Gifts Endow Loss Science Lecture Series, Scholarships

May 16, 2023

Over the last two decades, the St. John Fisher University campus community has heard lectures from leading researchers in nanotechnology, genetics, and imaging technology, thanks to the annual Robert and Janice Loss Science Lecture Series.

Janice C. Loss ’92 and Dr. Frederick Cohn

Board of Trustees member Janice C. Loss ’92, and husband, Dr. Frederick Cohn, have now gifted the University $250,000, part of which will create an endowment to secure the future of the annual lecture series, which celebrated 20 years in 2023. Established by Mrs. Loss and her late husband, Dr. Robert Loss ’74, the goal of the series is to promote the study of the sciences among young people by bringing renowned researchers to campus.

“The earth and civilization are facing many simultaneous challenges and we believe that financially supporting students at St. John Fisher University in the basic sciences will help provide solutions to these complex and pressing problems,” said Mrs. Loss and Dr. Cohn. “Our family has supported education, research, and lectures in the sciences for many decades, and through this gift are expanding our support with additional endowments directed towards lectures and women pursuing higher education in the natural sciences.  We are proud to be a part of St. John Fisher University’s leadership and growth in this discipline.”

Mrs. Loss, who is the president and owner of Skin Search of Rochester, Inc. and DermaSpa, Partners of Dermatology Associates of Rochester, P.C., joined the University’s Board in June 2016. She has been a longtime philanthropist of Fisher, funding lectures, scholarships, and student experiential opportunities. This latest gift was made in support of the University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, Fisher Forward.

“From providing essential financial assistance to students pursuing an education in the natural sciences to the thought-provoking discussions sparked by the lecture series, Janice has had an indelible impact on science education at Fisher,” said Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of the University. “We are grateful for her ongoing generosity and strong support of Fisher.”

The gift also allowed the University to establish the Dr. Frederick Cohn Endowed Scholarship in the Natural Sciences, which provides financial support to women pursuing natural sciences majors in the School of Arts and Sciences.

In addition, Mrs. Loss and Dr. Cohn’s support provides additional funding for the Robert and Janice Loss Science Scholarship, an endowed scholarship fund established in 1989. Each year, the scholarship is awarded to an incoming first-year student with distinguished academic achievement who is majoring in biology, chemistry, or physics. Dr. Loss, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Fisher before attending medical school at the University of Rochester, was a member of the Board for nearly 20 years, serving on a variety of committees, including academic affairs, development, finance, and the executive committee.

President Rooney added that the University’s threefold enrollment growth in natural sciences has been aided by investments made by the Loss family to Fisher, which includes a state-of-the-market laboratory in the Integrated Science and Health Sciences Building. Named in honor of the family’s philanthropy, the Loss Family Research Laboratory is shared by four members in the Biology Department including Dr. Ed Freeman, professor; Dr. Fernando Ontiveros, associate professor; Dr. Kathleen Savage, assistant professor; and Dr. Jonelle Mattiacio, associate professor. The space allows faculty to pursue and maintain their own research—many of which have received federal or foundational funding. Additionally, faculty members participate in mentored research with undergraduates, teaching students advanced laboratory techniques, providing a deeper understanding of the scientific research process, and creating opportunities to present their research regionally and nationally. All of these high-impact educational experiences prepare students for both post-graduate study and careers in industry.

In recent years, Fisher alumni have pursued advanced degrees in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary studies at the University of Rochester, MIT, Cornell, and Penn State, among others. In addition, graduates of the natural sciences have gone on to have distinguished careers in the private sector, government, secondary or college teaching, and conservation.

To learn more about St. John Fisher University and the Fisher Forward campaign, visit