Syracuse University Magazine

Marilyn Smith Swift Tennity '42


Marilyn Smith Swift Tennity '42, a dedicated community volunteer and philanthropist, died on March 18, 2010, at her home in Indian Wells, California. Graduating from the College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in psychology, she married classmate Charles F. Swift '42 and moved to Los Angeles, where the couple lived until his death in 1959. She remarried, and in 1980 moved to Indian Wells with her second husband, William P. Tennity, when he retired. Together they contributed to the construction of an African village and animal preservation center at The Living Desert near Palm Springs and co-founded the McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts in Palm Desert, California, along with Bob and Dolores Hope, and Gerald and Betty Ford. 

Syracuse University benefited from the Tennitys' generosity when they made a multimillion-dollar gift in 1999 to build the Marilyn and William Tennity Ice Skating Pavilion on South Campus. Tennity also was a major supporter of the College of Arts and Sciences, contributing to the Dean's Educational Enrichment Fund, establishing an endowment fund to support the Swift Tennity Wing in the Life Sciences Complex, and helping launch the Center for Health and Behavior in the psychology department. In recognition of her many contributions to improving educational excellence and quality of life at SU, Marilyn Tennity received a 2002 Arents Award-SU's highest alumni honor-for "excellence in the field of philanthropy." 

Milton F. Stevenson III '52


Milton F. Stevenson III ‘52, business leader and trustee emeritus of Syracuse University, died on December 17, 2009, in Jordan, New York. Born in Trenton, New Jersey, he called Central New York his home since 1949, when he attended the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science on the GI Bill following a stint with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  In 1960 he founded the Anoplate Corporation, a metal-finishing company that is a leader in chemical waste management and serves as a resource for regulatory agencies in their efforts to improve the environment.

Stevenson was one of SU's most avid sports fans and could often be seen wearing his signature orange socks, suspenders, and SU lapel pin. Over the years, he and his wife, Ann McOmber Stevenson '52, provided scholarships and academic support for student-athletes through contributions to the Student-Athlete Fund, Ernie Davis Football Fund, and Dave Bing Basketball Fund. In 1999, the Stevensons received Honorary LetterWinner of Distinction awards for their strong support for athletics, and the Educational Center in Manley Field House is named in their honor. 

Stevenson made a lasting impact on SU in 2005 with a significant commitment to establish the Milton and Ann Stevenson Professor of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering. Thanks to this endowed professorship, the University was able to recruit a pioneering researcher at the promising junction of biomedical and chemical engineering. In honor of Stevenson's commitment to all things Orange, a Celebration of Life Service was held at Hendricks Chapel. 

E. Burr "Buzz" Gibson '47


E. Burr "Buzz" Gibson ‘47, a pioneer in the field of philanthropy and one of the foremost leaders in philanthropic consulting, died on April 28, 2010, in New Jersey. Gibson touched the lives of millions of professional fund-raisers and volunteers during his long and distinguished career, most notably through his work as chairman of Marts & Lundy, one of the industry's most respected fund-raising consulting firms. He was involved in many of the largest public and private campaigns across the country, and he was an inspiration and mentor to thousands of not-for-profit institutions, including Syracuse University. His insightful advice helped the University surpass its Commitment to Learning Campaign goal in the 1990s, and he played an important role in the early stages of SU's current fund-raising effort—The Campaign for Syracuse University—the most ambitious fund-raising campaign in SU's history.

After graduating from SU with a degree in business administration, Gibson went to work for the March of Dimes until he joined Marts & Lundy in 1964. His career with the firm took him to the highest levels of strategic development planning, and in 2008, he received the prestigious Council for Advancement and Support of Education Lifetime Achievement Award, which "honors an individual whose professional accomplishments have made a significant and lasting impact on the field of institutional advancement, and whose life and character have earned the respect and admiration of their professional colleagues." 

Chester P. "Chet" Soling '54


Chester P. "Chet" Soling '54, architect, real estate developer, and philanthropist, died on April 29, 2010, in New Jersey.  A self-described "outspoken eccentric" with a passion for creative thinking, Soling was interested in political activism, senior citizen advocacy, and music, among others. He was the retired founder and senior partner of the Manhattan-based Soling Patent Company (Solico), which was involved in real estate, mortgage banking, retail art, hotel and restaurant operations, general contracting, and computer services. An architect by trade, Soling developed unique construction projects, including Piper's Hill, the first hotel designed for children; the Orchards hotel in Williamstown, Massachusetts; and the San Francisco Ship Model Gallery, a New York City art dealership that sold precisely scaled models of famous ships. 

In addition to his considerable business interests and community service activities, Soling offered his time and talent to Syracuse, serving as president of SU's Library Associates for 10 years, member of the SU Alumni Association board, and member of the University's Board of Trustees. In 1983, he funded the innovative Soling Program for Qualities of Mind Development. Established in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Soling Program stimulates creative and independent thinking among undergraduates by focusing on interdisciplinary and collaborative work based on problem-solving, experiential learning, and originality.  Soling's career achievements and dedication to SU were recognized with a 1980 Arents Award and a 1994 Dean's Outstanding Alumni Award from the School of Architecture.