Syracuse University Magazine

Chancellor's Message


This fall’s blockbuster Orange Central Homecoming+Reunion celebration reaffirmed that wherever SU alumni gather, one of the most commonly overheard phrases is sure to be “Syracuse took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to....” Whether they were members of “The Greatest Generation,” the Class of ’04, or special groups from WAER to Resident Advisors, they had tales to tell each other and our students about the difference that SU has made in their lives. Yet as striking as the consistency of this connection between SU and opportunity remains across generations, it should not be surprising.

SU’s history is embedded in that of Central New York, whose map traces a virtual geography of opportunity from the pioneering democracy of the Haudenosaunee to the entrepreneurial audacity of the Erie Canal to the social innovations of abolitionism, women’s rights, and disability rights to today’s budding green economy. As SU and the SU family have grown, we’ve explored new geographies of opportunity to give our faculty and students new avenues to engage the world, stimulating discovery and creative impulses while providing test beds for knowledge.

A perfect example is the evolution of SU Abroad, whose Florence Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a key portal to the treasures of the Renaissance and the Florentine communities of experts of which our art history and architecture faculties long have been a part (see “50 Years in Florence”). Our new SU Europe strategy will tap these unique resources even more broadly, increasing student choice, mobility, and intercultural exchange across the continent and beyond by developing new partnerships with institutions whose programs and locations complement SU’s.

Partnership also is the key to tapping the most precious resource in our local geography, where we’re closing the opportunity gap that has precluded so many Syracuse City School District children from pursuing a college education (see the cover story). Along with the visionary Say Yes to Education Foundation and every sector of our community, our faculty and students from across the disciplines are helping build a model of comprehensive urban school reform on an unprecedented scale. Say Yes to Education: Syracuse has captured the attention of U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden L’68, who held a town hall meeting on campus in September at which Secretary of Education Arne Duncan heralded the program’s potential to be replicated nationally.

Inspiring the diverse next generation also is at the heart of new partnerships with members of the SU family in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Boston—thriving geographies of opportunity. Together, we’re rallying our communities of experts to help create signature programs that educate our students for the world in the world while raising the Orange flag where more college students of the future can see and feel the impact of Scholarship in Action.


Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President