Syracuse University Magazine

Chancellor's Message

Chancellor CantorFor a university whose hallmark long has been deep engagement with the world, milestones have to reach epic proportions to be considered historic, but this fall we’ve already seen our share, including the record-setting success of our $1 billion fund-raising campaign and an extraordinary on-campus summit for world peace featuring His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The message the Dalai Lama shared over his two-day summit continues to resonate in our hearts and minds: To achieve world peace, we must recognize and honor our common humanity, and we all must be accountable for assuring one another’s happiness and well-being.

It wasn’t long before that message took on new urgency, as the Tri-State area—home to so many members of the SU family—faced the ravaging effects of Superstorm Sandy. The devastation across the region was heart-wrenching, but true to form, the SU community mobilized to send needed supplies to the storm-stricken area and raise funds for long-term relief efforts. It was also a poignant reminder of two powerful truths: We are more interconnected today than ever before. And we will only surmount the great challenges of the day by working together, collaborating in common purpose as never before.

That message, too, couldn’t be more timely. For like other universities nationwide, we face serious challenges of our own today—challenges relating to affordability, access, and how universities can best fulfill their roles as a public good. The good news—great news—is that the unprecedented success of the campaign positions us more strongly than ever to meet these challenges and to sustain and build upon our already-powerful forward momentum.

Maintaining that momentum in today’s challenging higher education climate is absolutely vital. That we are positioned to do so gives me some peace of mind, personally, as I plan to conclude my tenure as Chancellor when my contract ends in June 2014, after a decade of leading this remarkable place of opportunity and excellence. There is much work yet to be done, and I am sprinting to the finish line, but the success of our campaign is like a wind at our back as we plan for SU’s future.

Today more than ever, universities must be nimble and agile, responsive to the shifting and multifaceted needs of our students, communities, nation, and world. At SU we’re doing that by:
●    Extending our footprint in key geographies nationwide;
●    Launching interdisciplinary centers to address critical challenges of the day, such as aging, biomaterials, public health, and more;
●    Expanding our presence in the world, including a full academic home in the heart of Manhattan;
●    Continuing to build out our infrastructure of engagement to address pressing local-global concerns—like climate change, urban revitalization, entrepreneurship support, and urban school reform.

In these and so many other ways, SU is rising to the occasion, as it has consistently throughout its history. And we must continue to stride forward, strongly and confidently, along the two-way streets where we tackle the critical issues of the day in partnerships with others, advancing scholarship, and making a difference in the world. If we do this together, SU will continue to find success as it always has because, as the Dalai Lama so powerfully stated—and the impact of the storm so poignantly underscored—we are at our best and strongest when we unite in shared humanity around common purpose.