UniversityPlace
Courtesy of DIPA
SU’s Florence Center at the Villa Rosa is one of several international sites that attracts students.

 

Global Gift


With four grandparents from Italy, Robert Infarinato ’67 was naturally attracted to the Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA) program in Florence. He traveled there in spring 1966 to participate in what was then called the Semester in Italy, and has returned many times to support the SU program that first introduced him to the country he fell in love with. “I was part of the last group of students who took an ocean liner overseas instead of flying,” Infarinato recalls. “We had our orientation on the boat and got to know each other while attending lectures and taking Italian lessons.” The experience of studying abroad had a profound effect on Infarinato, helping him clarify his goals and directing him toward a career as a finance executive in international business that spans three decades.

Believing that an international experience holds increased significance for today’s students, Infarinato does all he can to support DIPA. He volunteered to present a lecture and lead a panel discussion, “Corporate Performance and Responsibility,” in Florence last fall and guest lectured in several classes. He also delivered an updated corporate governance lecture in Madrid in the spring. “In our global environment, it is more important than ever to understand how to build a bridge to another culture—to understand not only the differences, but also the similarities among people everywhere,” he says. “Living with a family in another country and being integrated into another society gives students an open frame of reference and makes them eager to learn. Studying abroad is a phenomenally important, life-altering experience.”

Infarinato’s enthusiasm for studying abroad is shared by Constance Canfield Foote ’61, G’63 and Knowlton C. Foote ’61, G’65, who fund a DIPA scholarship for School of Education students. As an alumni advisor for Delta Epsilon in the early 1990s, Knowlton Foote strongly recommended overseas studies to fraternity members. He believes the experience improves students’ language and communication skills, matures them, encourages them to pursue further travel opportunities, enriches their sense of compassion, and helps them develop an appreciation of another culture. “Students who study abroad are ambitious, energetic, and adventuresome,” says Foote, who earned a Ph.D. from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 1975. “They come back more serious about their studies and with a well-developed sense of global perspective.”

At Syracuse University, the tradition of international study dates back to 1919. Today, more than 2,000 students study abroad through DIPA each year, representing a broad range of academic majors; more than half come from other U.S. universities. SU maintains academic centers in China (Hong Kong), England, France, Italy, and Spain, and collaborates with other universities to offer programs in Africa. SU students can also study abroad through direct placement at universities in other European and Asian countries.

Lindsay Bistis ’03, a French and inclusive and elementary education major, was the first recipient of the Footes’ DIPA scholarship. “Going abroad taught me so much about the history and culture of the places I lived in and visited,” says Bistis, who lived in Strasbourg, France. “The experience allowed me to get to know other people better and taught me a lot about myself.”

The Footes applaud the University’s efforts to make study abroad accessible to as many students as possible. “I hope each of our students spends a semester overseas,” says Knowlton Foote. “It is an absolutely first-rate educational experience.” Infarinato, too, is impressed with SU’s commitment to the program, which is articulated in the University’s Academic Plan. “Syracuse deserves recognition for the quality and longevity of its international study programs,” says Infarinato, who joined the Footes and other alumni at the first meeting of the Friends of DIPA Advisory Board in September. “I feel very strongly about supporting DIPA, which provides experiences that touch people to the point of changing their lives.”

—Amy Speach Shires


Visual & Performing Arts

Steve Sartori

High school students work in the Nautica Design Studio as part of a Summer College program on fashion design.

Learning in Style

Aspiring fashion and textile designers often choose Syracuse University rather than specialized art schools to take advantage of the wide range of course offerings and interdisciplinary study opportunities. Yet even as they opt to broaden the scope of their educations, these students must also be confident of access to the facilities and resources they need to prepare for this highly competitive field. In that regard, the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ (VPA) Department of Fashion Design and Technologies can point a reassuring finger at its Nautica Design Studio.

Department chair Karen Bakke ’67, G’69 describes the Nautica facility as “a complete knit design studio with the latest technology in computer-assisted embroidery machines and computer textile printing.” Located in Slocum Hall, it was created through the renovation of existing classrooms with funds provided by Nautica Enterprises Inc., an internationally known, New York City-based designer, marketer, and distributor of brand-name apparel and accessories that was recently purchased by the VF Corporation, the world’s largest apparel company.

The studio—the only one of its kind supported by Nautica in higher education—features 140 oak lockers for students, personal storage cabinets for faculty, a washer-dryer set, four sinks, and special equipment, including a massive silk steamer. Infrastructure improvements include new wiring to accommodate the tools of the trade, which range from sewing machines to computers. Even the “Nautica blue” chairs have been carefully chosen for ergonomic design. “Those chairs were nice to sit in during a three-hour studio class, and the lighting was good, too,” says VPA graduate Stefanie Pollock ’03. “It’s a pleasant work environment.” VPA student Patrick Mele ’06 agrees. “The studio is on par with, or superior to, any facility you can find in an art or design school,” he says.

When Harvey Sanders, the former Nautica chairman, announced the company’s merger with the VF Corporation, he noted that it will create “substantial opportunities for our people and our brands over the long term.” VPA students could benefit from the merger too, as it may provide more career-preparation opportunities for them in the field.

According to Bakke, the story behind the Nautica gift begins with the tale of another act of generosity to the University. Since 1982, real estate developer Leon Genet ’53 has been funding the Sue Ann Genet Lecture Series, named in honor of his late wife. The Genet lectures bring internationally prominent figures from retailing, fashion, costuming, and the decorative arts to campus each year. “When Harvey Sanders delivered a Genet lecture in 1999, he was impressed by our program and by our students’ work,” Bakke says. “He asked if there was a way he could help.”

In 2001, Sanders returned to the Hill to deliver a second Genet lecture—and to perform the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the Nautica Design Studio. Sanders and Bakke both credit Leon Genet for personally fostering the connection between Nautica and the University that opened the door to this professional learning environment.

Sanders also enjoyed speaking about Nautica and the fashion industry to the students. “I found the students’ questions stimulating—in some ways better than the questions we’re asked by investment analysts,” he says. “Providing this facility seemed like a great way to help the University, the fashion design program, and the students.”

—David Marc

University College

Women Helping Women

Women’s honorary society Eta Pi Upsilon offers more than 15 scholarships annually to female students pursuing part-time study at SU through University College. Each scholarship covers the cost of a three-credit course. “We look for students who are actively pursuing a degree program,” says Nancy Gere O’Neil ’48, president of the Eta Pi Upsilon Alumnae Association. “We also consider financial need and their GPA.”

Eta Pi Upsilon was founded in 1898, and more than a century later the organization still has a profound impact on women’s educational opportunities at SU. “Eta Pi has always been interested in the role of women in society and their need to get an education,” O’Neil says. “In 1996, we decided to really make an effort to raise funds, and launched a three-year fund drive that proved very successful.” The Eta Pi endowment fund, initiated during the 1960s, has grown to more than $300,000 and now benefits 15 to 20 female students each year.

Why would an alumnae association for full-time students target a scholarship fund for part-time students? “We believe women who are juggling work, parenting, and school deserve assistance and consideration,” O’Neil says. Each scholarship is named for an influential alumna, and some families and businesses have endowed scholarships in memory of Eta Pi alumnae.

Patricia Magill, a 2003 Mary Gilmore Smith scholarship recipient, is pursuing a social work degree while raising a daughter, working at a restaurant, and maintaining a 3.44 grade point average. “I never want my daughter to feel I sacrificed her education for my own,” Magill says. “That’s what part-time study does for me.” Magill and other scholarship recipients were invited to an annual recognition luncheon and asked to speak to Eta Pi alumnae about how the scholarships have enhanced their educational experiences. “It’s really nice to be recognized by these women,” Magill adds. “They take an interest in who we are, what we do, and what we struggle with, and encourage us to keep at it.”

“It’s inspiring to hear these women share their goals and aspirations,” says O’Neil, “and it encourages the members to be generous with their donations because they know the money will be put to good use. We are proud of the financial support Eta Pi alumnae have provided through the endowment fund, and look forward to continuing to assist women who want to begin or finish a degree through part-time study at University College.”

—Mary Beth Horsington


Architecture

Yanel De Angel
Architectural models are an integral part of thesis projects. Yanel De Angel G’99 created this one for her presentation, which earned her a Britton award.

 

Symbol of Excellence

James A. Britton Sr. ’25 loved architecture—and he loved to talk about it. After visits to Syracuse University, he would sit down with his son, Jack, in their Massachusetts home and enthusiastically recount the student thesis presentations he had observed. A 1980 recipient of the George Arents Pioneer Medal for his contributions to the field of architecture, Britton frequented SU at thesis time and often served as a guest juror. “Dad would always say, ‘They work so hard on those projects. I wish there was a way to give those students more recognition,’” says Jack Britton, who established the James A. Britton Memorial Award in 1983 in memory of his late father’s dedication and service to the SU community. The award serves as a standard of excellence in the School of Architecture. “The presentation of the Britton awards is a tradition within the school and a way to recognize the exceptional work of our students,” says Arthur McDonald, the school’s interim dean.

Each spring, architecture faculty select approximately 12 undergraduate and graduate students to compete for the awards based on their thesis presentations. An awards jury—consisting of SU faculty, visiting academics, and professionals—then selects the top three thesis projects. Each winner receives a medal and a $2,000 award, and all the competitors are presented with the Dean’s Citation. For Yanel De Angel G’99, a designer at Ayers Saint Gross Architects in Baltimore, winning the prestigious best thesis award opened doors in her career. “The recognition from SU was a testament to my work ethic,” she says. “It helped me earn opportunities to grow.”

The process of selecting award recipients is about more than just competition. “The awards jury promotes an interesting forum for students, guests, and faculty to discuss current issues, discourses, and cultural values within the field,” McDonald says. “The thesis project is also a model for how students will operate professionally. They learn how to prepare research materials, argue their design proposals, and gravitate toward an area of the discipline with which they feel an affinity.”

Gerard Damiani ’90, whose project on urban design and architecture led him to open Studio D’Arc Architects in Pittsburgh, keeps the Britton medal in his office. “It’s a nice memory of past achievements,” he says. “The award symbolizes the excellence of SU and the importance of treating everything you do in a professional manner. It gives you self-confidence to know your work can make a difference.”

—Kate Gaetano

 

 

 

Arts & Sciences

Good Chemistry

Professor Marvin Druger estimates that a quarter of a million new science and math teachers will have to be prepared for the classroom during the next decade to meet the needs of American education. “Despite that tremendous demand, there just isn’t enough support for students who want to teach in the sciences,” says Druger, chair of the Department of Science Teaching and a professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. “That’s why the Bristol-Myers Squibb Good Chemistry Award is so important to us.”

Since 1988, the Syracuse facility of Bristol-Myers Squibb, a diversified international drug company, has made an annual gift of $10,000 to SU, which is awarded to students preparing for careers in science teaching. “The money can be divided among as many deserving students as we name,” says Druger, who selects the recipients with his colleagues on the science teaching faculty. “Of course, the awards help students with their most immediate financial problems. But they have also become our way of saying to students, ‘Hey, you’re doing something important and here’s some support to back that up.’”

The gift is presented each year at the tip-off of an SU home basketball game, bearing the name of a team member who exemplifies “good chemistry” in success at both academics and athletics. Craig Forth ’05 received that honor for the second time last year. “The player gets a plaque—and I get the $10,000 check for the students,” Druger says.

For biology major Jodi Barber ’00, G’03, who decided to seek an M.S. degree in science teaching, the award made a real difference. “I’m a single mother and I suddenly lost my day care provider when my annual income was judged $8 over the eligibility limit,” she says. “The Bristol-Myers Squibb money allowed me to pay for day care for the entire semester and to finish my degree.” Barber is now teaching biology in the Fort Bend, Texas, public school system.

Cheryl Lendrum G’03, who holds B.S. and M.P.S. degrees from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, says the award provided her with some much needed encouragement in finishing the M.S. degree program at the School of Education. “Most importantly, the money allowed me to completely dedicate myself to 12 weeks of student teaching,” says Lendrum, now a doctoral candidate studying college science teaching. “Without it, I would have had to find other employment.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb spokeswoman Pam Brunet sees the Good Chemistry Award as a natural extension of the company’s interests. “We are a scientific business and we know it’s just as important to have great science teachers as it is to have great scientists,” she says. “In fact, you can’t have one without the other. That’s why it’s important to make sure students interested in teaching science are helped as much as possible. We are getting a big bang for the buck in our support for SU.”

—David Marc

 

Newhouse

Cross-Cultural Communication

Arthur S. Liu G’66 will never forget his days as a graduate student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. At that time, the native of China worked 60 hours a week as a restaurant waiter to support his studies. “It was extremely hard to keep up with schoolwork while laboring that many hours,” says Liu, now president and CEO of New York-based Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Inc. “But I needed that income.” This experience prompted Liu to establish the $500,000 Liu Multicultural Scholarships at Newhouse last spring to fund graduate students. “Through the scholarships, I hope to enable students to focus on their schoolwork,” he says.

Through a gift from the Liu Foundation, which Liu and his wife, Yvonne, established, the $10,000 scholarships will be awarded annually to between 5 and 10 Newhouse graduate students. The scholarships will help pay tuition costs for students interested in cross-cultural communication. The Liu gift is the first major influx of scholarship money at the graduate level at Newhouse and will help attract students with top academic credentials.

Newhouse Dean David M. Rubin says the scholarships will play an important role in promoting mutual understanding among people from different countries with diverse cultural backgrounds. “The media are increasingly global in scholarship and in their audience,” Rubin says. “We want to enhance our global perspective by bringing more international students here who are interested in cross-cultural communication, and the Liu scholarships will help us do that.”

Liu Scholar Zheng Qi G’04, a TV-radio-film major, has already begun to accumulate experiences in cross-cultural communication. She earned a B.A. degree in international journalism at Shanghai (China) International Studies University in 1999 and then worked as a reporter for the English-language Shanghai Daily before coming to the United States. “The scholarship eased my financial worries and now I can concentrate on my studies,” Zheng says. “Having worked for a newspaper that is committed to introducing China to the outside world, I fully understand the significance of promoting cross-cultural communication to help people from different countries learn about each other.”

As a successful ethnic media entrepreneur, Liu recognizes the responsibilities and influence of media in the free world—a knowledge he credits to his Newhouse education. His multi-language company now owns 3 cable networks, more than 30 radio stations, and a weekly publication in the United States. “The world becomes smaller each and every day,” he says. “To promote peace on Earth, we must gain a better understanding of different peoples and their cultures, and media are the catalysts of that change.”

—Wanfeng Zhou

 

Law

A Fitting Tribute

The late Alfred Wohl ’34, an All-America lacrosse player and an honors graduate in management, held particularly fond memories of his experiences at Syracuse University and passed on his school pride to his family. Each year, the Wohl family made a trip to campus for Homecoming Weekend, during which Wohl and his wife, Sheila ’34, would reconnect with college friends and give tours of their alma mater to their children. “I remember taking the train—I think it was called the Syracuse Special—from Long Island to Syracuse,” says Michael Wohl, who graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1972 and the College of Law in 1975. “We’d watch the football game or go to the mound at Coyne Field to watch lacrosse games.”

When Alfred Wohl died in 1986, his family knew how to commemorate his life. “He loved Syracuse University more than anything, and we wanted to focus on doing some things that were reflective of his interests,” Michael Wohl says. “My father was a businessman as well as a lawyer, so we decided to fund scholarships in the colleges of law and management. It’s a little bit of immortality for him, and also helps attract better students and elevate the academic status of the University.” Wohl donated money to name the lacrosse practice field after his father as well.

The scholarships have supported dozens of students who have gone on to accomplished careers. “A few recipients became state judges, and we receive letters from previous Wohl Scholars periodically with updates on how they’re doing,” Wohl says. “Although my father was a very modest man and never named anything after himself, I think he’d be happy. Education was important to him.”

Heather M. Cole G’04 decided to come to SU’s law school because of the diversity and strength of its classes and also because she received a Chancellor’s Scholarship. For the past two years, she was named an Alfred Wohl Scholar for her superior performance in the classroom. “The scholarship has helped to alleviate some of the debt I am incurring during law school,” says Cole, who intends on working as a prosecutor in New York City. “For that I am very grateful to the Wohl family.”

—Margaret Costello

 

Human Services & Health Professions

Steve Sartori
Members of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra perform for children from the Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School.


Creative Spark for Kids

During the past two years, children from SU’s Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School explored the world beyond the walls of the school building. They visited museums, worked with an artist, and attended a concert with members of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. The field trips and other projects were made possible through the generosity of Joanne Kerbs Mudd ’69, who donated $25,000 to the College of Human Services and Health Professions to establish the Joanne K. Mudd Cultural Development Fund.

Mudd, a child therapist from Springfield, Virginia, says several ideas were presented to her when she expressed an interest in making a donation, including one focused on the arts and cultural enrichment. “It was easy for me to get excited at the thought of the children visiting museums, hearing music from around the world, and having fun in the process,” she says. Daria Webber, the school’s director, says the funding allowed the school to expand the children’s everyday classroom experiences in art, music, and movement. “One of our goals as early childhood educators is to provide children with activities that help develop an aesthetic awareness and appreciation of the world around them,” she says.

Operated through the college’s Department of Child and Family Studies, the Wright School involves 20 to 25 undergraduate student teachers each semester in the education of 80 to 100 community children and their families.

Last year, Mudd’s grant provided visits to such Syracuse-area places as the Everson Museum of Art, the Museum of Science and Technology, the Center of Ballet and Dance Arts, and the Open Hand Puppet Theater. The fund also supports the school’s biweekly “Toddlers Tango,” which integrates world music and instruments into a movement program. In addition, children participated in a “Symphony Kids” concert, and worked with a visiting artist to construct a fountain for the school’s entranceway. “We have a diverse group of children,” Webber says. “These experiences provide them with opportunities to enhance their artistic and creative development, while becoming aware of the many ways in which people choose to display their creativity, and to appreciate and celebrate differences.”

—Kelly Homan Rodoski

 

Maxwell

Steve Sartori

 

Honoring Palmer’s Leadership

When John Palmer retired last spring after 15 years as dean of the Maxwell School, John White G’64, G’69, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Defense and former chair of the Maxwell School Advisory Board, wanted to do something special to mark the occasion. What emerged was the John L. Palmer Student Excellence Fund. Advisory board members were among the first to contribute. “I hoped they would be generous, and, by George, they were,” White says.

According to Palmer, who will take up a position at Maxwell as a University Professor, the advisory board’s efforts to develop the fund served as a positive means of buffering the transition between deans. “I’m both touched and honored by the establishment of the fund, and I’m pleased that the school and my successor will have these resources to work with,” he says.

The fund raised $1.2 million that will go toward scholarships to attract the most sought-after graduate students in the social sciences. Recipients will be known as Palmer Scholars. Dean Mitchel Wallerstein G’72, Palmer’s successor, will manage the fund and can also use it to support programs and other initiatives. “Our intention is to give flexibility to Dean Wallerstein, so that he may play out his own vision of how best to lead the school,” says Professor Robert McClure, who retired as Maxwell’s senior associate dean last June. “The Palmer fund also pays appropriate