Syracuse University Magazine

Chancellor's Message


Home and Away

It has been an exciting fall semester here in Syracuse. We marked the opening and dedication of Dineen Hall, the spectacular new home for the College of Law, and of the Dick Clark Studio and Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation at Newhouse 2. Presiding over the studio dedication was Oprah Winfrey, who added real star power to the event and was incredibly gracious in her remarks about the Newhouse School and the Newhouse family. We also hosted another successful Coming Back Together reunion and marked the 90th anniversary of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

These last six weeks I also have spent a lot of time on the road visiting alumni. I have made stops in Boston; Morristown, New Jersey; Philadelphia; New York; Atlanta; San Francisco; Los Angeles; and Washington, D.C. It has been a whirlwind, but these trips have reminded me again how Syracuse University is everywhere and how passionately Syracuse alumni bleed Orange.

 I have learned a lot during my time both on campus and on the road. I have especially come to appreciate the wonderful ethic of humility and ambition that is so idiosyncratically Syracuse and a big part of what has made it so great. It is an ethic that inspires the best and does not shrink from challenges and taking risks to evolve with the times. That is a tremendous asset and one that I believe we must capitalize on, because, as I shared with many of you during my travels, the higher education landscape is changing rapidly and dramatically.

This fall, faculty, students, alumni, and staff have been working hard to prepare for those changes through the University’s planning initiative, Fast Forward Syracuse. The initiative encompasses a Strategic Plan, focusing on academics; a Campus Master Plan, to guide decisions about infrastructure needs; and an Operational Excellence Program, to enhance effectiveness and efficiencies and generate resources for priorities. The overarching goal is to chart the way forward on a course that positions us to be stronger and better than ever. The process has already generated a lively campus dialogue, an indicator of just how much the campus community cares about the University and its future.

I want Syracuse to be the university that does not avoid change but does change right—and does it the Syracuse way. It is pretty remarkable the change that is coming at us in terms of student demographics and enrollment, in technology, and the need to significantly control tuition costs, to name just a few areas. We need to act boldly to thrive in this extraordinarily shifting landscape. Syracuse has a history of seizing the day, of proving itself capable of innovation and emerging stronger than ever. I am confident we will continue to do so.

What I have heard time and again from our alumni, both on a daily basis and on my city-to-city tours, is that you care deeply about the University and want to do whatever you can to help it get even stronger. You already do so much. I urge you to continue to help us recruit the kind of students who personify the Syracuse spirit—scrappy, unentitled, bright students who want to excel and are willing to work hard to do so. Become mentors and networkers for our students and graduates. And—always—do not hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas with me. Syracuse would not be the great place it is without you, and it will not get to where it needs to go without your help. I am so grateful that you all bleed Orange.


Kent Syverud

Chancellor and President