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Steve Sartori

Creating Lifelong Connections

I’m happy to announce the Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) is embarking on a stronger, more focused initiative to support and engage our future alumni—our current students—with the goal of encouraging their lifelong participation in and commitment to Syracuse University. Over the years, our staff has enjoyed collaborating with students at such celebrations as Homecoming, Winter Carnival, and the Syracuse Welcome, SU’s orientation week for new students, and through projects with student organizations like the Traditions Commission. Now we are building on that experience to develop a broader outreach program to involve both current students and recent graduates.

Our new executive director of on-campus programs, Ellen King, takes on this challenge as one of her chief responsibilities. Ellen, who comes to us from the Division of Student Affairs, will work with our colleagues across the University on this new initiative. She will also collaborate with OAR’s executive director of off-campus programs, Tim Mahar, to create the wide variety of events and opportunities that will allow the whole SU family to connect. 

We are already working with students on plans for Homecoming 2007, and they are looking forward to interacting with you, our alumni. For the first time ever, we are uniting Reunion and Homecoming, so the entire Orange family can take part in one festive celebration. We hope you will be part of the SU connection by joining us October 11-14 for this exciting University-wide collaboration. Come and renew your ties with SU and connect with classmates, fellow alumni, faculty, and students. Enjoy campus-wide programming from artistic performances and academic sessions to the ever-popular Homecoming parade, pep rally, and bonfire. For more information on what we have planned, visit (see related story below).

Write or call to let us know you are interested in becoming more connected. We’ll help you find the opportunity that best suits you. It’s easy; just e-mail us at or call us at 800-SUALUMS. We’re here and we’re ready to connect!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best Regards

Andrea Latchem
Assistant Vice President, Alumni Relations                                   

Courtesy of Syracuse University Archives

Traditions »

Jabberwocky: Memories of a Musical Showplace

Before the Talking Heads were “burning down the house” and Bonnie Raitt was “something to talk about,” they funked-it-out at one of the hippest clubs north of New York City’s CBGB: Jabberwocky on the SU campus. It was the place to hang at SU from 1969 to 1985—a platform for emerging and well-known local, regional, and national musicians, and a space for students to grab a cold one. When Jabberwocky opened in May 1969 with a concert by blues greats John Hammond and Junior Wells, it was billed as a small student union with a snack bar and an entertainment center in the basement of Kimmel Dining Hall. But the spot became much more. David Rezak, now director of the Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries and music industry professor, was an area booking agent who scheduled many artists at “the Jab” in the 1970s. “Jabberwocky was not only a fun hang, but it did some important things musically,” Rezak says. “It showcased a mix of music, and it had a certain hipness about it.”

A University Union enterprise, Jabberwocky opened as a much-needed student activities center. Along with scheduled performances, the Jab held open mic nights. Mitchel C. Resnick ’76 played guitar and mandolin in a set with several classmates. “It wasn’t quite a concert hall, but it was more than a coffee shop,” Resnick says. “People went there to study, talk, and play music. It had a free-spirit feeling.” For being a happening place, the Jab wasn’t much to look at with its concrete interior. Before he played open mic night, Resnick brought in color in 1973, spending the next 2 1/2 years painting 17, 10-foot-tall panels depicting characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, which includes the nonsensical poem “Jabberwocky,” the Jab’s namesake.

© Mitchel Resnick
Jabberwocky’s interior was highlighted by paintings of characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. At left, Freddie Lawrence of the Cross Creek Band plays keyboard at the Jabberwocky in 1974.

The Mad Hatter and Alice’s tea party became part of the backdrop for a long list of blues, jazz, pop, punk, and rock performers who trekked to the Syracuse venue. Eric Onore, a manager of Jabberwocky between 1973 and 1976, worked with students to program and promote the events. “There was a certain amount of oversight by the University, but, creatively, we were able to do what we wanted,” Onore says. James Taylor, Jackson Browne, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Cyndi Lauper, Taj Mahal, and Del-Lords were among the acts that took the stage.

Jabberwocky’s relationship with SU’s WAER-FM helped draw bands to the club. “WAER was a hip college station that would play their records, and it reported to Billboard magazine,” Rezak says. “Plus, it’s only 200 miles from New York City. It was a great place to ‘wood shed’—work out the bugs in the act.” The Jab also scored with culturally important artists. One of Rezak’s favorite performances was by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. “They were living icons of the Delta blues,” he says. For Onore, the ultimate Jabberwocky performance was jazz musician Charles Mingus. “He was such a giant in the jazz world,” Onore says. “It was phenomenal to have him in a club like ours.”

The Jab continued to be a hot spot through the early 1980s for students and community members, but it was plagued by financial insolvency and closed in 1985. The last days vibrated with soul and funk: James Brown performed, followed the next night by Bernie Worrell and Friends, with former members of Parliament-Funkadelic. Along with memories, Resnick’s character murals, which he obtained, are some of the Jab’s only remnants. In 2003, the Jabberwocky Café opened in the basement of the Schine Student Center, an homage to the original Jab. “Jabberwocky was a comfortable, safe place, but it had an edge,” Onore says. “There was nothing like it in the area.”

Rainbow Banquet Honors LGBT Community Members

The fifth annual Rainbow Banquet and Reunion, celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community of SU and the greater Syracuse area, was held at the end of April on one of the year’s first warm days. The long-awaited change in the weather reflected the event’s resonating theme for many in attendance. “It is no exaggeration to say this event would not be possible 30, 20, or 10 years ago,” says Amit Taneja, assistant director of the LGBT Resource Center. “We are here because of real heroes who do lots of little big things that have a huge impact.”

Honoring the achievements of those making strides in the LGBT community is the crux of the banquet, but not the only focus. “This is always a celebratory, fun event,” says Adrea Jaehnig, the center’s director. “The room has the feel of a really strong community—and not just among LGBT people. There are many straight allies and friends there as well.”

Twenty alumni returned for the banquet, which was attended by 300 students, faculty, staff, community members, and parents. The event included an address from Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Chancellor Nancy Cantor gave rainbow-colored cords to all graduating students to wear at Commencement.

Foundation Awards, a tradition established at the first Rainbow Banquet in 2003, were presented in each of the following categories: outstanding undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty member, staff member, University department or organization, community member, youth community member, and alumnus. “We acknowledge the work individuals have done to improve the lives of LGBT people,” Jaehnig says.

Donna Rose ’81, a transsexual woman, received the alumni award. Rose, an educator and advocate of transsexuals and transgender rights, attended SU as David, a nationally recognized wrestler. “We live in a world where we shrug off courage,” Rose said at the event. “Being who you are—that in itself is a courageous thing. We need to appreciate that in ourselves and others.”

Alumni Clubs Help New Grads Land on Their Feet

Life after graduation can be a bit overwhelming, especially when moving to a new city. SU alumni clubs around the country help ease this process for recent graduates through annual Soft Landing events that introduce them to their new communities. “Soft Landing is a way for clubs to welcome new graduates and show them the good places to eat, where to take their dry cleaning, and where to find a local bank,” says Scott Setek ’90, G’92, associate director of alumni relations. “It helps make the transition easier. And it’s a great recruiting tool for the club, as well as a chance for grads to network with established alumni for jobs.”

Last June, for instance, the SU Alumni Club of Southern California (SUACSC) hosted a Soft Landing at the Beverly Hills Country Club. “We had a panel of alumni representing different professions who shared the ins and outs about living and working in L.A.,” says Susan Verrett ’92, SUACSC president. The club also set up tables where local vendors gave out information and offered discounts for their services. “It was a nice touch,” Setek says.

Members of the SU Alumni Club of New Hampshire (SUACNH) tried something a little different for their Soft Landing last July. They combined the event with the New Student Send-Off (an event for SU-bound first-year students) and won an outstanding club program award from the Office of Alumni Relations and SU Alumni Association.  “We took a unique approach because we were brand new and didn’t have the operating income to host the events separately,” says Laurie Storey-Manseau ’81, SUACNH president. Attendees enjoyed the summer day at a New Hampshire Fisher Cats minor league baseball game and cookout. Participants were honored on the field before the game, and one lucky attendee won a raffle earning the honor of throwing out the first pitch. “It was a positive opportunity, bringing two groups together who can work with and learn from each other,” Storey-Manseau says.

Mike Anderson ’06 attended the event with his sister, Melissa ’10, an incoming student. “It was a great way to network with alumni in the area and give incoming freshmen advice, while spending time with my family,” Anderson says. “It was a lot of fun and everything was taken care of for us. It was perfect.” Storey-Manseau says the response from the students, parents, and the community was encouraging. “I hope this is an event more and more clubs will establish and continue in the coming years,” Setek says.


Homecoming 2007 »

Return for Homecoming

Join us October 11-14 for a new twist on tradition—the inaugural event combining Homecoming and Reunion into one celebration! The best of both events is planned for Homecoming Weekend. This four-day weekend is open to all alumni, with special recognition for Reunion classes ending in 2 and 7—classes from 1937 to the recent graduates of 2007.

Highlights include the Half-Century Dinner; Golden Anniversary Event; academic and cultural programming; ’Cuse Commotion—featuring the parade, pep rally, and bonfire; Orange Friendzy, the pregame party on the Quad; and the Syracuse vs. Rutgers football game.

Visit for times and more events. Check out “Share Your Memories” and “Do You Remember,” where you can upload photos and relate what campus life was like during your years at SU. There will also be a blogging section so you can find out what’s happening on campus and hear from current students, staff, and local alumni. Most importantly, don’t forget to register and see who else is coming back!


Alumni Travel »

Enchanted by Italy



Sorrento’s sea cliffs (above) provided a dramatic view for visitors as part of an SU tour. At right, travelers also took in the sights of Orvieto.


For information on alumni travel opportunities,
contact Tina Casella
in the Office of
Alumni Relations
at 1-800-SUALUMS



Eager to begin her first trip to Italy, Terry Tomczak ’66 arrived in Sorrento a day earlier than the rest of the tour group. She spent that time walking through the streets of the seaside city, visiting small shops, and absorbing the breathtaking scenery overlooking the bay of Naples. “I just loved it,” says Tomczak, who remembers the late-October weather as perfect for sightseeing by foot. “It was unseasonably warm for Italy, which made it ideal for us.”

Syracuse University alumni and friends toured two of Italy’s most storied regions—Campania and Umbria—immersing themselves in Italian culture and history on the 10-night trip sponsored by the SU Alumni Association. Travelers marveled at sights from the blue-green waters surrounding the Isle of Capri to the narrow alleys and ancient architecture of Orvieto. They expanded their educational horizons at four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Assisi, and Florence.

For Kevin Weaver and his wife, friends of SU, this was their third trip with the University. Although he had traveled to Italy before, Weaver never visited these regions. One of the most memorable places for him was the historic city of Pompeii, buried by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. “I enjoyed seeing how well the city had been preserved,” Weaver says. “Seeing the ruts in the streets where the chariots had been was amazing.”

Aside from the enchanting daytrips, travelers reveled in two of Italy’s most famous commodities: food and wine. “The best thing about a trip to Italy is the food,” Weaver says. “You cannot get a bad meal in Italy.” Which is why Weaver says he and his wife didn’t bring home any souvenirs. “We ate or drank everything we bought!”


Alumni Happenings »

national orange day
Above: The Office of Alumni Relations commemorated SU’s 137th birthday in the Schine Student Center on Orange Day, March 23, with the annual cake-cutting ceremony and a service project. This year’s campus-wide project was collecting art supplies for the Syracuse City School District. alumni Indianapolis Left: Members of the SU Indianapolis Alumni Club volunteered their time for Habitat for Humanity in Indianapolis to help celebrate SU’s 137th birthday. Pictured, from left, are Mark Taylor ’92, Darin Young (friend), Bob Clemens ’69, and Juri Tults ’80.
  Peek Left: Nathan Peek ’95, a production coordinator in the design department at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., hosted a gallery tour for alumni last fall. The event was part of the Behind the Scenes series supported by the Syracuse University Arts Council of D.C.


Joan Nicholson ’71, G’89, G’99 »

For the Love of SU


Joan Nicholson’s blood might just be orange. A member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees, Nicholson has more connections to SU than Otto. A nutrition adjunct instructor in the College of Human Services and Health Professions, she is working on her fourth SU degree, serving on the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors, and is wife and mother to a family of SU alumni. “I can’t imagine the University not being in our lives,” says the Queens native and former Binghamton resident. “Being inducted as a trustee is really the highlight of my SU experience.”

Nicholson’s SU journey began almost by accident. When her boyfriend decided to go orange, Nicholson was not yet sold on following suit. Two years later, after a fair share of campus visits and sifting through acceptance letters from several schools, she joined her future husband at the University that would shape so much of her life. “It really did work out,” she says. “Even with all the opportunities for women that my generation opened the door to, nothing replaces the desire to have that good, solid relationship.” She found both at Syracuse, marrying longtime boyfriend Jack Nicholson ’69, and earning a bachelor’s degree in zoology, a master’s degree in nutritional science, and a certificate of advanced study in exercise science. She is currently focused on her doctoral dissertation in nutrition, drawing on 16 years of nutrition teaching experience and her work with the nutrition department faculty.

The three Nicholson daughters—JoAnna ’95, Julie ’99, and Jane ’04—found their way to SU. While they were never pressed to attend their parents’ alma mater, Nicholson says SU proved a perfect fit for each of her daughters. Family remains a priority for Nicholson, who is busier than ever. When not in the classroom, she works with Julie, who is a registered nurse, and her husband as a nutritional and gastrointestinal consultant in his medical practice. “We’ve grown into this,” she says. “It’s a great adventure.”

Nicholson’s sense of adventure follows her to the front of the classroom. “It’s an honor to teach here,” says Nicholson, who received the Excellence in Teaching Award from University College in May. “I enjoy the students and the academic intellectual exchange. It’s a wonderful environment.” Her passions for teaching and life seem infectious. “She shared so many real-life examples from her practice with us,” says Janet Pease ’78, G’81, former nutrition student and head of science and technology services at the SU Library. “This made the material much more accessible.” Other students found their lives changed by Nicholson’s classes. “Joan makes students understand there is no quick remedy for weight loss, just a long-term healthy lifestyle,” says University College student Roxanne Bocyck ’10. “Thanks to Joan, I am very aware of my eating habits and the importance of exercise. I lost 35 pounds, and I can definitely say Joan’s class has helped me to maintain my healthy choices.”

As a trustee, Nicholson plans to continue her service to the University. “I’m basically exploring and forging new territory here in what role I can play,” she says. “I’m anxious to utilize this opportunity in the best ways I can for the good of the University.”

Josh Young ’03 »

Rising Star


In an industry where many endure years of rejection and few ever succeed, Josh Young has achieved quick and convincing success since graduation, landing leading roles on national and international Broadway tours. Young was just three months out of school when he was cast as Marius, the romantic lead in a touring company production of Les Miserables, Broadway’s second longest running musical. “It was a dream role for me,” says Young, who earned a B.F.A. degree in musical theater from the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “The first show I ever saw that made me want to do musical theater was Les Mis.”

Word and song got out. During a tour break in 2005, Young accepted the leading role of Tony in the international touring cast of West Side Story. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Young says. Since returning to the States last summer, he has been busy reestablishing himself in New York, auditioning and doing workshops for new Broadway shows, and promoting his first CD, Josh Young.

Although success has come quickly, he has endured his share of struggle. Before arriving in Syracuse, he was overweight and typecast. Realizing he wanted a life on the stage as a leading man, Young shed 100 pounds in five months by running every day and limiting his daily diet to 1,200 calories. “I still run three miles a day to keep it off,” he says. Young’s renewed passion for the stage, coupled with new confidence and good health, propelled his budding career. “I was cast in roles that I had never thought I’d be cast in,” he says. “That really changed my life.”

Once at SU, Young faced new challenges. His professors would not let him rely solely on his voice—which has been described as “rich” and “powerful”—he needed to prove his acting. “They did me a really big favor by being very hard on me,” he says. The rigors of the VPA program paid off as Young honed his acting skills, appearing in Syracuse Stage productions of Songs for a New World and Oliver—experiences that prepared him for the wild world of New York theater, he says. “The opportunity to be in professional shows at Syracuse Stage was fantastic.”

With SU not far behind him and the next casting call not far ahead, Young looks forward to a lifetime of rehearsals and curtain calls. “It’s just something I love doing,” he says.

Ruben Honik ’77 »

Equal Before the Law


In the courtroom, Ruben Honik has battled corporate greed, consumer fraud, and environmental polluters. But ask him to name the most difficult part of his job, and he doesn’t hesitate. “The toughest part is working against the public perception that what we do as trial lawyers, representing plaintiffs, contributes to the ills of the business world and creates an excess of litigation,” says Honik, a Philadelphia-based attorney and president of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association.

Honik, who majored in religion in the College of Arts and Sciences, focuses much of his practice on holding companies accountable for the damaging effects of toxic discharges from manufacturing plants. He has gained a national reputation representing people who have suffered catastrophic injuries from chemical exposure, and his law firm, Golomb & Honik, provides expertise to other attorneys in the area of toxic tort litigation. In one recent case, he successfully represented a group of Pennsylvania residents who developed serious pulmonary problems as a result of exposure to beryllium, a powerful toxin discharged by a nearby plant. He also represented several plant workers who had become ill from beryllium exposure.

In a 2001 consumer fraud case, Honik won a national class-action lawsuit against an ultrasound training school that he says failed to provide students with marketable skills. The case resulted in the largest settlement of its kind against a national chain of trade schools. “Many of the students were people working to get their lives back on track,” he says. “And they were scammed out of $10,000, or $12,000, or $15,000. The gratitude they felt for righting that wrong was very rewarding professionally.”

The same values that drive Honik’s legal work—a belief in fair play and a desire to help those in need—motivate him in his private life. He heads the Northeast chapter of Jewish Solidarity, a nonprofit organization that fosters engagement with the Jewish community in Cuba, where Honik spent the first six years of his life. He has led numerous mission trips there, delivering food, nonprescription drugs, and other items scarce in the economically depressed country. And he has reconnected with his past, visiting his family’s former home and his grandfather’s old dry-goods store, both of which appeared virtually unchanged by time. “It was as though the country was in a time warp between 1957 and 1994,” he says.

Whether in Cuba or in the courtroom, Honik tries to model for his children, Sophie and Grace, the importance of looking out for others. “At the end of the day, what appeals to me most is bringing remedies to people who really need them,” he says. “We need to remind people about the importance of our civil justice system as the last and best forum for keeping the playing field level and allowing the smallest voice to be heard.” 

June Blackwell Hatcher ’74 »

Lessons from the Bench


Judge June Blackwell Hatcher is the first woman to serve on the bench of the Estates Division of the Wayne County (Michigan) Probate Court, one of the nation’s busiest. Appointed in 1992 to fill the term of a deceased justice, she has retained the elective post ever since. Blackwell Hatcher has always aimed high in life, but recalls a time when not everyone encouraged her to pursue lofty goals. “When I first met my college advisor, I told him I was interested in a Ph.D. in clinical psychology,” she says. “He looked at me and asked,  ‘Have you considered something more realistic, like social work?’ I have nothing against social workers—my mother was one. But I walked out and never came back. I preferred no advisor to someone who could not take me seriously. He hadn’t even seen my record!” 

Blackwell Hatcher feels fortunate that her parents and high school advisors in Highland Park, near Detroit, had helped her build the self-confidence to resist internalizing negative judgments. She arrived in Syracuse in 1970, part of the largest contingent of African American students admitted by SU at that time—a milestone in the struggle for campus diversity. Although awarded a merit-based scholarship, she still encountered suspicions about her qualifications by lingering opponents of change. “Many minority-group students were the first in their families to attend college, and probably not as well prepared to deal with that type of thing,” she says.

Blackwell Hatcher is proud of the role she and her classmates played in making Syracuse a more welcoming place for all students. A dean’s list psychology major, she was active in the Black Student Union and took part in pioneering academic experiences, including one of SU’s first African American music courses, taught by Reverend John Walker. She recounts the story of a life-changing experience that stands in sharp contrast to the slights she endured. “Education and Law was an eye-opening course taught by an attorney,” she says. “I did a research project on medical experimentation on prisoners, and got deeply into it. At the end of the semester, the professor wrote me, saying how impressed he was, and asking if I had considered law school.”

After sampling the life of a clinical psychologist in an internship, Blackwell Hatcher began to explore how she might use her passion to serve the interests of families by pursuing a legal career. She earned a J.D. degree at American University in 1979. “Probate law is an increasingly important field,” she says. “People are living longer, but they’re not making the necessary arrangements. I especially enjoy talking to groups about what they can do to be prepared—and avoid having their families end up arguing with each other in my courtroom.”

Nabil Habayeb ’80, G’82 »

Engineering a Future


Nabil Habayeb, president and CEO of General Electric’s Middle East and Africa regional division, is the kind of executive who believes that more than a mastery of number-crunching is necessary for corporate leadership. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, Habayeb took a job with GE that had him in Baghdad working on construction of a power plant. “People would ask me, ‘Why do you want to work as a field engineer, when you have two mechanical engineering degrees?’” he says. “They did not understand it was a great opportunity to learn the company and its products. There were two other field engineers working with me on that project. All three of us now head major businesses for GE.”

Born in Lebanon, Habayeb followed his older brothers to the United States during the Lebanese war of the mid-1970s. “My father wanted us to get good educations and felt we would have the added benefit of being near family members who live in Syracuse,” he says. Excelling at his studies, Habayeb was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society. Before starting graduate work, he took a summer job in the United Arab Emirates that helped him set a course for his career. “I went to Abu Dhabi to work on an offshore oil-drilling platform—it was 130 degrees, with 95 percent humidity,” he says. “But returning to the Middle East was an important experience because I realized what was possible there. I knew I could differentiate myself if I found a position in which I could utilize my understandings of both U.S. and Middle Eastern cultures and values.”

In contrast to the images of conflict that dominate the news media, Habayeb is bullish on the Middle East. “I believe the region offers more opportunity than even India or China,” says the Dubai-based executive, who previously served as GE’s general manager for India. “You have an emerging market with plenty of resources, and unlike the past, money is being reinvested into infrastructure and addressing the social and economic aspects of society.” With more than half the region’s population under age 30, Habayeb finds Middle Eastern youth receptive to an American-style “blue-jeans” economy. “The key to solving many of our problems is good education, which provides the best defense against extremism,” he says. “Once you partner with youth and help them achieve their goals, you’re going to have friends for a long time.”

Habayeb is also bullish on a role for Syracuse graduates in the region’s thriving commercial culture. He believes they have much to offer the Middle East in its areas of greatest need, including education, engineering, and communication. “I want our graduates to know that whole new cities are being built here, new airlines are emerging, desalination projects are solving drinking-water problems and turning pieces of desert into PGA-style golf courses,” he says. “Anyone looking for a job that will help them financially and offer a great life should think about coming to work in Dubai or the United Arab Emirates. People are being hired at a very fast rate.”

SUmmer Crossword Answers
By David J. Kahn ’63


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