Syracuse University Magazine

A Time of Transformation

I love when Central New York flashes its final burst of brilliant fall colors before the onset of the slate gray skies of winter. On my daily commute to work, I look forward to seeing several maple trees at the north end of Jamesville Reservoir showcasing their red leaves. For the Syracuse area, eye-pleasing splashes of orange, red, and gold are accompanied by seasonal activities that many parts of the country don't have the opportunity to enjoy. There is the bounty of local farmers' markets, apple picking, grape harvesting, salmon spawning-runs from Lake Ontario into area streams and rivers, corn mazes to wander through, and pumpkin catapulting.

It is a time of transition and transformation in the natural world. And as we prepare to hunker down for winter, I'm reminded of how college, too, is a time of transition and transformation. For many students, college presents a challenge to their accustomed norms. They learn to consider other opinions. They encounter diversities that stretch them beyond the bounds of their comfort zones. They explore new interests and activities and meet people from all walks of life. And whether it is a class that shifts their perspective, a passage from a book, an event, or a particular moment, there are abundant opportunities for students to grow and become who they envision themselves to be.

In this issue of Syracuse University Magazine, you'll discover how the life journeys of two prominent alumni were shaped by experiences from their student days. As a Syracuse student in 1967, Kathrine Switzer '68, G'72, who was inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame this fall, was thrust into the spotlight when an official attempted to drag her out of the Boston Marathon, solely because she was a woman. The incident forever changed Switzer's life, igniting her sense of justice and commitment to advocating for women's sports. Another student of that era, singer-songwriter Garland Jeffreys '65, followed his love of art history to a semester abroad in Florence and had what he calls a "life-changing experience." Europe became a part of his life and a mainstay in his musical career that he continues to enjoy today.

Of course, Switzer and Jeffreys aren't alone among alumni who left the University with new visions for their lives ahead of them. While not everyone experiences a transformational moment during college, many who do realize it was a step in a new and different direction, away from the ordinary and routine, that captivated their attention and sparked the change. You never know when self-discovery will occur, but when it does, it can lead to the ride of a lifetime.

Jay Cox, Editor