A new chapter for Bea Gonzalez

Photo: Vice President of Community Engagement Bea GonzalezAs Syracuse University continues to implement the bold ideas outlined in the Academic Strategic Plan and Campus Framework, Bea González, a key member of Chancellor Kent Syverud’s executive team, has taken on a new expanded portfolio.

González is now responsible for leading and advancing the University’s community investment efforts, following the approval of the Board of Trustees Executive Committee at its last meeting. González continues as a special assistant to the Chancellor and liaison to the Posse Foundation Scholarship Program. To accommodate her expanded role, however, González stepped down as dean of University College in February.

“Bea is perfectly situated to create new partnerships and build on existing relationships with local governments and municipalities, foundations, corporations, and nonprofit organizations,” says Chancellor Syverud. “Bea has been a champion of our community, and of students from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences for nearly four decades. There is no one better to lead Syracuse University’s robust and impactful portfolio of community-connected initiatives.”


In this new role, González is tasked with conceptualizing, creating, and implementing new strategies and partnerships to the benefit of the University and community stakeholders. Her work will also build on the success of past initiatives aimed at strengthening the Syracuse University community and enhancing the University’s reach.

“Syracuse University has a long and proud history of partnering with and supporting local communities and regional initiatives,” says González. “This is an exciting new chapter in my career. I look forward to working closely with University leadership and community stakeholders to take our investment in local communities to the next level. Enhancing the lives of all members of our community has and will always be at the heart of my professional work.”

In addition to her many years of leadership at Syracuse University, González has a distinguished public service record, having been elected to public office three times. In 2001, she became the first Latino/a to be elected president of the City of Syracuse Common Council. She also served on the Syracuse City School District’s Board of Education.

In her new position, González will report to and collaborate closely with Chancellor Syverud and J. Michael Haynie, who was named vice chancellor of strategic initiatives and innovations in June.

Vernon E. Jordan Jr. to deliver 2017 Commencement address

Photo: Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., civil rights activist, business executive and attorney, will deliver the 2017 Commencement address at the ceremony for Syracuse University on Sunday, May 14, at the Carrier Dome. Jordan will also be awarded an honorary degree, a Doctor of Laws, at the 163rd Commencement exercises.

“Vernon Jordan has been a leading American civil rights leader and public policy advisor for more than 50 years,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “Our graduates will benefit from hearing Mr. Jordan’s insights and perspective on the global society they are about to enter. His vast experience and success in government and business, combined with his commitment to a civil and just society, will inspire our students as they set off to chart their own course in the world.”

Jordan is a senior managing director of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC in New York. There, he works with a diverse group of clients across a broad range of industries. Prior to joining Lazard, Jordan was senior executive partner with the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he remains senior counsel. There, Jordan practiced general, corporate, legislative and international law in Washington, D.C.

In 1992, Jordan served as chairman of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Transition Team. He has held several presidential appointments, including the President’s Advisory Committee for the Points of Light Initiative Foundation and the Advisory Council on Social Security.

“I’m grateful to Syracuse University for this honor. It has been 60 years since I graduated from college, and I’m eager to share with the Class of 2017 and the Syracuse community my thoughts on, and the need for, our shared fight for justice,” says Jordan.

“Our graduating class is fortunate to have someone as distinguished as Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. as our Commencement speaker,” says Senior Class Marshal Rachel Brown-Weinstock. “His address will be an exciting part of graduation, and I know my fellow classmates will be inspired by his story.”

Senior Class Marshal Nedda Sarshar is also looking forward to Commencement and hearing Jordan’s charge to the Class of 2017.

“Vernon Jordan has wisdom beyond measure and has experienced things none of us can even imagine,” says Sarshar. “I am eager to hear his perspective as we prepare to make our own marks on the world.”

As a young attorney practicing in Arkansas and Georgia, Jordan was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He served as Georgia field director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council. He later served as president and CEO of the National Urban League and executive director of the United Negro College Fund.

A list of the other honorary degree candidates will be announced soon. For full information on Commencement 2017, visit commencement.syr.edu.

Our Time Has Come celebrates 30th anniversary

Photo: OTHC scholar at CommencementSince 1987, the Our Time Has Come (OTHC) Scholarship has created opportunity for Syracuse University’s African American and Latino students. It has also served as the launch pad to success in careers and public service for countless alumni.

Borne out of conversations between former Program Development leaders Robert Hill and Evelyn Walker and alumnus David Bing ’66, H’06, OTHC began with the realization that no one understood the challenges of African American and Latino students better than African American and Latino alumni. That shared experience would inspire alumni to support scholarships that would create and promote a diverse student body.

Bing was recruited as the first campaign chair, and he eagerly accepted the invitation. As a student in the 1960s, Bing recalls being one of only about a hundred African American students on campus. “By starting this program and making it very public, I felt we could provide scholarship support to increase the numbers of students of color on campus,” he says.

A scholarship recipient himself, Bing knew the importance of achieving a successful campaign. “Many of us received financial aid during our years at Syracuse so we can appreciate the importance of scholarships.” says Bing. “Now that we’re in the position to do so, I felt it was important to give back and help students of promise succeed.”

The first OTHC campaign raised $1.2 million by 1995, including seven endowed scholarships funded by:

  •    David Bing ’66, H’06
  •    Wayne K. Brown ’78
  •    Frank Carmona ’78 and
  •    Leon O. Woods ’65, ’85

A second five-year fundraising effort  under the leadership of Larry Martin increased the total to $3.1 million, and added additional named endowments from:

  •    Former SU Trustee Ragan Henry
  •    Eleanor and Richard T. Johnson ’52
  •    Lois and Martin J. Whitman ’49, H’08, and
  •    Corning Inc.

Subsequent endowments have been established by:

  •    The Alpha Kappa Alpha Iota Upsilon Chapter
  •    the Black Celestial Choral Ensemble
  •    the Class of 1974
  •    Delta Sigma Theta
  •    Gisele Marcus ’89
  •    Homer L. Harrison
  •    Keith Brown ’82 and Victor Holman ’82
  •    Angela Y. Robinson ’78
  •    the Syracuse 8, and
  •    an endowed scholarship in public communications.

Despite amazing progress over the past three decades, strengthening the scholarship for future generations is more important than ever. Learn more about how you can support African American and Latino students by giving to the Our Time Has Come Scholarship.

Read more about this story in the Spring issue of Syracuse Manuscript.

DC-area alumni gather at pre-CBT reception March 1

Photo: Alumni at Washington, DC pre-CBT reception The Office of Program Development kicked off its first Pre-Coming Back Together (CBT) reception in D.C. on March 1. It was the first stop in a nationwide series of events to promote CBT (September 14-17). African American and Latino alumni gathered at D.C.’s Cuba Libre Restaurant to reunite and share memories of their time on campus as well as catch up on their post-collegiate lives.

Cuba Libre’s high ceilings, plant-covered trellises, and flowers provided the perfect backdrop for the event, which felt like it was taking place in a tropical grotto. The buzz for CBT appears to be strong already; nearly everyone who attended registered. Plenty of D.C., Maryland, and Virginia alumni will be headed to Syracuse this fall!

CBT co-chair Jesse Mejia ’97 co-hosted the event with Rachel Vassel ’91, assistant vice president of the Office of Program Development. In welcoming remarks, Mejia took a moment to talk about the deep love alumni share for SU and how they are deeply committed to the University for the opportunities they found there.

“Regardless of when they graduated, the love of SU was consistent and in high spirits,” said Mejia. “The conversations I had with many alumni was that ‘I will be there! I am not missing CBT. We need to keep on giving.’ Many are looking forward to seeing old friends and some even said that they have been to every CBT since its inception.”

Stay tuned for a recap of our next Pre-CBT reception in Atlanta. And be sure to register for the upcoming receptions in Los Angeles (April 13), New York City (April 20), and Syracuse (April 27).

In the meantime, check out the Facebook album from the reception and be sure to like, comment, and share.

Black History Month: MacDonald and Mayes Honored with Trailblazer Award

Photo: Professor Emeritus David MacDonald and associate professor Janis Mayes

SU students, faculty, alumni, and Syracuse residents came out for the Black Lounge celebration on Saturday, Feb. 11. Rachel Vassel, assistant vice president of the Office of Program Development, and Cedric T. Bolton, coordinator of student engagement in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, presented David MacDonald and Janis A. Mayes with the annual Trailblazer Award during the celebration and dinner. The Trailblazer Award recognizes those who personify exemplary leadership, selfless acts, and dedication to Syracuse University.

MacDonald’s artistic works are heavily inspired by his investigation of his African heritage and the surface decoration seen in the many ethnic groups of sub-Saharan Africa. His work is in the permanent collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey, and Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse. He is also co-founder of the Community Folk Art Center.

Mayes’s research and teaching interests focus on African and diaspora literatures in French and English languages, international black women’s writing and literary translation practice and studies. She is also the director and creator of Paris Noir, a joint program of the College of Arts and Sciences and SU Abroad, which takes students to Paris to explore the influence of black culture and literature.

“We are pleased to recognize and celebrate the many contributions Janis and David have made to the Syracuse University community, especially their contributions to the arts and to the many students who have been influenced and impacted by their teaching,” says Angela Morales-Patterson, assistant director of alumni and donor engagement in the Office of Program Development.

The event was co-sponsored by the Black Artist League, Black Graduate Student Association, Office of Program Development, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Student African American Society.  The event featured musical headliner Riff, an R&B vocal group from Paterson, New Jersey, featured in the film, Lean on Me, a movie based on events that took place at their high school, Eastside High. Artists ASV “On Fire for God,” Charity Luster, TANKSLEY and DJ Maestro also performed.

“The Black Lounge is a signature event of our Black History Month celebration where we celebrate aspects of black music, art and culture,” says Cedric T. Bolton, coordinator of student engagement in the Office of Multicultural Affairs. “Each year we are pleased to partner with many great organizations to honor members of our community, enjoy music, and support independent and emerging black artists.”


Our Supporters Make First-Ever Online Campaign a Success

Graphic: SU campaign graphic - interlocked handsIn December, the Office of Program Development looked to Facebook to create and launch a digital ad campaign to reach the department’s audience in a space they frequent. Five Our Time Has Come (OTHC) Scholars were featured in short video clips for the campaign. In each, they share the importance and effect the scholarship had on their lives and the opportunities it provides. One is a first-generation college student, while others are able to focus on doing well in class without worrying about finances, striving to be a forensic scientist, work in bioengineering or advertising.

By all measures, the campaign was a success. It generated $23,029 and thousands of  video views. While this particular campaign may be over, it is never too late to support students of color like the OTHC Scholars.


Mark Jackson Named Executive Director of Program Development

Photo: Mark Jackson, Executive Director of Program DevelopmentMark Jackson has been appointed the new executive director of program development in the Division of Advancement and External Affairs. Jackson, who was administrator of business and human resources for District 4 of the Ohio Department of Transportation, began in his new role in November. Read more.

Countdown to CBT XII

Mark your calendar! Coming Back Together 2017 takes place September 14–17, 2017. Join us for another unforgettable weekend of celebrating, reminiscing, and getting reacquainted with our ever-changing campus. Share your excitement and plans on social media using the hashtag #CBTXII.

See you in:




Q & A with New College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise

Photo: College of Law Dean Craig BoiseCraig M. Boise began his new role on July 1. He recently sat down with Scott McDowell at Lubin House in New York City to talk about his priorities for the college, react to his first semester, and share a bit about his interests beyond law. Read more.