Syracuse University Magazine

Chancellor's Message


When SU's official Facebook page topped 20,000 "fans" this spring, it not only marked a milestone in sheer numbers, but underscored how rapidly the face of communication with SU family is changing. Another case in point is Syracuse University Magazine, which for the third time is coming to you in an online-only issue. Besides the sustainability benefits inherent in these eco-friendly media, digital formats enable us to build and better relationships with students, parents, alumni, and friends far and wide. That's why we've also planted the Orange flag on virtual real estate in the Twittersphere and YouTube.

Some of us-and I include myself here-may not have immersed ourselves in the virtual world with the abandon of today's 18- to 24-year-olds. Yet, I think we all recognize that social media have potential beyond sharing minutiae of daily life. They can, and often do, expand the boundaries of public dialogue and promote transparency and truth. We saw that profoundly last summer when, in the absence of conventional news coverage, Iranian citizens Tweeted their outrage over possible election fraud. We saw it again in recent months as the social media spotlight helped bring to light the true severity of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Even everyday forays across the social media frontier need not be limited to the mundane. Just ask Pete Kistler '11, Robert Sherman '09, G'11, Evan Watson '11, and Patrick Ambron '09, who have earned national acclaim for their start-up company,, which empowers users to manage the many and sometimes unwieldy aspects of their online presence. This practical tool is so useful to graduates entering a job market in which the virtual and physical worlds increasingly intersect that SU has given subscriptions as a graduation gift to our entire Class of 2010.

SU alum Dennis Crowley '98 is determined to bring those worlds even closer together: He co-founded Foursquare, one of the hottest new "apps" around. It's such an engaging way to encourage users to share local geographic knowledge while building social networks that we're exploring ways it can be used to familiarize new students with SU and the Syracuse community.

It comes as no surprise that students and young alumni comfortably transcend the boundaries of this hybrid terrain. Yet we know that when it comes to a tête-à-tête, there's no substitute for face-to-face. So this summer we've expanded opportunities for new graduates to meet experienced alums in cities all over the country. This wildly popular nationwide program of networking events, which we call SUccess in the City, is helping our newly minted alums navigate the transition to new careers in what may be otherwise unfamiliar waters.

And speaking of face-to-face, the minting process begins anew when the incoming class arrives on campus in just a few days. Undoubtedly, they will continue to challenge our assumptions about what community is and how to build it. They also likely will discover that while new technologies may be a useful starting point, deep and lasting relationships grow best in a collaborative community forged in real time and in shared space. Now that's a lesson worth Tweeting about.


Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President