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Giving - Why We Give

Danny Sabbah

Danny Sabbah

Born in France, Danny Sabbah ’74, ’78 (MS), ’82 (PhD), and P’09 lived abroad (growing up in France and Morocco) until he was eight years old. That’s when his father took a job in the United States at RCA Corporation. However moving required visas—a painstaking process that took much longer than Danny's 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 us here.”

It was a tough time for his family, and although Danny’s memory of the specifics is faint, he remembers his parents’ resolve, resourcefulness, and commitment to getting to the United States. Their goal was to provide their three children with more opportunities than they thought possible for them in 1960s Europe.

The visas eventually came, and, after spending a year living near New York City, Danny’s father took a network engineering position at IBM, a career that moved the family all over New York State, including New York 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. Interested to numbers and how the mind works, he double majored in applied mathematics and psychology and minored in medieval history (even living in the Medieval House for one year). After graduation, he followed his father’s example by taking a software engineer job at IBM.

In 1977, after three years at IBM, Danny returned to the University of Rochester to pursue a PhD in computer science, a relatively new program at the time, 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 during his graduate career. “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 his degree and welcomed him back after he completed the program. Upon his return, he joined IBM Research, where he was responsible for artificial intelligence research, programming languages, and software technology. After nearly 40 years at the company, Danny became chief technology officer and general manager for IBM’s Cloud initiative, working in those positions until his retirement in 2015. Today, he does consulting work on Cloud and future IT directions.

During his time at IBM, Danny served as general manager of Tivoli Software (now called Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure) in the IBM Software Group, and before that, as general manager for IBM Rational Software and chief technology officer for the IBM Software Group. He was instrumental in shaping IBM’s software business and is one its chief open-source policy architects.

Danny and his wife Karen made a sizeable gift to support the Goergen Institute for Data Science and are excited to support the University in its data science initiatives.

“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 and Susan Rose

Mark Rose ’64 came to Rochester as an eager, first-year student focused on increasing his knowledge of both science and the humanities. He also wanted to make the tennis team, having missed out on tennis in high school. With luck, and considerable drive, Mark achieved all of his goals. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in French, set records for the University’s tennis team, and in 2009 was inducted into the University of Rochester Athletic Hall of Fame. He and Susan(ne) ’65 met in Rochester on a ski trip, and both of them have centered their careers on the field we now refer to as data science.

Mark wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a noted physicist and advisor to the University’s optics department, who had studied both physics and philosophy in college. Mark was attracted to applied math and statistics, but ultimately opted for a scientific discipline other than physics. After two years of chemistry, he realized he was not cut out for lab work. Anticipating an international career, he switched to French, a language that came naturally after two years in Switzerland and advanced, college-level French literature courses in high school. He studied French philosophers and wrote his senior thesis on Sartre’s existentialism. However, in his last semester, Mark took a class in economic statistics that resonated deeply with him, and set the stage for his career.

After graduation, Mark earned his master’s degree in international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. As a graduate student, he became interested in the analytics side of business, and was selected by his quantitative methods professor to be a teaching assistant and instructor at the school’s mid-career management workshop. He then earned a second master’s degree in operations research from New York University’s School of Engineering.

Mark spent the next 40 plus years leading analytics 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. He is highly regarded for pioneering innovative analytical methods and PC applications for pharmaceutical business. He is also a founding member and past president of the Pharmaceutical Management Science Association, and a recipient of its inaugural lifetime achievement award. Mark currently 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 data science can dramatically affect 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 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.”

Phil Templeton

Phil Templeton

Phil Templeton (MD '82), CEO of AtomicDB and a pioneer in digital x-ray and teleradiology, donated $250,000 in 2015 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.”