Actor-singer Taye Diggs ’93 returns to campus for Coming Back Together book signing

Photo: Taye Diggs ’93
Entertainer Taye Diggs ’93

Most people know Taye Diggs ’93 as an award-winning actor and singer, but when he participates in this week’s Coming Back Together reunion for African American and Latino alumni, he will do so as a best-selling author.

Diggs is the creator of Mixed Me! (2015) and Chocolate Me! (2011), children’s books that address issues of race and identity. On Saturday, Sept. 16, he will discuss and sign copies of both books from 12:30-2:30 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium. That his longtime friend and former classmate Shane Evans ’93 illustrated them gives the event added significance. Read more.

Get involved: CBT engagement opportunities

Graphic: Southside Art Mural Project logo

There are a multitude of programs, educational and enlightening workshops, entertainment, and numerous activities during CBT weekend. Because of this, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the events that will allow you, our returning alumni and friends, to connect and engage with our black and Latino students. Our young scholars are excited to meet you and gain the insights and knowledge that will propel them forward as they graduate and go out into our cities and communities.

Community Service Project

Graphic: APD solutions logo

On Thursday, September 14, we have a community service project that will take place on the city’s Southside. Join Vaughn Irons ’93, author of the Southside revitalization plan and CEO of APD Solutions (the key organizing partner of the Southside Art Mural Project) and artist London Ladd ’06 to prepare a mural for the project.

From 2:30-4 p.m., volunteers will focus on mural prep, which includes staging setup, clearing the adjacent storage area, painting the base coat on the two walls, and putting up the project sign.

If you indicated interest in this event, in the coming days you will receive an email from the Office of Program Development asking for confirmation of your participation. RSVPs will be used to make transport and work plans, so be sure to respond.

Chancellor’s 5K Run/Walk/Roll

Friday, September 15, this 5K benefits the Undergraduate Black/Hispanic Endowed Scholarship. Your $10 registration goes directly to this scholarship, which is a part of the Our Time Has Come Scholarship Fund! Register online; onsite registration begins on the Quad at 6:30 a.m.​ The run begins at 7 a.m. at Archbold Gymnasium.

Alumni/Student Breakfast Mixer

On September 15, from 8-10 a.m., this informal breakfast is a low-key way to hear from our students, what they are doing, and how we can enhance their college experience by offering real-world advice. The Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Black Leadership Network, Friends of Syracuse, and LANSU host this mixer, which takes place in the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center.

Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month Parade and Reception

Also on September 15, the LHHM Committee invites alumni to attend the opening ceremony for Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month. All alumni and students are encouraged to bring the flag of their country. The LHHM program starts with a parade on the Einhorn Family Walk at 11 a.m., followed by a celebration gathering in the Schine Student Center’s Panasci Lounge at 11:30 a.m. This event will include the reading of the LHHM Proclamation.

Community Folk Art Center Open House

Saturday, September 16, we encourage you to head to the Community Folk Art Center (CFAC) Open House, located at 805 East Genesee Street. The event runs from 4:30 to6:30 p.m.

A treasure located in the heart of the Syracuse community, CFAC values its role as a vibrant cultural and artistic hub committed to the promotion and development of artists of the African Diaspora. CFAC’s mission is to exalt cultural and artistic pluralism by collecting, exhibiting, teaching, and interpreting the visual and expressive arts. Public programming includes exhibitions, film screenings, gallery talks, workshops, and courses in studio and performing arts. A proud unit of the Department of African American Studies at Syracuse University, CFAC is a beacon of artistry, creativity, and cultural expression engaging the Syracuse community, the region, and the world.

CBT Celebrity Classic Basketball Game: September 14

Photo: Basketball going through hoop BUY TICKETS

We are excited to announce the all-new CBT Celebrity Classic Basketball Game. This new Coming Back Together event will feature Orange greats Derrick Coleman ’90, Lazarus Sims ’96, Lawrence Moten ’95, Etan Thomas ’00, and Davita Carpenter ’91, Eric Devendorf ’09, Roland Grimes ’86, Mark Pryor ’90, Tatiana Warren ’04, and more. Open to students, alumni, and the Syracuse community, proceeds from the game will benefit the Undergraduate Black-Hispanic Endowed Scholarship Fund.

“When planning CBT 2017 we were exploring ideas for new events that would be fun and unique to our weekend while also raising money for our important scholarship funds,” says Rachel Vassel ’91, assistant vice president, Office of Program Development. “It is our hope that the CBT Celebrity Classic, which fits the bill perfectly, will appeal to people on the Hill and off. We want to see alumni and local families coming out, cheering on the players, and just having a great time with their friends and neighbors.”

Tickets for CBT registrants are $10 through August 24. On August 25, gymnasium ticket prices increase to $20. Starting on August 25, on-site auditorium seating (simulcast screening of the game, but not live viewing) tickets are available for $10. Tickets are limited. Proceeds benefit Syracuse University’s Our Time Has Come Endowed Scholarship for Black and Latino students in need. Tickets are available online and at the door. *Please note, this event is not included in CBT registration.

Sponsored by the Syracuse University Office of Program Development, in partnership with the City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs.


University awarded $4M for minority retention in STEM

Photo: STEM grant investigators Tamara Hamilton, Dawn Johnson, Andria Staniec, Michele Wheatly, and Julie White, The National Science Foundation grant will support recruitment, academic success, and persistence of traditionally underrepresented minority students in STEM majors; strengthen the pipeline from community college to four-year study; and develop best practices for better supporting and retaining underrepresented students in STEM fields of study. Read more.

Welcome Adrian Prieto!

Photo: Adrian PrietoAs the director of development, Prieto will work to secure major gifts from black and Latino alumni and increase overall giving among diverse alumni.

The Office of Program Development has appointed Adrian Prieto as its director of development. The appointment, which took effect Monday, June 26, establishes a dedicated gift officer within the office to cultivate and increase giving among the University’s diverse alumni community. Read more.


Bring your flag for the Latino Heritage Parade

Photo: Students marking in the Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month Parade

Bring your family’s national flag and march in the Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month parade during CBT 2017 and stand with our diverse students of color.

In a first for Coming Back Together (CBT), the Office of Program Development (OPD) is proudly partnering with Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, which is set to host Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month (LHHM) from September 15 to October 15. The 12th annual program will feature musical performances, traditional cuisine samplings, dance parties, and compelling speakers. This program provides the campus and local community with a great opportunity to reflect on, learn more about, and experience the richness of Latino American cultures in our society.

The LHHM Committee invites alumni to attend the opening ceremony on September 15, and the OPD team calls on alumni and students celebrating CBT to participate; all are encouraged to bring the flag of their country. The LHHM program starts with a parade on the Einhorn Family Walk at 11 a.m., followed by a celebration gathering in the Schine Student Center’s Panasci Lounge at 11:30 a.m. This event will include the reading of the LHHM Proclamation, details about the month’s history, and a schedule of upcoming programs and student performances, followed by lunch at noon in 304 Schine Student Center.

“As a co-chair of this month-long celebration, along with Marissa Willingham in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, I am thrilled that CBT 2017 falls at the beginning of Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month,” says Angela Morales Patterson, assistant director of alumni and donor engagement in the Office of Program Development. “The timing of this could not have been better. This is a great chance for our diverse alumni returning to campus for reunion to see the spirit of our Latino and Hispanic students and to share a common experience with them that we hope lasts well past this one weekend.”

The celebratory month honors Spanish, Latino American, and Afro-Latino cultures in the United States. September 15 commemorates the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and 18, respectively.

LHHM is one of four celebratory months coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Upcoming heritage months include Native Heritage Month (November), Black History Month (February), and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (April).

A printed calendar of events will be available in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, 105 Schine Student Center, in September. For more information, visit the Office of Multicultural Affairs website, or contact Willingham at 315.443.9676 or

Generation Orange pre-CBT reception

Photo: Generation Orange alumni at a pre-CBT receptionYoung alumni celebrated with a pre-CBT happy hour in NYC on June 15.

Millennial and Gen Z alumni make up Generation Orange, alumni who have graduated within the last 10 years. The purpose of the reception was to introduce alumni to CBT to generate excitement for the event.

Alumni ambassadors Tony Martinez ’89, Max Patino ’98, Oladotun Idowu ’14, and Ingrid Martinez ’15 volunteered to plan the event. “Working on the planning team was an incredible experience for me, especially because these were my classmates,” says Idowu. “The event gave us a taste of what CBT will be like, and it will be even more fun spending CBT weekend together. As SU alumni, we have a special connection and I knew I had to register right away.”

Two hundred guests gathered at Mosafer, a travel store on West 57th Street. Hennesey sponsored the event and a crowd packed the floor to dance to the sound of DJs Shy Guy and Strikah.

“Watching young alumni connect reminded me of my days at SU in the late 80s,” says Martinez. “I was glad to be able to open the store for an event that will encourage CBT attendance among Generation Orange. We need young alumni to be there to keep the legacy going.”

View the photo album and be sure to register for CBT today!

SU Track and Field star Justyn Knight ’18 sets 2017 5K record

Photo: Justyn Knight ’18Justyn Knight ’18 ran the world’s fastest 5K of 2017 at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 5.

In a meet filled with professionals and some of the world’s best distance runners, it was Syracuse junior Justyn Knight who stole the show, posting the world’s best time of 2017 in the 5,000 meters and coming away with the win at the Payton Jordan Invitational.

Then in June, Knight picked up his third top-three finish at an NCAA championship event this season. Read more.

Barry L. Wells honored by Vera House

Photo: Barry L. WellsBarry L. Wells was honored by Vera House for his commitment to domestic and sexual violence prevention and advocacy.

Barry L. Wells, special assistant to Chancellor Kent Syverud, was presented the 2017 Sister Mary Vera Award at Vera House’s annual summer luncheon. The award recognizes an individual who enriches the lives of all people, makes significant contributions to those affected by domestic and sexual violence, and performs this work with the humility, gentleness, and humanitarian spirit reflected by Sister Mary Vera. Read more.