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Look Both Ways, 2008, acrylic and acrylic ink, by Devin Scannell ’09

Art & Culture

Have Sketchpad, Will Travel

Illustration professor John Thompson has found inspiration for his art all over the world. He has visited such countries as Pakistan, Iraq, and Argentina, documenting military life for the U.S. Air Force Art Program. He has also created art based on his personal experiences in Ireland, Italy, and Morocco. That’s why he jumped at the chance to partner with SU Abroad to offer Painting and Drawing in India, a short-term international study opportunity that incorporates a trip to India with a semester-long art class. “I will take on this kind of assignment any time I can,” Thompson says. “And if I can share the experience with students, that’s incredible.”

Now in its second year, the program began through a collaboration between Thompson and Susan Wadley, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Ford Maxwell Professor of South Asian Studies, who helps SU Abroad develop programs in India. Thompson’s main goal was to establish a program that highlights Indian culture and takes students off the beaten tourist path. During the two-week winter break trip, students visited vast cities, such as Delhi and Jaipur, and small villages. They toured the Taj Mahal, rural holy sites, and artisan workshops. Throughout the trip, they documented their activities by drawing and painting, taking photographs, and collecting artifacts, which served as inspiration for their artwork throughout the spring semester class.

Although brief, the journey provided students experiences with art and culture outside of the West. “Most American art education is rooted in a European tradition,” Thompson says. “Our students may have only received a smattering of exposure to Asian art. One of the first things I do is take them to the Museum of Modern Art in Delhi. It gives them a chance to see the early classical Indian works, as well as the evolution of Indian art up through the present.”

The students were especially drawn to the vivid colors and patterns ingrained in Indian culture. “For the last couple of years my work was dark or monochromatic,” says illustration major Christopher Holmes ’09. “It didn’t have bright pinks or turquoise, and now I’m trying to bring that in. I’ve never been into pattern work or design, but that’s really the focus over there, so it was interesting to see.”

While the trip may have a strong impact on the development of the students’ artistic styles, they believe the visit to India has a value of its own. “India is huge and a little intimidating,” says illustration major Allison Black ’08, who went on the inaugural trip. “When you are in a class and have a guide, it’s a great way to go to a country for the first time. Now I feel like I can go back and know what I’m doing.”

Above all, Thompson hopes students will develop a thirst for travel from the experience. “I hope this class is just a stepping stone in life’s adventure,” he says. “This time I took them, just like Susan Wadley took me the first time. But I hope this gives them the confidence to keep traveling and exploring.”

Photo by Steve Sartori
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Commemoration »

University Community to Mark 20th Anniversary of Pan Am 103

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Commemorative Activities
For more information
on 20th-anniversary
commemorative activities, visit or contact Eileen Fahey at 315-443-1368 or

Twenty years ago this December, 270 people lost their lives in what has been described as the first large-scale act of terrorism on American civilians. On the evening of December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 departed from London’s Heathrow Airport bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Thirty-eight minutes after takeoff, the plane exploded in the skies over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 passengers and crew and 11 Lockerbie residents on the ground. Among the passengers were 35 students who had spent the semester studying in London and Florence through SU’s Division of International Programs Abroad (now SU Abroad).

The Syracuse University community will mark the 20th anniversary of the tragedy with a series of special events during the fall semester. A web site dedicated to the anniversary,, will provide information on the activities and allow wider communities—Syracuse faculty, staff, and alumni; Pan Am 103 victims’ families and friends; and the people of London and Lockerbie—the opportunity to share their memories and remembrances. “Pan Am 103 indelibly changed the landscape of Syracuse University,” says Kelly Homan Rodoski ’92, communications manager in SU’s Office of News Services and chair of the University’s Pan Am 103 20th Anniversary Commemoration Committee. Rodoski was an SU student at that time. “This was the kind of event that occurred elsewhere, not in our part of the world and not on our campus,” she says. “The fact that 35 young men and women in the prime of their lives, brimming with intellectual curiosity and the spirit of adventure, were taken in a senseless act of violence was, and remains today, incomprehensible.”

During Remembrance Week, October 19-25, SU will invite alumni from the classes of 1988-92 back to campus for the annual Rose-Laying Ceremony and Remembrance Convocation, and for special events and gatherings throughout the weekend. “Pan Am 103: Lessons Since Lockerbie,” a panel discussion on civil litigation and public diplomacy, is planned for October 23. A production of Bird and the Two-Ton Weight—a play about life, death, and family and how they intersect with the Pan Am 103 tragedy—will be staged during the weekend. The play was written by College of Visual and Performing Arts alumna Darcy Fowler ’05, and will be produced by Fowler and classmates Heather Robb ’05, Melissa Panzer ’05, and Rebecca Atwood ’05.

Special exhibitions of materials from the Pan Am 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives, which is housed on campus, will be on display throughout the semester, as will selected pieces from Dark Elegy, the sculpture collection created by Suse Lowenstein, mother of Flight 103 victim and SU student Alexander Lowenstein.

The 20th-anniversary commemoration will culminate with a special Service of Remembrance in Hendricks Chapel on December 21. “The commemoration committee hopes these events and opportunities will honor the loved ones lost and will recognize the tremendous legacy of Pan Am 103 both on our campus and in the world,” Rodoski says.

Interdisciplinary Studies »

Pan African Studies Program Extends Students’ Global Reach

Photo courtesy of
Pierce Freelon G’08
A Ghanaian performer plays the ngoni (traditional West African lute) during a 2007 celebration marking Ghana’s 50th anniversary of independence from colonialism.

After hearing SU African American studies professor Renate Simson lecture at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria, Mathias Sajovitz G’08 was drawn to Syracuse’s new master’s degree program in Pan African studies, which emphasizes the global African experience. Since enrolling in fall 2006, he learned to critically examine race, class, and human rights issues in Austrian society through the stories and experiences of the country’s African migrants. “I learned to view the world through a completely different lens,” Sajovitz says. “There is no discourse on race and class in my country. My home university library contains only two books on African migrants. I came to know these people during my thesis fieldwork with Chiala Afriquas, an Austrian nonprofit organization that works with African migrants. It was painful to learn how government policies contribute to their marginalization and exploitation.”

The interdisciplinary Pan African studies (PAS) master’s program, offered by the Department of African American Studies (AAS) in the College of Arts and Sciences, focuses heavily on field research, innovation, and international exposure. Students complete 30 credits of study, six of which must be taken outside the University at program sites available in the United States and abroad. Pierce Freelon G’08 traveled to Ghana, where he interviewed artists and created a film on “Ghana Hiplife,” a combination of diasporan hip-hop and Ghanaian “Highlife,” one of the oldest popular dance-music styles in Africa.  “The program’s experiential credit component signifies our primary mission to educate students about the global Black world through arts, literatures, cultures, history, politics, and social-economic issues,” says Professor Linda Carty, director of AAS graduate studies. “It’s a unique program in Black studies both within New York State and across the country.” The program graduated its first class in spring 2007.

quotePAS graduate student Zakiya Lasley is working this summer at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C., gathering information about how ethical and religious rhetoric informs public policy and how those policies affect the Black gay and lesbian community. Lasley says one of the highlights of her first year at SU was her volunteer work with Choices, a community-based program that inspires Syracuse teenage girls of color to make better decisions in their lives and attend college. “I love how AAS faculty are connected to the community,” Lasley says. “With their help, we are able to establish grass-roots networks outside of the classroom.”

Professor Micere Githae Mugo, AAS chair, says the AAS faculty believes strongly in connecting students with local, national, and international communities. “The Pan African studies curriculum is committed to making these linkages and to maintaining an intellectual rigor characterized by uniqueness as well as innovativeness, aimed at producing first-rate ‘organic’ scholars,” she says.



Orange Collects 10th NCAA Title

SU returned to the top of the intercollegiate men’s lacrosse world in May, winning a 10th NCAA Division I championship—the most by any team. Advancing to the national semifinals for the 25th time, the third-seeded Orange avenged an early-season overtime loss to Virginia, knocking off the Cavaliers, 12-11, in a double-overtime thriller at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. On Memorial Day, before 48,970 fans—an NCAA outdoor championship record—the Orange defeated archrival and defending champion Johns Hopkins, 13-10, to clinch the title. It was the fifth meeting between the two teams in the NCAA final (SU now holds a 3-2 edge), with both vying for a 10th title. “To get these guys back into the playoff hunt, to make it to the Final Four, to have such a crazy Virginia game, and to come out and be able to perform today like the guys did [was amazing],” said head coach John Desko ’79, who collected his fourth NCAA crown in a decade at the helm. “You could sense it at halftime; they didn’t want to be denied. What a nice reward for the team, especially the seniors, who won their first national championship.”

The title run served as redemption for senior team members, who rebounded from a 2007 season that ended without a tournament bid. The 2008 Orange (16-2) was just the second team to win it all a year after failing to make the tourney—and it put them in familiar company. The 1983 Orange men did it first. They, too, won their title against Hopkins and launched the Syracuse championship dynasty. Coincidentally, the 1983 Syracuse team was honored by the NCAA during halftime of the Foxborough final in recognition of the 25th anniversary of its victory. 

Eight Orange players received All-America honors, including first-team selections midfielder Steven Brooks ’08 and attack Mike Leveille ’08. Leveille, who was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament, also received the 2008 Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate player. “So many guys stepped up today,” Leveille said. “We did it together as a team and that is what has led us all year.” 

It was a historic season as well for the women’s lacrosse team, which advanced to the NCAA semifinals for the first time in its 11-year history. Under first-year head coach Gary Gait ’90, the women posted a school-record 18 wins, won their second straight Big East regular season and tournament titles, and set NCAA records for points (541) and goals (380). Attack Katie Rowan ’09 and midfielder Halley Quillinan ’10 were both named first-team All-Americans. Rowan, now a two-time All-American, registered 73 goals and 69 assists to tie the NCAA single-season record, leading the nation in scoring, points per game (6.76), and assists.


Photo by Mackenzie Reiss ’10/medley magazine
Sandra Plasse ’09 (left) learns sign language at a Deaf Coffee Social. Plasse wrote an article in the most recent issue of medley magazine about breaking down communication barriers between people who are deaf and those who hear.

Student Publication
Provides Cultural Mix

On Thursday afternoons, children who have settled with their families in Syracuse from Haiti, South Africa, Sudan, and Cuba meet with SU tutors at Hendricks Chapel’s International Young Scholars Project. Three times each month, at a Deaf Coffee Social held at a local bakery, deaf and hearing people learn to communicate through such methods as American Sign Language, lip reading, and working with an interpreter. Each semester, stories like these fill the colorful pages of medley magazine, a student publication that explores cultural diversity on campus, in the Syracuse area, in the nation, and abroad. The magazine’s third issue came out in April, featuring international news briefs; a photo essay on intercultural romances; an overview of a new SU Abroad center in Santiago, Chile; and a global look at the U.S. presidential election, including an exploration of issues of importance to the LGBT community. “We hope medley can open readers’ eyes to the world around them,” says editor in chief Jennifer Carmona ’08. “We want to inspire them to leave their inhibitions behind—to talk to someone they wouldn’t normally approach, get involved with a cultural organization on campus, and help those who are new to the area make a place for themselves in the community.”


Launched in fall 2006, the magazine grew out of Mix It Up, a multicultural program developed to prepare students for study abroad and keep them connected to the international experience after they return. Now hosted by the Lillian and Emanuel Slutzker Center for International Services (SCIS), the program provides a forum for students of all backgrounds to embrace cultural diversity and probe the meaning of citizenship in a global society. “The original idea was to involve students going abroad with the international community at SU,” says Elane Granger, who developed Mix It Up as an SU Abroad staff member. She is now associate director for student services at SCIS and medley’s advisor. When Granger suggested the group produce a newsletter, Kristin Burnham ’07, a Newhouse magazine major, welcomed the opportunity. “Developing the magazine was a ton of work, but very rewarding,” says Burnham, medley’s first editor in chief. “It was a crash course in everything from managing a business and getting help with funding to coming up with a good list of articles and learning about graphic design. It was work I loved doing, and I was thrilled with the result.”

The publication’s current staff of about 40 students includes editors, designers, writers, fact checkers, and photographers, many of whom have studied abroad or plan to. Each issue includes international film reviews, music suggestions, and recipes; international factoids; and information for students regarding community engagement opportunities. “The magazine keeps getting better and more professional all the time. And students really like it,” Granger says. “I’m very proud of medley’s staff. They’ve done a wonderful job of focusing on issues that matter and getting across a message of cultural understanding.”

Photo Courtesy of Keith Alford
In Tanzania, Meghan Hall ’07 meets with a grandmother living with AIDS. Through drug therapy and assistance from a palliative care team, the grandmother is thriving and able to care for her grandson.

Engaging the World

Caring for those with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania

In Tanzania, a nurse named Paulina sings as she comforts people suffering from HIV/AIDS. A soft-spoken, well-educated woman of modest means, she has developed one of the country’s strongest palliative care programs. For Meghan Hall ’07, meeting her was an inspiration. “To me, she is a saint,” says Hall, who, with social work professor Keith Alford, spent two weeks in Tanzania as part of a 21-member U.S. delegation in January. “Being with her and going on home visits, seeing the way she treats people, the way she goes in singing to these patients—you can tell that just her presence has alleviated some of their pain and discomfort.”

The journey’s purpose was to deliver donated medical supplies to Africa, where the AIDS epidemic claimed the lives of an estimated 1.6 million people last year, and to learn how health care providers there work with HIV/AIDS patients. Led by Peter Sarver of Syracuse, former CEO of  Hospice and Palliative Care Associates, the group included hospice professionals, nurses, social workers, professors, and health care students. Hall’s interest grew from her volunteer work and her plans to pursue a graduate degree in public health. For Alford, the trip provided an opportunity to visit Africa while making a meaningful contribution and learning about global social work practices. “I didn’t know Meghan at all before the trip,” Alford says, “but I think the fact that she was a biology major and I am a social work professor speaks to the value of taking an interdisciplinary approach in looking at a world crisis like this epidemic.”

While in Tanzania, the group met with hospital medical staff, visited a center for children orphaned by AIDS, and accompanied care teams on home visits. “The remarkable piece for me was witnessing men, women, and children who are HIV positive living fairly productive lives because of the drug therapy they are undergoing,” Alford says. “In spite of their illnesses and modest surroundings, these individuals greeted us with pride and open arms. One woman handed us her beautiful African scarf to lay on the floor and use as a seat.” He was especially touched by the story of a grandmother who nearly died after contracting AIDS while assisting her daughter-in-law in childbirth. “I was moved by her tenacity and humble spirit,” Alford says. “She was determined to get out of that bed and return to her role as matriarch of the family, and is alive now because of her daily drug regimen and strong will to live.”

For both Hall and Alford, the most difficult part of the trip was leaving. “It was hard to see the hopeful faces of people who had been through more than I could ever imagine, and to know the reality of the situation—that they may not get the food and medicines they need, that many will die,” Hall says. Alford agrees, yet is grateful for the broadened perspective he gained from the trip. “Now that we’re home, how do we re-engage in ways that honor the experience?” he asks. “How do we incorporate what we’ve learned into our everyday lives, and share the stories of the people we met—stories of resilience and triumph?”

Photo courtesy of Army ROTC
Army ROTC cadets Daniel Fitzpatrick ’11 (left) and Dana Peterson ’10 deliver a dinner for the Meals on Wheels program.

Service Leadership »

Cadets Embrace Active Role in Community

When military leaders say, “Let’s roll!” we usually don’t think of troops mobilizing to bring food to the infirm or remove roadside trash. But these and other community service activities are an integral part of Army ROTC training at Syracuse University. Lieutenant Colonel Susan Hardwick, a career officer and professor of military science, believes this kind of public outreach is essential to the professional and personal development of contemporary military leaders. “Our students see the difference that simple acts of neighborly kindness can make to improve community relations,” says Hardwick, a veteran of the Iraq war. “Performing such projects on a regular basis fosters selflessness and duty—two ‘Army values’ that are important to our program and naturally related to the Scholarship in Action approach to education.”

This spring, for the fourth consecutive year, the University honored Army ROTC and the Department of Military Science with the Chancellor’s Community Service Leadership Award for their engagement efforts. Cadets are obliged to perform five hours of community service each semester, and the initiative, creativity, and hard work they give to their projects are rewarded in a point system that may help them win such career advancements as admission to airborne school or a sought-after summer internship. Requirements and incentives notwithstanding, personal commitment often takes on a life of its own as cadets venture into the community.

Molly Hope ’10, a marketing major, recalls an incident she believes epitomizes the spirit of ROTC outreach. “A cadet struck up a conversation with an elderly gentleman while we were making deliveries for Meals on Wheels,” she says. “A few weeks later, he baked him a birthday cake and brought it to him. That was not a required part of the program.” Brent Kurutz ’08, a history and newspaper journalism major and the ranking SU Army cadet for 2007-08, remembers that incident and many like it. “The job is just to bring a meal,” he says. “But it’s gratifying to bring people positive reinforcement. That’s especially true when we serve veterans. We wear our uniforms, and you should see their faces when we come knocking at the door.” 

Kathleen Hope ’09, a nutrition major (and Molly’s sister), says similar satisfactions are gained in the cadets’ other community activities, including visits to V.A. hospital patients, some just back from the Middle East; kitchen duty at the Samaritan Center in downtown Syracuse; tutoring and mentoring kids at local schools; and clearing trash from a stretch of Jamesville Road the battalion has adopted. “A lot of modern military work leans toward community relations,” she says. “We are committed to serving others—and not just in wartime.”

  Photos by SU Imaging and Photo Center
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Members of the Class of 2008 celebrate following the University’s 154th Commencement on May 11 in the Carrier Dome. SU awarded 2,739 bachelor’s degrees, 1,652 master’s degrees, and 115 doctoral degrees as part of the day’s activities. The Commencement address was delivered by ABC News journalist Bob Woodruff (left), who overcame a traumatic brain injury that he suffered in a roadside bomb explosion while covering the Iraq war. “You know your generation has the power to direct the future, to change it, to make it better, and to stop talking and start walking,” said Woodruff, who was one of nine honorary degree recipients. “You have that power.” 1
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Academic Appointments »

New Deans Join Arts & Sciences and L.C. Smith

Two new college deans take office at Syracuse University this August. The appointments, announced by Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina, bring George M. Langford to the College of Arts and Sciences to succeed Cathryn R. Newton, who returns to the faculty as the University’s first Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies; and Laura J. Steinberg to the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS), where she will take the reins from interim Dean Shiu-Kai Chin ’75, G’78, G’86.

Langford, most recently dean of natural sciences and mathematics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is a cell biologist and neuroscientist who has made learning and memory his research focus, with attention to the brain’s recall mechanisms and impairments caused by Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. He enjoys a national reputation for design and implementation of programs supporting and mentoring minority students in the sciences. Langford has served as director of the National Science Foundation’s Cell Biology Program; chair of the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology; and, by presidential appointment, a member of the National Science Board. A graduate of Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, Langford earned a doctoral degree at the Illinois Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. “George has lived an interdisciplinary life as a faculty member and advocated that approach as an administrator,” Spina says. “I expect cross-college and cross-university collaborations to be central features of his leadership at SU.”

Steinberg is internationally known for her work on understanding and remedying the special environmental problems that occur when natural disasters strike industrialized, high-technology areas, and is considered a pioneer in the field of natech disaster research (“natech” is shorthand for “nature and technology”). She comes to Syracuse from Dallas, where she chaired Southern Methodist University’s environmental and civil engineering department. While at Tulane University, she co-founded an interdisciplinary graduate program in Earth and ecosystem sciences. Steinberg is the first external candidate chosen as LCS dean in more than a century. She becomes the first woman to hold that office, and one of only four women serving as engineering deans at the 62 member institutions of the American Association of Universities. Spina, a former LCS dean, says, “Laura’s professional expertise—at the interface of technology and policy—is a strong indication of the direction in which she will move the college: toward close educational and research collaboration with disciplines from across the University.”



College of Arts and Sciences students Thomas Stewart ’09 and Gavin Hartnett ’09 were awarded prestigious 2008 Goldwater Scholarships. Stewart, a biology major, and Hartnett, a dual physics and mathematics major, were among 321 students to receive the scholarships.


J. Craig Venter, a pioneer in decoding the human genome, will be keynote speaker at the dedication of the University’s Life Sciences Complex on November 7. Venter, author of A Life Decoded: My Genome, My Life, and his research teams have been at the forefront of genomic research for more than two decades. His address will highlight a daylong celebration that includes building tours, lab demonstrations, and other activities regarding the life sciences.

For the fifth straight time, the Maxwell School has collected U.S. News and World Report’s top ranking among graduate schools of public affairs. Maxwell was also rated first in the public affairs specialties of public management/administration, and public finance and budgeting. In addition, it was the only institution to place among the top 10 in all public affairs specialties.

Former Newhouse School dean David M. Rubin was named Journalism Administrator of the Year by the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Zoe Nemetz ’09, a surface pattern design major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, won the grand prize in the SURTEX International Student Design Competition, besting more than 100 students representing 22 countries. Nemetz’s submission, “Fly Away,” was a stationery design inspired by travel and flight.

English professor Michael Burkard and geography professor Don Mitchell were awarded 2008 Guggenheim Fellowships.
The Society for Disability Studies recognized School of Education professor Steven Taylor G’77 with its inaugural Senior Scholar Award. Taylor is director of SU’s Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies.

Olatokunbo Olaniyan L’08, Rafiel D. Warfield L’08, and Jennifer Brooks L’09 finished 2007-08 with one of the best records in the College of Law’s trial team history and advanced to the semifinals of the National Trial Competition in Austin, Texas. They won the New York State Bar Association’s prestigious Tiffany Cup, achieving the best record among the state’s law schools.

University Professor Peter Blanck, chair of the Burton Blatt Institute at SU, participated in the United Nations Global Initiative for Inclusive Technologies forum this spring in Quito, Ecuador, examining solutions to better serve persons with disabilities worldwide. Blanck chaired a panel of international experts on the status of U.S. and European Union legislation and other international developments.


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