Hurlbut Receives Prestigious Eastman Medal For Decades of Service

November 07, 2006

Robert H. Hurlbut, a member of the University of Rochester Board of Trustees, chair of the University of Rochester Medical Center Board and a longtime supporter of the University, will be awarded the University’s Eastman Medal at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Medical Center’s Class of ’62 Auditorium.

University of Rochester President Joel Seligman will present the Eastman Medal to Hurlbut during the investiture ceremony for Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., the new senior vice president for Health Sciences and CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The Eastman Medal is named in honor of George Eastman, the University’s major donor and one of the nation’s great benefactors to higher education. It recognizes individuals who, through their outstanding achievement and dedicated service, embody the high ideals for which the University stands. The Eastman Medal was awarded for the first time in 2000 as part of the University’s sesquicentennial celebration. Past winners include Tony Award-winner Garth Fagan, founder and artistic director of Garth Fagan Dance; Ralph Snyderman, M.D., president and CEO of Duke University Health Systems; and Ted Turner, founder of cable news channel CNN.

Hurlbut has made an indelible mark on the University of Rochester, supporting the Medical Center, the School of Nursing, the Eastman School of Music and the Memorial Art Gallery. He has been personally involved in many aspects of health care in Rochester and throughout New York state, from health care planning to delivery to financing, and he has emerged as one of this region’s most insightful and dedicated health care leaders.

“The University has had few friends as devoted and talented as Bob Hurlbut,” Seligman said. “I admire particularly the way he championed the School of Nursing during its recent highly successful capital campaign. I am grateful always for his sage advice, loyalty, and willingness to help strengthen a great University and a great Medical Center.”

He has shaped the future of the Medical Center as an active member of its Finance, Long-Range Planning, and Executive board committees. As a member and chair of the board’s Facilities Committee, he influenced the Medical Center’s footprint – perhaps most dramatically by leading the planning and construction of the seven-story Ambulatory Center, parking garage, the Levine Lobby and Wolk Pavilion, an $84.5 million project.

In the late 1990s, Hurlbut successfully co-chaired Phase One of the $35 million Campaign for Discovery, helping to ignite the excitement to partially fund an ambitious new research initiative. Thanks in large part to Hurlbut, the campaign reached its goal two years ahead of schedule and the campaign was extended. As a result of his and others’ perseverance, the four-story, 240,000-square-foot Arthur Kornberg Medical Research Building was opened in 1999 and now houses 100 researchers and their support staff.

Hurlbut most recently served as chair of the Future of Care Campaign for the School of Nursing. The campaign goal was $13.3 million, and $20.1 million was ultimately raised. The efforts resulted in an expansion and renovation project in Helen Wood Hall that will help the School increase student enrollment, boost technological capabilities and enhance research. The new Loretta C. Ford Education Wing, which opened in April, is a 28,000-square-foot expansion that includes four spacious classrooms, a 170-seat auditorium, a seminar room and atrium. The wing’s wireless and smart classroom technology and video conferencing capability will facilitate student learning.

In 1989, he was appointed Commissioner of the New York State Insurance Fund by Mario Cuomo, a post to which he was re-appointed by Gov. George Pataki in 1996.

Hurlbut is president of Hurlbut Trust, which offers financial and consulting services for health care facilities and rental properties; and chair of Rohm Services Inc., a management and consultation firm for health care facilities. He founded Vari-Care Inc., which operated 24 long-term health facilities in several states and is now part of Living Centers of America.

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Karin Christensen
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