Giving—Why We Give
Born in France, Danny Sabbah ’74, ’78 (MS), ’82 (PhD), and P’09 lived there and in Morocco until he was about eight years old. That’s when his dad took a job in the United States at RCA. To get there, though, the Sabbahs needed visas—a painstaking process that took much longer than his family anticipated. “We left Morocco with nothing and lived on standby for one year in Paris, just waiting for those visas and not knowing when they would come,” says Danny. “I am amazed by what my parents gave up and did to get here.”
It was a tough time for his family, and although Danny’s memory of the specifics is faint, he does remember his parents’ resolve, resourcefulness, and commitment around getting to the United States. Their goal was to provide their three children more opportunities than they thought possible for them in Europe in the 1960s.
The visas eventually came, and, after spending a year at RCA near New York City, Danny’s father took a network engineering position at IBM, a career that led to the family living in various places in New York State, including the city, the Mid-Hudson Valley region, and the Poughkeepsie area.
When it was time to look at colleges, Danny chose the University of Rochester because of its strong reputation. Drawn to numbers and understanding how the mind works, Danny double majored in applied mathematics and psychology and minored in medieval history at the University (he even lived in the Medieval House for one year). After graduating, he followed his father’s example, taking a job at IBM and becoming a software engineer.
In 1977, after three years at IBM, Danny went back to the University to pursue a PhD in computer science, a relatively new program then, where he specialized in artificial intelligence and computer vision. “At that time in my career at IBM, I was getting into programming situations that required a more in-depth understanding of computer science,” says Danny, who earned a Sloan Fellowship as a graduate student here. “Getting my master’s and then PhD gave me a solid foundation for everything else that I have done.”
IBM granted Danny a leave of absence to pursue this advanced degree and welcomed him back after completing the program. Upon his return, he joined IBM Research, where he was responsible for artificial intelligence research, programming languages, and software technology. Danny has spent nearly 40 years at IBM and today is the chief technology officer and general manager for IBM’s Cloud initiative.
Prior to that position, Danny served as general manager of Tivoli Software (now called Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure) in the IBM Software Group. Before that, he served as general manager for IBM Rational Software and as chief technology officer for IBM Software Group. Danny helped shape IBM’s software business and is one its chief open-source policy architects.
Danny and his wife, Karen, recently made a sizeable gift to support the Goergen Institute for Data Science. They are excited to support the University on what he acknowledges is a very important topic. Danny also plans to advise the University on issues regarding technology transfer.
“Data science is providing insights that will dramatically change and improve lives,” he says. “By harnessing it, the boundaries to addressing and ultimately solving some of the world’s biggest problems, for instance those related to medicine and health care, become almost nonexistent.
“This gift is a way to give back to an institution that gave me so much,” he adds. “The education I received here was extremely valuable, and it set the course for my career.”
Mark and Susan Rose
Mark Rose ’64 came to Rochester as an eager freshman focused on increasing his knowledge in both the sciences and the humanities. He also wanted to make the tennis team having missed out in high school. As fate would have it—along with considerable drive—he did both. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in French and he set records on the University’s tennis team and was elected in 2009 to the University of Rochester Athletic Hall of Fame. He and Susan(ne) ’65 met here, on a ski trip, and since then, both have focused their careers on to the field we now refer to as data science.
Mark wanted to follow the footsteps of his father, a noted physicist at RCA and advisor to the University’s optics department, who had studied both physics and philosophy in college. Mark had a bent toward applied math and statistics, but opted for a scientific discipline other than physics. After two years in chemistry, he realized he was not cut out for lab work. In anticipation of choosing an international career, he switched to French, a language that came naturally to him having lived for two years in Switzerland and taken advanced college-level French literature courses in high school. He studied French philosophers and wrote his senior thesis on Sartre’s existentialism. In his last semester, Mark took a class in economic statistics that resonated with him like no other, and that set his future career direction.
After Rochester, Mark earned his master’s degree in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. As a graduate student, he became increasingly interested in the analytic versus administrative side of business and was selected by his quantitative methods professor to be his teaching assistant and instructor at the school’s mid-career management workshop. This ultimately led him to earn a second master’s degree in operations research from New York University’s School of Engineering.
Mark spent the next 40 years leading analytic groups at Sandoz, Novartis, Dendrite International, and United Healthcare. He also served as an adjunct faculty member in Fairleigh Dickinson’s MBA program for 11 years. Within the pharmaceutical industry and beyond, he is highly regarded for pioneering innovative analytical methods and PC applications for the business side. He is a founding member and past president of the Pharmaceutical Management Science Association and recipient of its inaugural lifetime achievement award. Currently, he provides statistical consulting services for Quintiles Transnational.
Susan’s career has been shaped by data analytics as well. With a background in biology, public health, and paralegal studies, she specialized in health care, hospital administration, and medical malpractice—areas in which having the right data in place dramatically affects people’s lives.
“Data science is critically important in today’s business and scientific world,” said Mark. “It offers the frameworks and tools to analyze and solve increasingly complex problems that require deep knowledge of database and computational technology as well as analytical methods. We need more people who can do this work, too, from both the technical and the managerial sides.”
With this in mind, Mark and Susan recently gave $100,000 to establish the Mark L. and Susanne M. Rose Scholarship in data science. “I wish a discipline like this had been available when I was an undergraduate,” added Mark. “When Susan and I learned about the program’s multidisciplinary nature and how it spans business, medicine, and science, we saw an opportunity to support students interested in this important burgeoning field.”
“We are confident this gift will make a difference in helping to educate the next generation of leaders who will use data analytics to address problems in medicine and health care” said Susan. “We encourage others to do what we did—support those areas for which they have a passion.”
The Roses were actively involved in Mark’s 50th reunion last year and are planning to attend Susan’s upcoming 50th reunion.
Phil Templeton (MD '82), CEO of AtomicDB and a pioneer in digital x-ray and teleradiology, recently donated $250,000 to support the Rochester Center for Health Informatics, a cornerstone of the Goergen Institute for Data Science.
“I hope my gift will serve as a foundation for new discovery and applications to better understand and solve complex problems in health care.”
For more information on giving opportunities, please contact:
Stephen A. Dare
Senior Associate Vice President and Interim Chief Operating Officer, University Advancement