Syracuse University Magazine

Chancellor's Message


We celebrated the best of Syracuse University during the inauguration here on April 11.  Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community all stepped up cheerfully on a bright and happy day. It started with more than 400 of us running in orange on a 1.2-mile course through campus, included wonderful faculty and student presentations, and ended with the formal ceremony in Hendricks Chapel.

In Hendricks, we heard from Boris Gresely ’15, Student Association president; Oren Lyons ’58, H’93, faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation and a chief of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, the Haudenosaunee, “People of the Longhouse”; Suzanne Baldwin, Michael G. and Susan T. Thonis Professor of Earth Sciences; Renée Schine Crown ’50, H’84, Life Trustee of Syracuse University; retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; and Richard Thompson G’67, chairman of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees.

In my own remarks, I identified four important areas of focus as we move forward:

First, I believe we must enhance undergraduate education and every aspect of the undergraduate experience. That begins with building an unrivaled College of Arts and Sciences. The college is the heart of the liberal arts experience here at Syracuse and home to the largest number of undergraduates. Syracuse has long been, and I hope forever will be, a university that attracts unentitled people. It is a place that opens its doors to students, whether they be middle class or rich or poor, who crave knowledge and are willing to work hard. Building a distinctive, broad, and deep program across the liberal arts and sciences will help us attract the best unentitled, scrappy, and engaged students in the world and prepare them to thrive after graduation. We also need to enhance their daily living experience, including where they live, eat, work, study, and interact with one another and with faculty.

Second, we need to empower research excellence. I believe we do that by working collaboratively across disciplines, faculties, departments, and schools. Syracuse has great faculty who already are committed to interdisciplinary research. Institutional investment in programs that strategically target areas of need and opportunity will further enhance such efforts and advance our standing as a great private research university.

Third, we must embrace change, because with change comes opportunity. We need to take risks, embrace the entrepreneurial spirit that has already shaped Syracuse in profound ways, and move nimbly. We cannot aim high if all we are doing are the same things that better endowed and resourced peers are doing. We must act boldly, as we did when we embraced global studies ahead of our peers and when we set a national precedent in welcoming a record number of returning World War II GIs when almost all our peers turned their backs on them. These and other distinctive points of pride show how Syracuse can get ahead by embracing the right change and nimbly pursuing it.

Finally, I believe we must once again become the best place for veterans. We have done it before, and we have the resources to do it again. Building on the work of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, we have an unrivaled capacity to bring to bear our expertise in the professions, disability studies, entrepreneurship and information, and the arts and sciences to empower opportunity for those who have served our country and their families.

If we integrate these four ideas into our aims over the next 10 years, I believe we will become a greater University. We will be a place that empowers students to achieve their highest potential and to make a distinctive difference in the world after graduation. I am deeply honored to be a part of such important work.


Kent Syverud

Chancellor and President