Steve Sartori
O'Rourke

Staying Connected

With more than 210,000 SU alumni worldwide, alumni worldwide, our daily lives seem to be filled with many familiar SU connections: the orange and blue sweatshirt you spot at your child’s sports game or your office coworker with whom you once crossed paths on the Quad. These days, if you’re looking for SU alumni, you don’t have to look far.

From our recently published alumni directory to our extensive online community, the Office of Alumni Relations offers a number of easy ways to help you maintain those important connections to the University and to each other. Many alumni take advantage of SU’s Center for Career Services, where a wide range of resources is available for alumni and current students (students.syr.edu/ careerservices). Last year, the center assisted more than 500 alumni with career exploration and placement.

Another important way you can remain connected with fellow SU alumni and current students is by serving as a career mentor. Presently, we are in need of alumni volunteers to help students explore career options. As a mentor, you can help by providing career-related information and advice to students and alumni alike. To register online, visit students.syr.edu/careerservices/alumni/ccn-form.htm or contact the Center for Career Services at
315-443-3616. Consider strengthening your SU connection by becoming a mentor
.

Lil Breul OíRourke í77

Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations

 

 

 

Daily Orange
Turns 100

Over the past century, The Daily Orange has influenced the way journalism is practiced on college campuses throughout the country, and its alumni have gone on to become influential members of the media worldwide. In honor of the DO’s 100th anniversary, join the Daily Orange Alumni Association the weekend of September 20 for a festive celebration that will include a gala dinner, speakers, and panel discussions. For more information, visit the alumni association’s web site at alumni.dailyorange.com,
e-mail 100years@alumni.dailyorange.com, or call Stephen Cohen, Daily Orange Alumni Association president, at 212-786-4398.

 


Attention
ROTC Alumni

Ever wonder where your fellow Army or Air Force ROTC classmates are now? Become a member of the new Syracuse University ROTC Alumni Association and find out. For more information or to join, contact Captain Michael Bianchi in the Department of Military Science at 315-443-9223,
e-mail mabianch@syr.edu, or visit sumweb.syr.edu/armyrotc/.

 


FOR INFORMATION ON ALUMNI TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES, contact Tina Casella in the Office of Alumni Relations at 1-800-SUALUMS or e-mail cscasell@syr.edu.

 

Join the Club

WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO GET INVOLVED with your local alumni club. Clubs participate in a variety of activities, including game-watching events, networking opportunities, new student recruiting, and community service projects.

Visit the Office of Alumni Relations web site at:
www.syracuse.edu/alumni

The programs link on our home page will take you to the club pages. There you will find a complete listing of all our regional and specialty clubs, as well as the club contactís name, phone number, and e-mail address. For information on the club nearest you, contact the person listed or call the Office of Alumni Relations at 1-800-782-5867.

Staying in Touch
If you want information on:
• Alumni events
• The SU Alumni Online Community
• The SU alumni club in your area
Visit the Office of Alumni Relations web site at www.syracuse.edu/alumni and click on the appropriate link, or call 1-800-SUALUMS (782-5867)

Courtesy of Sheila and Jeff Pitt ’91

Steve Sartori

At top, Jeff Pitt ’91 and wife, Sheila, relived their engagement on the Kissing Bench on their wedding day in October 1997. Above, the Kissing Bench has been a part of the SU campus since 1912, when it was presented as a class gift.

On a cold, snowy January evening in 2000, Brian Eden ’00 escorted Megan Stull ’00 to the Kissing Bench on the SU Quad. He seated her on an orange and blue SU cushion, knelt, and proposed marriage. “I wanted to get engaged on campus because our whole experience there was so special,” he says. “And what better place to propose than on the Kissing Bench.” Eden and Stull, who married in May 2002, are among countless alumni couples who forged their futures together with a visit to the SU landmark. The smooth stone structure sits between the Hall of Languages and the Tolley Administration Building and holds within its small frame a host of fond memories and evolving traditions.

In the 1950s, it was said that a woman kissed on the bench would avoid the risk of becoming a spinster and spending her life alone. The tradition changed in the 1970s, mandating that a woman must be kissed on the bench to graduate and marry. Today, tradition holds that if a man and woman kiss while sitting on the bench, they will eventually marry. “No one seems to know how, when, or by whom the tradition of the Kissing Bench started,” says Mary O’Brien, assistant archivist in SU’s archives and records management department.

The Class of 1912 had quite a different idea when it dedicated the stone bench. The first class to ever present a memorial to the school, it hoped to begin a tradition of graduating classes leaving behind similar gifts that would add to the beauty of the campus. While class memorials are still dedicated today, it is the romance of the Kissing Bench tradition that has remained firmly connected to the landmark for close to a century.

Blaine De Lancey ’79, G’81, a recorder/advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences, has become familiar with many campus traditions during his more than two decades at SU and says it’s easy for them to develop around landmarks that have stood the test of time. “There aren’t many things on campus that have remained as unchanged from year to year as the Kissing Bench,” he says. “There is a certain sense of normalcy and familiarity about it.” Except for the engraved date, which has faded from the back of the bench, the appearance of the Kissing Bench has stayed practically the same. In 1912, the bench was surrounded by shrubbery and, at one time, sheltered by a huge tree. Today, a smaller tree shades the stone seat, inviting passersby to sit and relax. According to De Lancey, the location of the bench—a high-traffic area on the Quad—causes more people to notice it and keeps the tradition going.

Jeff Pitt ’91 was engaged to his wife, Sheila, on the bench seven years ago. While working in the College of Arts and Sciences Visitors Center, Sheila enjoyed telling people about the Kissing Bench. She says tour guides often point out the landmark and tell the story to visitors because it personalizes the campus and makes the bench unique. “SU is not just a place with beautiful buildings—there are stories and folklore surrounding the campus that people can relate to,” she says. “These traditions are the links that connect current students, prospective students, and alumni to one another.”

—Kate Gaetano

 

Courtesy of Matterhorn Travel
Courtesy of Nancy Edwards ’57, G’64
Above, Nancy Edwards ’57, G’64
and husband Donald Edwards ’56
modeled hats they purchased for their
grandsons at the Stonewall Jackson
Museum in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Retracing American History
The Battle of Bull Run marked the start of the Civil War and the beginning of a tour sponsored by the Syracuse University Alumni Association called “This Hallowed Ground: A Patriotic Journey Through the Civil War.” The battlefield, located in Manassas, Virginia, was the first stop on an eight-day excursion that examined the causes of the conflict and included the war’s major battlefield sites. Next, the group traveled through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley on to Pennsylvania, where one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War took place at Gettysburg. “One night we dined at a house built in 1815 that sits right on the Gettysburg battlefield,” says Carol Green ’58. “We were able to look out the attic window over the street where the Confederates had fired upon Union soldiers coming into town—it was both fascinating and saddening.”

Julien Kien ’57 says Gettysburg was one of the most impressive sites on the tour. “The battlefield is still well preserved and lends itself to an easy understanding of what took place there,” he says. For Joan Chapman ’53, visiting nearby Pickett’s Charge—where 10,000 men were killed in less than an hour—made a lasting impression. “Walking through the battlefield brought the terrible tragedy of the war to life for me,” she says.

The group journeyed back to Virginia, where one-third of the Civil War battles took place. In Petersburg, alumni visited the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, where they selected a “comrade” from a group of soldiers. Using personal audio devices, they toured the gallery while listening to words their comrade had written in his diary and letters. At the end of the tour, they learned the soldier’s fate. “The tour gave us a detailed look at the conditions the soldiers faced and personalized the experience,” says Nancy Edwards ’57, G’64, who, along with husband Donald Edwards ’56, has traced their family histories back to relatives who served in the war.

Costumed re-enactors, eager to talk about life in the antebellum South, greeted alumni at the Tudor Hall Plantation in Petersburg. The group viewed a multimedia exhibit on slavery and toured a working kitchen and two slave quarters. Then they moved on to the Berkeley Plantation for an authentic plantation dinner on the James River.

There is still a perceptible energy in the parlor of the McLean House, just outside the town of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. During the last stop in the tour, alumni visited the house and viewed the original black horsehair sofa and walnut grandfather clock that remain frozen in time, exactly as they were the day General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. “To be in the same room where Grant and Lee once sat and agreed to end the conflict is very moving,” says historian Al Shine, who provided educational sessions to alumni each morning. “Many have seen movies or read books about the Civil War,” he says, “but only by visiting the grounds—by seeing and experiencing what you had previously only read about—can you truly understand that period in history.”

—Kate Gaetano

 

 
 

Alumni Happenings

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1. Last March, SU faculty and staff attended the Han Lecture in Seoul, South Korea. The lecture, sponsored by the Maxwell School and Yonsei University in Seoul, is named after Pyo-Wook Han ’42 (fourth from left), former Korean ambassador to the United States. Joining the group was South Korea’s new prime minister Goh Kun (center), who holds a photo of himself and Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw taken when Kun was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2001. Pictured left to right: Woo Jung Sok, sister-in-law of Han; Peter Koveos, School of Management professor; Lil O’Rourke ’77, associate vice president for alumni relations; Han; Kun; Jim O’Connor, senior director of international development at SU; Emily Robertson G’81, School of Education interim dean; Kim Kyung Hwa, translator to the prime minister; and Jongwoo Han, Maxwell professor.
2. Class of 1992 alumni cheered on the SU basketball team at the Boston College game in the Carrier Dome. Pictured left to right: Richard Reich, Evan Cohen, Scott Wolfson, and Mitch Hassenbein.
3. George Hyder ’73 shows off his Syracuse orange pride on his Virginia state license plates.
4. Members of the Hilton Head Alumni Club enjoy their annual sunset dinner cruise.
5. SU alumni and friends set sail for a Caribbean cruise in February. Pictured left to right, standing: Marjorie Dunbar, James Dunbar ’64, Don Hunt ’60, Donna Hunt, Theresa Mychajlonka. Seated: Jennifer Wood, Dr. Charles Bishop ’42, G’44, Dr. Beverly Bishop ’44, Anita Van Patten.
Photos courtesy of the Office of Alumni Relations.

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Advancing Microwave Engineering

As chairman of the board of Herley Industries Inc., Lee N. Blatt ’51 has no illusions about his line of work. The microwave technology company, which he founded in 1965, is a worldwide leader in the production of sophisticated military and commercial aerospace equipment.


“I’m in the ‘worry business,’” says Blatt, a University trustee. “Worry and uncertainty drive defense budgets, and defense—or war, as they used to call it—is the business I’m in.”

The son of Eastern European immigrants, Blatt was born and raised in Brooklyn, where he attended public schools. Enlisting in the Navy, he discovered microwave technology while training to be a radar and electronics technician. The Navy also gave him the means to study engineering at Syracuse by qualifying him for veteran’s benefits under the GI Bill of Rights. “The GI Bill was one of the greatest things that ever happened to America,” he says. “It allowed a whole generation of people to get an education. Many of us, including me, were the first in our families to go to college.”

As a trustee, Blatt is focusing his efforts on advancing engineering education at SU. “It’s great to see the success that is being achieved in environmental engineering,” he says, “and we need to cultivate more pockets of excellence.” Blatt is working with fellow Trustee John Breyer, who is president and CEO of MI Industries, an Atlanta-based company that, like Herley, is a dominant player in the microwave field. “We hope to improve the University’s resources and capabilities in microwave engineering,” he says.

Blatt’s other SU activities include memberships in the Society of Fellows, the Dave Bing Club, and the Chancellor’s Council. He and his wife, Sydelle (Syd) Schnall Blatt ’51, who were married at the end of their junior year on the Hill, now divide their time between Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and their winter home in Vero Beach, Florida. While both were “first-generation” college students (see related story), the couple seem to have started a family tradition. The family now boasts three generations of Syracuse alumni and students: two daughters, Kathi Blatt Thonet ’73 and Randi Blatt Rossignol ’76; a son-in-law, John A. Thonet ’72; and two granddaughters, Hannah B. Thonet ’03 and Rebecca B. Thonet ’05.

A self-described cynic (“It comes with the territory in the defense industry,” he says), Blatt enjoys telling this cautionary anecdote about his profession: “Someone asked Albert Einstein, ‘What weapons will be used to fight World War III?’ ‘I don’t know,’ Einstein replied. ‘But regardless of which weapons they use for World War III, I can say with some certainty that rocks and clubs will be used to fight World War IV.’”

—David Marc

Lawyers’ Advocate

Patricia Bucklin G’78 loves a challenge, and that’s exactly what she got when she was appointed the first female executive director of the New York State Bar Association.

“With 70,000 members, the member-services organization is the largest voluntary state bar association in the country. It provides attorneys with numerous services, including state-mandated continuing education courses, specialized publications, and research assistance. The association also serves as an advocate for the profession and the public, initiating programs to address a broad range of issues from child abuse to governmental corruption to the cost of justice. “We advance the law by being the voice of this profession,” Bucklin says. “We play an important role in improving the administration of justice, reforming the law, and contributing to legal issues.”

Since assuming her position in 2001, Bucklin has been responsible for the association’s extensive operation and a staff of 120 headquartered in Albany. She works closely with the association’s officers and governing bodies on numerous issues that impact the legal profession in New York. These issues have included efforts to urge the state legislature to enact a rate increase—the first in 15 years—for attorneys providing legal services to the indigent as assigned counsel. The association’s aim is to have the current rates—$25 per hour for out-of-court time and $40 per hour in court—increased to $60 per hour for misdemeanor representation and $75 per hour for family court and more serious felony-level criminal matters. “The association has worked on this issue for several years,” says Bucklin, who sees the rate increase as a top priority. “Everyone realizes the rates are extremely low, and this affects the quality of work, as well as the pool of attorneys willing to accept assigned cases.”

Bucklin credits her College of Law education with helping her succeed in the profession. After law school, she worked for the New York State Court of Appeals, ultimately becoming deputy consultation clerk to the court’s judges. That position prepared her for a post as assistant counsel in 1983 with the New York State Governor’s Office, and then as first assistant counsel, where she advised then-Governor Mario Cuomo on legal and policy issues. From there she moved on to an 11-year tenure with the New York State Office of Court Administration, as special counsel to the chief administrator of the courts, and later as director of public affairs, where she managed staff operations before becoming executive director of the state bar association. “I’ve worked for some giants,” Bucklin says,“and all of that experience has served as a tremendous foundation for this job.”

—Lisa Miles

Environmental Action

Joseph Clore ’72, G’74 vividly remembers a time when he, along with other Vietnam War protesters, packed the SU Quad so tightly that no one could move.

During this time of civil unrest, debates raged both inside and outside of his history and political science classes, and he recalls how white students and black students came together on such issues as civil rights and opposition to the war. “It was a very exciting time to be on any college campus,” he says. “It was a different type of mood back then.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Arts and Sciences and an M.P.A. degree from the Maxwell School, Clore first incorporated his activism into his professional career as an investigator for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. His team enforced several federal civil rights laws that ensured equal access to education and prohibited discrimination based on race, color, gender, and disability in programs that received financial assistance from the Department of Education. After 12 years with the Department of Education, Clore shifted his professional focus to the environment, when he accepted a position with the Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, in lower Manhattan in 1989. “The EPA has an agenda that a majority of the nation supports—protecting the environment,” says Clore, now a records management analyst in Region 2’s Division of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance. “It’s not a glamorous job, but the work has to be done.”

Clore handles citizens’ complaints about safety issues in urban areas, such as abandoned air-conditioning units and hazardous waste that has been dumped on property, emitted into the air, or discharged into water. “Some of these issues EPA has authority over, and some must be referred to the states,” he says. “We can explain to people what to do, and what we’re allowed to do for them.” He also works on improving public awareness of environmental issues regarding storm water, dry cleaners, and auto salvage yards.

Outside of work, Clore always finds time to reconnect with friends from SU. He looks forward to attending Coming Back Together (CBT) reunions, and has yet to miss one. At CBT VII last fall, he moderated the Teens of Color workshop. “It’s rewarding to see old friends at CBT,” he says. “The campus changes so much, and every time I come back I see someone I haven’t seen in years. I always look forward to that one person.”

—Cori Bolger

Rebuilding a War-Torn Nation

When U.S. Army Major Edmund “Ed” Luzine ’86 was called up for active military duty last year, he put his civilian life on hold and spent 10 months in such countries as Kuwait, Qatar, and Afghanistan helping fight the war on terror.

Even when Luzine was stationed at a bombed-out hangar at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, he says he was never frightened. “I volunteered at Ground Zero and had an up-close and personal view of the devastation,” Luzine says. “So, I believed I was doing the right thing as an Army officer, New Yorker, and American.”

While overseas, Luzine was part of a Civil Affairs unit of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command that helped the war effort by planning reconstruction projects. “We are the people who bring goodwill,” Luzine says. “We are the ambassadors.” He says one of his biggest challenges was adapting to the desert climate and daytime temperatures that reached 131 degrees. “It’s like putting your head in an oven when it’s turned on to full broil,” he says.

Luzine completed his overseas tour last September and remained on active duty, stationed in Maryland, until the end of 2002. Being back in the states, however, gave him time to focus on his work as president and CEO of Adirondack Capital Management, an investment firm based in Albany, New York, that he founded and owns. Balancing his business career with his military obligations can be difficult, but often proves interesting. “Both are fast-paced jobs,” he says. “But each one serves as a great change of pace.”

The juggling act is nothing new for Luzine. At SU, he was a member of the Army ROTC program while he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the College of Arts and Sciences. After graduation, he continued his education and busy lifestyle, serving part-time as a lieutenant in the Army Reserves while working on an M.B.A. degree from the University of Rochester.

Looking back, Luzine says SU helped prepare him for his overseas mission by giving him opportunities in the ROTC program and by exposing him to people from around the world. “SU has such a diverse student body,” he says. “You learn so much about international students and the world.”

—Lisa Miles

Fashion Trend-Setter

According to the Houston Chronicle, many of the best-dressed women in Texas can be seen about town in clothing designed by Toni Whitaker ’77.

Essence magazine lauds her garments for their “elegance, simplicity, and old-fashioned workmanship.” Black Enterprise magazine notes the success of Toni Whitaker Inc., her apparel manufacturing business, as well as the Toni Whitaker Boutique, one of the smartest shops in Houston’s trend-setting Rice Village. When the Houston Ebony Opera Guild staged a new production of Puccini’s La Boheme to be set in 1920s Harlem, the director turned to Whitaker for period costume designs.

Whitaker, a native of Camden, South Carolina, is not shy about the role SU played in her personal evolution from a childhood in a segregated community in the South to the artistic and entrepreneurial success she now enjoys in one of America’s biggest cities. “Syracuse gave me a whole new look at the world, at life, and at people,” she says. “It was what I wanted and I loved it. My parents had wanted me to go to an all-black college, but I wanted to study design, and that was not really happening in those schools. I came to SU for orientation weekend and got to know people and saw the campus. For me, it was the best of all worlds.”

Whitaker received a B.S. degree in clothing studies from the College for Human Development. (Now known as “fashion design,” the program has since become part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.) She then earned a second B.S. degree, in textile technology, at North Carolina State University. In 1982, after teaching for a year at Arizona State University, she moved to Houston.

As if her duties as businesswoman, commercial clothing designer, and costumer aren’t enough to keep her occupied, Whitaker still finds time to teach. She has offered courses at the University of Houston and other area institutions on everything from visual merchandising to the history of costume and clothing design. Her costuming work for Houston Ebony Opera Guild and other theater troupes provides good synergy for her commercial work as well. “The theater is where I get my edge,” Whitaker says. “If I had not started costuming plays, my other designs would be a little bit more ordinary, a little more department store-like. I can let my imagination run wild on the stage, and then I can pull it back and use the experience for what’s required in retail work.”

—David Marc

Freedom of Musical Expression

From muted beginnings in China, Xun Pan’s musical career as a concert pianist has crescendoed into an expression of his artistic and political freedoms. Raised by his grandparents in Shanghai during Mao Tse-tung’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Pan G’92 began his study of piano without touching a key.

His parents, both piano teachers at Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, had been sent to labor camps to be “re-educated,” and Western music and instruments like the piano were banned. But his grandmother taught him the basics of music theory and reading piano music. When he was 9, his parents returned from the work camp, determined to pass on their musical skills to their son. His mother covered the windows and doors, held down the piano’s soft pedal, and made him quietly practice Mozart sonatas and Chopin etudes. “Music never stopped in China, even during those years,” Pan says. “People still played and practiced secretly.”

In 1977, when the Cultural Revolution was over, the Central Conservatory reopened and Pan became one of 14 student pianists selected from more than 1,000 applicants to study there. Although hours of daily practice initially seemed like eternity, by age 15, Pan loved spending time perfecting advanced pieces and competing with peers. He graduated from the conservatory with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and, for the next several years, taught piano and participated in competitions across the globe, winning prizes in China, North Korea, and Chile.

In 1987, he met then Setnor School of Music director George Pappastavrou, who invited him to attend the graduate program at Syracuse University. But it wasn’t until after Pan was involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations in Beijing that he took advantage of Pappastavrou’s offer. “I was really disappointed with what happened, so I decided to leave China,” Pan says. He arrived in Syracuse in fall 1990 and—despite language barriers that he eventually overcame—completed a master’s degree in piano performance in two years. “My experience in Syracuse was unforgettable,” says Pan, who returns to Central New York each year to visit friends.

After graduating from SU, he earned a doctoral degree in musical arts from Rutgers University in 1996. While there, he joined with violinist Michael Jamanis and cellist Sara Male to form the Newstead Trio. The chamber group has played such venues as Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York City and major concert halls in North America, Europe, and Asia. This year, the trio hopes to record its fourth album in China, accompanied by the China Philharmonic. Pan juggles Newstead Trio performances with his responsibilities as a faculty member and head of the piano department at the Pennsylvania Academy of Music in Lancaster and as a visiting professor at China Conservatory of Music in Beijing.

“Playing chamber music is such a luxury,” Pan says. “When I play solo now, I have so much more space to use my imagination. I play more expressively than I did in China. You have to make yourself free before you make music.”

—Margaret Costello

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