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Steve Sartori

Looking Ahead to Fall

Fall is a time when many exciting events take place on the SU campus. This fall will be no exception, with thousands of alumni returning to campus to be part of the excitement.

This year we will experience something we have never seen before: the premiere of a major Hollywood movie about one of our most famous alumni. The Express, starring Rob Brown and Dennis Quaid, tells the story of Ernie Davis ’62, the first African American Heisman Trophy winner, and his struggles and achievements. The movie will premiere in Syracuse on September 12, and is scheduled for national release in October. So if you don’t catch The Express here, look for it at your local theater. With football in mind, don’t forget that Syracuse will play Penn State in the Dome for the first time in 19 years on September 13 (see “Rivalry Renewed,”).

The following weekend, September 18-21, SU will host Homecoming + Reunion. A new addition to this year’s events will be the presentation of the George Arents Award, which is named for the former chairman of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees. In 1939, Arents endowed a fund to provide for the awards, which are presented to alumni who have demonstrated excellence in their field of endeavor. The Alumni Association Board of Directors selects the recipients of the award, which is the highest honor the University bestows on its alumni. The presentation will be only one part of this spectacular weekend, which also includes the annual Homecoming Parade, reunions for classes ending in 3 or 8, and special events for the 50th anniversary reunion of the Class of 1958. The weekend will feature many cultural and academic programs as well, most notably an exclusive presentation and exhibition of Michelangelo: The Man and the Myth, and a timely presentation covering the presidential election, “The 2008 Campaign: A Conversation About an Historic Election.” For more information, visit the Homecoming + Reunion web site (

The final weekend of the month, September 25-28, Coming Back Together (CBT) IX will be held. CBT is a triennial reunion for African American and Latino alumni, welcoming them back to campus to celebrate their friendships and accomplishments. CBT also brings together current students with alumni role models and potential mentors. The weekend will include educational workshops, receptions, art exhibitions, and concerts. The highlight will be a gala dinner dance, where Chancellor Nancy Cantor awards citations to selected alumni in recognition of their civic or career achievements.

This fall’s last big campus event will be the dedication of the University’s new Life Sciences Complex on November 7. The daylong celebration will feature building tours, laboratory demonstrations, and conversations about some of the most salient issues in the life sciences and their effects on the living world.

Alumni are invited to campus for all these exceptional events. For further information, check out the Office of Alumni Relations web site:



Wally Bobkiewicz G’89 (MAX)
President,  Syracuse University Alumni Association Inc.

Photos courtesy of Syracuse University Archives
Performers, adorned in flapper costumes, take to the stage at the 1967 Kum Bak Show. From left are Elaine Petricoff ’68, Carol North Schmuckler ’57, and Gail Schuldt ’56.

Traditions »

Kum Bak for Good Times

Alumni dance the night away after the 1950 Kum Bak Show, which featured an elaborate musical revue with 120 cast members.

For the better part of the last century, SU’s Kum Bak event beckoned alumni to campus for memories and merriment. The summer reunion program involved dinner and dancing and, many times, musical extravaganzas that drew crowds of more than 1,000. Eleanor “Ellie” Ludwig ’43, G’45 helped organize Kum Bak events and participated in many of the shows as director of alumni relations from 1971-91. She remembers one show in the 1970s in which she performed as a flapper, singing and dancing with alumni and other University community members, including Chancellor Melvin Eggers’s wife, Mildred. “None of us was particularly adept at this sort of thing, but we did get better as time went on,” she says. “It was all in the spirit of good fun and welcoming back alumni.”

Kum Bak took on many forms through the years. In June 1920, alumni marched from downtown to campus. They later celebrated at a separate dinner and show, with alumni presenting songs and jokes in “Golden Flow” and alumnae producing a vaudeville program, “Nifty Fifty.” In 1943, the Kum Bak dinner was canceled due to the war, but events soon resumed.

Don Cantwell ’47, G’49 performed with his orchestra at Kum Bak from 1947-49, playing arrangements of such favorites as Glen Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” and Duke Ellington’s “Take the ‘A’ Train.” “They were shoulder to shoulder on the dance floor,” he says. “We played more for the fun of it than for the money.”

The 1950 Kum Bak was a lavish production with a 120-member cast, who performed a musical revue of college days from 1900 to 1950 in five acts, including a satire on the 1920s. In 1967, more than 1,500 alumni enjoyed the Kum Bak presentation of a humorous recounting of Chancellor William Tolley’s days as a student through his time as head of the University.

The shows continued through the 1980s, but the Reunion title eventually replaced Kum Bak, and the dinner turned its focus to the Arents Awards for outstanding alumni. Ludwig fondly recalls her time in the many musical revues—she still has her flapper costume—and the excitement that accompanied Kum Bak. “It was just joyous,” she says. “It made people happy to be here.”

—Kathleen Haley


Music Educator Distinguished for Inspiring Students


Don Cantwell ’47, G’49 struck up the band as a student, a Navy officer, a teacher, and a community member over many decades. His joy of music and commitment to students were lauded earlier this year in Toronto as he accepted the John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year Award from the International Association for Jazz Education and Berklee College of Music. “It was exciting to get that phone call,” Cantwell says. “Being up against competition from people throughout the world, it’s hard to imagine you would win.”

Starting out with the clarinet in the fifth grade, Cantwell was in a U.S. Navy band aboard the USS Memphis during World War II and later formed his own swing band at SU. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in music education and clarinet. From 1952-82, he was the instrumental music director at Whitesboro (New York) High School, where he brought in such performers as saxophonist John LaPorta and trumpeter Herb Pomeroy. He continues to teach private lessons; conducts a jazz combo, The Clef Dwellers; and facilitates a music education program for older adults with his wife, Beverly. “My philosophy is to help students develop a feeling of accomplishment, no matter what the subject is,” he says. “It gives them a feeling of worth. They develop a sense of maturity and can then evolve in their field.”

—Kathleen Haley


Photos courtesy of Richard and Karen Kolar
A chinstrap penguin was among the many creatures alumni viewed.

Alumni Travel »

Voyage to the Coldest Place on Earth

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


Imagine icebergs, whales, penguins, and all sorts of rare sights at a glance. For a group of SU alumni, this wasn’t just their imagination; this was an expedition to Antarctica. This past February, SU alumni ventured into the South American territory, flying into Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then embarking upon M.S. Le Diamant cruise ship. Aboard the ship, passengers were able to explore one of the coldest places on Earth; and according to David B. Freeland ’59, of Merritt Island, Florida, the chilly continent was also one of the most serene. “It is incredibly quiet,” he says. “You don’t hear any airplanes. There aren’t any. You don’t hear any traffic. There isn’t any. You hear the sounds of the ship and you may hear penguins squawking or whales blowing, and that’s about it. It’s about the quietest place you’ll ever be on Earth.”

The week-long cruise, one of many trips offered annually through the SU Alumni Association, gave alumni a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Antarctica up close and personal. From traveling alongside the tip of a volcano at Deception Island to going ashore at the southernmost tip of South America in Cape Horn—which was a rare opportunity, compliments of the unusually warm climate—alumni got an eye full of the craggy coast.

The M.S. Le Diamant cruises through the chilly waters of Antarctica.

For Freeland, who has traveled to all seven continents, making Antarctica his newest adventure, the trip wasn’t just about seeing the glaciers or daring to journey through the Antarctic Circle. It was about the birds. “The seabirds were spectacular in the Drake Passage,” says Freeland, a longtime birdwatcher. “For birders, it was a great trip.”

The cruise also left a lasting impression on Richard Kolar G’69 and his wife, Karen, of Oviedo, Florida, who often enjoy taking natural history trips. Karen was especially taken with the continent’s untouched beauty. “The majesty of the scenery, it’s incredible,” she says. “Perspective wise, you feel very insignificant. Antarctica is still a remote place, and I hope it will remain that way.” 

Orange Legacy »

Photo courtesy of Louise and Warren Jerome

Generations of Jeromes
Make Their Way at SU

Louise and Warren Jerome’s families have called Central New York home for more than a century. Around 1900, Louise’s grandfather founded a lumber company in Fayetteville, which her brother now operates. Even during the winter when the Jeromes head down to Naples, Florida, Syracuse—the city and their alma mater—is never far from their minds. They regularly meet people who are familiar with the school, and whenever the Orange plays basketball or football they hang an SU banner from their garage. “Everyone in the development knows where we live,” Warren Jerome says.

With seven other alumni in the family and their daughter, Susan Daly, pursuing a degree, SU is part of the family’s history. Louise’s father, Harold B. Tracy, was the first to attend and graduated in 1916, followed by his brother, Benjamin, in 1918. Louise’s aunt, Helen Dawley ’17, and brother, Harold Edward Tracy ’58, also attended SU, as well as the couple’s son Brian G’86, G’90, daughter Traci G’94, and their son-in-law, David Daly G’89, G’91. One reason so many family members attended SU is because their interests were matched by the variety of programs, such as agriculture, nutrition, mechanical engineering, and creative writing. “We’ve really covered the waterfront up there pretty well,” Warren says.

Louise G’59 and Warren ’53, G’59, who had met in high school, were the only two who pursued the same program, graduate degrees in the School of Education, which brought them together again. “I had a class in statistics, his was in philosophy, and they were right across the hall from each other,” Louise says. “We both got our master’s and got married in September.”

Today many of their family members still live in the area and continue to support the University. “We live in Chittenango—less than 10 miles from where we were born,” Warren says. “Our two daughters live right here—one is in East Syracuse and the other is in Fabius-Pompey. Our son is the farthest away, in Vermont. We get together for every holiday, maybe eight or 10 times a year.”

The Jeromes plan to add every family member who went to SU to their paver in the Orange Grove, which currently bears just their names. They also hope to add their grandson’s name to the family list of alumni in a few years. “He wants to be a broadcaster, and Newhouse would be one of the best -places he could go,” Louise says. “But he’s only 12 now.”

Arents Recognizes Alumni at Reunion Gala Luncheon

SU will honor some of its most distin-guished alumni at the George Arents Award ceremony during the Reunion Gala Luncheon on September 19 as part of Homecoming + Reunion. All alumni are invited to attend the event in the Schine Student Center’s Goldstein Auditorium.

The luncheon will also celebrate the leadership of reunion classes—those ending in 3 or 8—including special recognition for the “golden anniversary” Class of 1958. Current SU students will also attend.

The Arents Award was instituted in 1939 by George Arents, who served on the Board of Trustees from 1930 until his death in 1960 and funded a rare-book room named in honor of his wife, Lena. He also endowed a fund to provide for the annual Arents Award, the highest honor for alumni who excel in their fields of endeavor. “The Arents Award recognizes alumni achievement, and is awarded to those who are pioneers or make extraordinary contributions to their fields,” says Andrea Latchem, assistant vice president of alumni relations. “We feel strongly that it is important to celebrate the things these alumni are doing to incite change in the world.”

More than 220 alumni have received the award. Honorees have included Lou Reed ’64, U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. L’68, Lt. Col. Eileen Collins ’78, Ted Koppel ’60, H’82, Albert Maysles ’49, William Safire ’51, H’78, and Aaron Sorkin ’83. Speaking at the 2005 awards ceremony, Biden reflected on the opportunities he was given as a College of Law student. “What I take away from tonight—and what I take away from my -entire acquaintance with Syracuse University—is the sense that everything is possible,” he said.

To register for the luncheon on line or for more information, visit You can also call 800-SUALUMS (782-5867), or sign up using your Homecoming + Reunion registration packet in the mail.           

Essay »

Rivalry Renewed | By Brian McClintock

For twin brothers from SU and Penn State, sibling competition has cooled
in recent years, but that will change on September 13

Who throws farther? Hits harder? Drives a sister to tears faster? Siblings compete over just about everything, but none engage in a rivalry more fiercely than twins. Remember, Romulus killed Remus to control Rome. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen vied for the “you got it, dude” lines on Full House. My twin brother, Matt, and I competed to be individuals in a small Central Pennsylvania town where we’re still called “the twins,” even though we look about as much alike as DeVito and Schwarzenegger.

For many kids in our area, The Pennsylvania State University was the dream school. Both Matt and I applied and were accepted. But after 18 years of adjacent lockers and ongoing skirmishes over class rankings and who got to drive to school, we were ready for a break. While Matt settled on the local powerhouse university, I was thrilled to escape an area where everything—bottle openers, doorbells, car horns—makes an annoying Nittany Lion roar. Although my first tour of Syracuse University took place on a typical Central New York rainy day, I knew the moment I stepped into the Newhouse lobby, soaking wet, that Matt and I would finally get our chance to be individuals at two schools that share a history even more combative than our own.

The SU-Penn State rivalry dates back to before even my grandparents were born. In 1922, the two schools met for the first time at the Polo Grounds in New York City, where they battled to an epic 0-0 tie. For the better part of a century, the two schools changed coaches (well, at least Syracuse did), built new stadiums, and produced generations of standout student-athletes, but through it all kept their border-state rivalry on the schedule. In 1990, while my brother and I were still exchanging punches over who rode shotgun in the van, the two universities played each other for the last time. Along with the end of the rivalry came the end of the Dick MacPherson era at SU. It was also the last year the Orange would play as an independent, joining the Big East in 1991 with head coach Paul Pasqualoni (a 1972 PSU graduate, no less). Penn State, in turn, became the 11th team in the Big Ten conference in 1993.

During my four years at Syracuse and Matt’s four-and-a-half years at Penn State (I graduated on time, one point for me), the rivalries between the two schools and my brother and I cooled to an all-time low. On September 13, however, all that will change, when SU hosts Penn State in the Carrier Dome. Several years of enduring constant ribbing from my Joe Paterno-worshiping brother over SU’s recent misfortunes will end if the Orange can pull off a major upset. In their last 20 meetings, the ’Cuse has only won twice. Granted that run started in 1971, when SU head coach Greg Robinson was playing linebacker at Bakersfield Community College and Paterno was wearing those same over-sized spectacles on the Penn State sideline.


In recent times, the Nittany Lions have regained their spot as a national football power—a place where the Orange hopes to return. This season’s long-awaited contest may be like me racing against my much-faster brother in a 200-meter dash—a Lion is the heavy favorite. But, I managed to beat my brother to the finish line that one time. It’s a victory I still savor. So I’ll be there, under the Dome, in my Real Men Wear Orange shirt, praying to the gods of the underdogs, waiting to rub another upset victory in the face of my blue-shirted brother, who’ll be right there next to me.

Brian McClintock ’05, a graduate of the Newhouse School, is an associate editor at Field & Stream magazine in New York City.



Karen Binkoff Winnick ’68 »

Through a Child’s Eyes


Like the heroines of the children’s books she writes and illustrates, Karen Binkoff Winnick is a confident, optimistic female who enjoys adventure and making a positive difference in the lives of others. An American history buff and Los Angeles Zoo commis-sioner who has three grown sons, six dogs, and an assortment of tropical fish, Winnick finds inspiration in everything she does—from standing on tiptoe to feed a baby giraffe to traveling across the world to see tigers in India, pandas in China, and elephants in Africa. “Writing and illustrating children’s books implores me to look at the world with wonderment,” says Winnick, whose ninth book, Lucy’s Cave (Boyds Mills Press), will be published this fall. “When you see through the eyes of a child, everything is new and fresh and exciting. It brings out the best in you, and it keeps you in the moment.”

A former graphic designer and advertising art director, Winnick majored in art at the College of Visual and Performing Arts. She was in her late 20s when she began writing and illustrating stories for children. “I took classes in writing and poetry for many years to improve my skills,” she says. “I’ve always loved books and the wondrous places they’ve taken me since I learned to read.” She also visits schools to read to children and talk with them about her work. “I hope to demystify the process of making a book, and show students that what I do is not so different from what they do for school projects: look around them and express in words and pictures their thoughts and feelings about what they see, hear, and experience,” she says. “Meeting children this way elevates me, because they are my audience.”    

Beyond her work as author and illustrator, Winnick -encourages a love for reading through support of educational initiatives at the Los Angeles Public Library and at SU. “Reading calls you to go after your hopes and dreams, and to do things you are passionate about,” she says. Together with her husband Gary, Winnick has provided funding to the University for the Karen B. Winnick Literacy Initiative, the Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life, and the Winnick Family Endowed Scholarship Fund. “In giving to Syracuse, we endeavor to support students,” she says. “We believe the best education affords people the opportunity to make the most of themselves. It’s an opportunity that should be available to all deserving students.”


Meg Noble Peterson ’50 »

Reaching New Heights


Not quite a typical grandmother, Meg Noble Peterson spent May and June trekking across northern India. In July, she’s climbing in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Come August she heads west to Washington to backpack with friends in the Olympic Mountains, and in September, she’s going with a “Himalayan climbing buddy” to Mount Assiniboine in British Columbia for two weeks. “If I’m not dead by then, I’ll be plenty fit for Kilimanjaro,” says Peterson, who plans to climb Africa’s highest peak with her two daughters in December. Such adventures fill the pages of her calendar and diary. She has completed two around-the-world solo backpacking trips, hiked across England, traversed the Inca Trail in Peru, and climbed in Austria, Tibet, and Nepal. “Here I am, approaching 80, and what am I going to do?” she asks. “Am I going to sit here and sort through my stuff and make picture albums? Or am I going to go out and live and climb these mountains while I am still able to?”

In her book, Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey Through Africa and Asia (iUniverse, 2005), Peterson chronicles her 1986 journey through four continents and 12 countries as a 58-year-old divorced mother of five adult children. “After 33 years of marriage, I wanted to get away from my dependence on men and face the world as a whole person, not half a couple,” she says. “What appealed to me then and still motivates me is learning about other cultures.” Peterson offers two guidelines for hitting the road: travel light, and stay off the beaten path. “There is a little edge to risking the unknown and that prompts you to go further, which is what makes life interesting,” she says. “I always wonder what is around the next corner. Doesn’t everybody?” 

A political science and music major at Syracuse, Peterson wrote 38 books in the field of music education and, at age 65, collaborated on a play. The daughter of the late Hendricks Chapel Dean Charles Noble, she credits her father with instilling in her the lifelong love of learning and passion for people that fuel her many journeys. “He was a really vibrant, fabulous guy,” she says. “And he gave the most marvelous ‘fight talk’ of a sermon every Sunday. You left there feeling, my God, I’ve got to go out there and do something. I’ve got to make my life count. That’s what I grew up with, and it’s what I still believe.”

Brian Frons G’78 »

Entertainment Impresario

Brian Frons with
Barbara Walters

When Brian Frons, president of Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group, visited Syracuse last fall, it was his first time on campus in 30 years. “It brought forth a flood of great memories of influential teachers and friends,” he says. The pleasures of nostalgia had to be caught on the run, however, as Frons went to work sharing ideas and information with people who would love to have his job. Cutting a swath through resume-waving students much of the way, Frons spoke to television-radio-film students at the Newhouse School and then a communications marketing class at the Whitman School, capping the day with a public lecture on “making it” in the L.A. media world. Much student interest focused on, a Frons creation that allows fans to keep up with their stories regardless of daily work schedules.

In contrast to undergraduates who dream of controlling the fate of soaps, games, and talk shows, Frons was an idealistic history major when he entered -Newhouse, intent on becoming a broadcast journalist. He discovered the entertainment side of the business while pursuing a master’s degree. “I started to play around with fiction, and liked the fact that I could create happy endings, which you can’t always do in journalism,” he says. “I took a class on television programming with Dan Sheffman, who was very influential. Coming up with show ideas and getting involved in television production were really exciting to me.” 

When the CBS management program came to campus on a national talent search, Frons gave it a shot—and scored an invitation. “It was a great introduction to the industry—four weeks in comedy, four weeks in drama, and so on,” he says. “At the end, I was approached about positions in three areas. I’d never even looked at a soap opera before entering the program, but I chose daytime because it was the only job that would take me back home to New York.” Between his start in New York and his current post in Southern California, Frons lived in several other spots, including London, where he served as senior vice president of programming at SBS Broadcasting, which operates a dozen channels throughout Europe.

Frons does not advise would-be television executives to spend the days of their lives glued to the set, but sees greater value in becoming attuned to how the world turns. “We live in an insular culture in the world of TV, and it’s good to go out and experience something else,” he says. “The years I spent working in European TV really redefined me—not just as an executive, but as a person. Since then, travel has become a passion.”

—David Marc

Robert Olmstead ’77, G’83 »

Telling Stories


As an author and English professor at Ohio Wesleyan University, Robert Olmstead has collected his share of accolades, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize, which he won in 2007 for Coal Black Horse (Algonquin Books), a novel about a teenager searching Civil War battlefronts for his father. But an impressive career got off to an inauspicious start when he enrolled, with a football scholarship, at Davidson College in North Carolina. “I left after three semesters with a 1.1 average,” says Olmstead, a native of Westmoreland, New Hampshire. “All I wanted was anonymity and privacy.”

In the midst of that adolescent chaos, Olmstead discovered something solid in literature, reading Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and John Gardner’s Nickel Mountain. Returning north, he persuaded Syracuse to give him a second chance at college, and this time made good, majoring in education and landing a job teaching high school English. Feeling ready to take his love of literature to the next level, he returned to SU at age 28 to earn a master’s degree in the Creative Writing Program. “Thinking back, I still can’t get over entering a classroom and having Tobias Wolff and Ray Carver—two of America’s greatest writers—right there to tell me what they know,” he says. “The generosity still shocks me. There are special times and places in the world, and sometimes we are just lucky to be there. It really changed my life.”

Olmstead’s first book, River Dogs (1987), a collection of short stories, caught the attention of the literary world with compelling depictions of vulnerable characters making their way in a world inclined by nature to indifference. He quickly followed with his first novel, Soft Water. This seemingly grim tale of an impoverished orphan in rural Maine led a reviewer in The New York Times to marvel at Olmstead’s talent for “lending every present moment an extraordinary sensuous glow.” Versatile at the keyboard, Olmstead has since produced a memoir (Stay Here With Me, 1997) a writing textbook, and three more novels. A fourth, Far Bright Star, is in the works.

Acknowledging the shifting role for literature in the electronic media spiral, Olmstead finds reasons for confidence in its future at the threshold of his office door. “The number of students that continue to come in, no matter what is happening in the culture, and still want to do this thing—write fiction or poetry—is remarkably consistent,” he says. “There’s a hard-wired need people have to express, declare, make a statement, and tell their stories. Writing is a very direct and even an inexpensive way to do that.”


Seaman Jacobs ’32, a comedy writer best known for his television work, died at age 96 on April 8 in Los Angeles. A management major who made it his business to be funny, Jacobs broke into the profession as a contributor to The Orange Peel, an SU student humor magazine. In a career spanning a half-century, he wrote one-liners and sketches for such stars as Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and George Burns, and collaborated on episodes for hit sitcoms, including Maude, F Troop, and The Andy Griffith Show. His eclectic multimedia resume includes the film script for It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963) starring Elvis Presley, and multiple episodes of the cult-favorite TV cartoon series Inch High, Private Eye (1973). Jacobs, who donated his television scripts to the SU Library in 1998, was honored for his support of the University as Alumnus of the Year in 2005 by the Southern California Alumni Club. “When I first came to Syracuse, people told me I was from downstate, but when I moved to Manhattan, they told me I was from upstate,” quipped Jacobs, a native of the Hudson River town of Kingston. “So don’t tell me about your identity crisis.

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