increased from 3.3 percent to 23 percent, coming from a record 75 countries. In September 2014, the New York Times listed the University of Rochester as being among the most economically diverse universities in the country.[9]

Community Development[edit]

Seligman has also played a leadership role in two major community projects—Brooks Landing and College Town.

Brooks Landing is a hotel, retail, and student residential development along the Genesee River that broke ground at the beginning of Seligman's presidency and was dedicated in 2006. The Riverview Apartments and Brooks Crossing apartments provide undergraduate housing for 570 students in the Brooks Landing area.[10] Joined to the University by a footbridge over the Genesee River, the Brooks Landing development creates a cohesive University-neighborhood atmosphere.

In the fall of 2014, the University, along with partners from the City of Rochester and state and federal officials, dedicated College Town. This is a $100 million shopping, dining, business, and residential district in the Mt. Hope area of the city of Rochester located near the University's River Campus and its Medical Center.[11] The project was harshly criticized by Rachel Barnhart, a candidate for Rochester Mayor in the Democratic primary in 2017. Barnhart said "College Town is a perfect example of what can go wrong. Constantino's left, it's not walkable, it has an uninspired design."[12] Three years after its opening, 10 of the College Town's commercial spaces are unoccupied, a 31 percent vacancy rate.[13]

Seligman also provides community and economic development leadership as a board member of the Greater Rochester Enterprise and the Rochester Business Alliance. He and Wegmans CEO Danny Wegman have also served as cochairs of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council from 2011 to 2016.[14]

Sexual Harassment and EEOC Complaint[edit]

On September 1, 2017, a complaint was filed by eight current and former faculty members of the University of Rochester with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The complaint includes allegations of sexual misconduct/harassment perpetrated by a current University of Rochester faculty member, and reprisals by the Seligman administration against the complainants.[15][16] The university responded publicly that the allegations were "thoroughly investigated and could not be substantiated," with Seligman personally responding that "no violation of the law or University policy was found," and that " [a]llegations are not facts."[17] Seligman also wrote that "as we saw in Rolling Stone's withdrawn story about sexual assault at the University of Virginia, even established media outlets can get it wrong,"[18] a statement for which Seligman later apologized.[19]

The public disclosure of the EEOC filing, and the responses to it from the University and Seligman, resulted in a contentious on-campus Town Hall meeting hosted by Seligman, with approximately 500 University students, faculty, and staff attending.[20] Subsequent to this meeting an on-campus rally was held, protesting against the responses of the University and Seligman to the allegations of sexual harassment and reprisals made in the EEOC-filed complaint.[21]


Seligman resigned as the President and CEO of the University of Rochester on February 28, 2018, subsequent to the release of a report on the University's EEOC case by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and amid the growing perception among students and faculty of a failure in leadership.[22][23][24]


  1. ^ "Richard Feldman appointed interim president". NewsCenter. University of Rochester. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  2. ^ Wang, Vivian (11 January 2018). "Exonerated, University of Rochester President Steps Down". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  3. ^ "SELIGMAN, JOEL". Who's Who in America 2006. 2 (M-Z) (60th ed.). New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who. 2005. p. 4254. Retrieved November 7, 2018 – via Internet Archive.
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  7. ^ "Meliora Challenge campaign exceeds expectations with historic $1.37 billion". NewsCenter. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
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  12. ^ Fanelli, Gino. "Mayoral candidates hit the issues at Sector 6 forum | Rochester Business Journal". Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  13. ^ "What's going on in College Town? Apartments are full but 31% retail vacancy rate exists". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  14. ^ "UR's Seligman resigns from regional council". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  15. ^ "She was a rising star at a major university. Then a lecherous professor made her life hell". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  16. ^ "11 Women Accuse University Of Rochester Professor Of Sexual Harassment". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  17. ^ "University of Rochester responds to sexual harassment complaint against professor". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-09-10.
  18. ^ "UR complainants vs. Seligman: War of words heats up over prof accused of sexual harassment". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  19. ^ "UR President Joel Seligman apologizes for comment in sexual harassment case". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  20. ^ "Seligman faces hundreds as campus outrage peaks". The Campus Times. Retrieved 2017-09-13.
  21. ^ "UR student criticism of handling sexual harassment allegations mounts". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  22. ^ "Seligman quits, says UR's interests 'best served with new leadership'". Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-01-14.
  23. ^ "UR President Joel Seligman resigns". Rochester Business Journal. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  24. ^ Wang, Vivian (January 11, 2018). "Exonerated, University of Rochester President Steps Down". The New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2018.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Thomas H. Jackson
President of the University of Rochester
July 1, 2005 – February 28, 2018
Succeeded by
Richard Feldman