Adrian Prieto Named Director of Development for University’s Office of Program Development

The Office of Program Development has announced the appointment of 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.

In this capacity, Prieto will work to secure major gifts from black and Latino alumni and increase overall giving among diverse alumni generally. He will also work on corporate partnerships for the Coming Back Together reunion and the endowed scholarship fund, and on fundraisers and donor events.

Prieto comes to Syracuse from Cornell University, where he established a strong record of success in a range of fund-raising and relationship-building roles with increasing levels of responsibility. He most recently served as assistant director for external relations for Cornell’s College of Business and assistant director for corporate relations for the School of Hotel Administration. In those capacities, he took a lead role in corporate fund-raising in all areas of real estate at Cornell, managed two advisory boards, managed multiple company and corporate relationships, and generated fund support for large-scale events.

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University Awarded $4 Million to Boost Retention of Minority Students in STEM

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $4 million grant to Syracuse University to lead an effort to develop and implement strategies for augmenting the number of underrepresented minority students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs of study and careers.

The five-year grant, which runs through 2022, was awarded as part of the NSF’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program to support the continued work of the Upstate New York LSAMP alliance. Led by Syracuse University, the alliance will use the funding to further expand on its efforts to improve 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. In addition to Syracuse, the Upstate alliance includes Onondaga Community College, which will serve as co-lead for the project; Clarkson University; Cornell University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Rochester Institute of Technology; and Monroe Community College.

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Five Alumni to Receive Chancellor’s Citations at CBT 2017 in September

Five notable alumni will be awarded Chancellor’s Citations during the Coming Back Together (CBT) African American and Latino alumni reunion this fall. Organized by the Office of Program Development, CBT will be held Sept. 14-17.

The five citation winners will be honored Saturday, Sept. 16, at the CBT dinner gala at the Syracuse Marriott Downtown (formerly the Hotel Syracuse).

During the special presentation, the honorees will each receive a citation from Chancellor Kent Syverud and a commemorative plate created by David MacDonald, emeritus professor of studio arts.

“This event honors outstanding members of Syracuse University’s alumni community,” Chancellor Syverud says. “These five alumni are exceptional professionals who are inspiring to the next generation. They are wonderful representations of the Orange spirit and commitment to giving back.”

Awarded to African American and Latino alumni during CBT, the Chancellor’s Citation serves to recognize the significant civic or career achievements by the selected winners. Since 1983, the ceremony has been a signature event presented at the triennial Coming Back Together reunion.

“This year, our Chancellor’s Citation winners are exceptional,” says Rachel Vassel, assistant vice president, Office of Program Development. “They are not only accomplished leaders in their fields, but also generous University donors. We are grateful for their willingness to pay it forward to benefit the next generation.”

Read about the honorees at SU News.

First SU African American Woman Civil Engineering Graduate Finds Things Have Changed for the Better

Priscilla Tyree Williams ’86 holds a unique distinction at Syracuse University. She is the first African American woman to have graduated with a civil engineering degree from SU. Today, she oversees the implementation of the capital improvement program for the City of Raleigh, North Carolina, Construction Management Division as the city’s construction projects administrator. And she is an ardent supporter of the College of Engineering and Computer Science—generously giving back to the college for the past 10 years.

But if you had told her when she was an 18-year-old college student that her relationship with the college would eventually be so strong, she would have had her doubts.

“There were times when I did not feel supported during my time at Syracuse. That made it very difficult for me. It made me question if I was even cut out to be an engineer,” says Tyree Williams.

Unfortunately, experiences like hers are all too common for women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). While progress has been made, these disciplines have a historically poor track record of inclusion at a societal level. The fact that she earned her degree in the face of these obstacles is due in large part to sheer determination; however, key relationships and occurrences brightened her overall SU experience over time, and eventually inspired her to embrace her alma mater and her calling as an engineer.

Read the full story at SU News.

Ryan Gross Named 2017 Tillman Scholar

Ryan Gross grew up hearing stories about his grandfathers’ military experiences during World War II, leading tank units through the Battle of the Bulge and serving on a Navy destroyer in the Pacific. Inspired by their service, he accepted a commission in the U.S. Army as a military intelligence officer. After his deployment with an infantry battalion in Baghdad, Gross transitioned from the Army to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), where he leads intelligence analysis.

Gross, a student in Syracuse University’s #1-ranked master of public administration program in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, has been named a 2017 Tillman Scholar in a cohort of 61 U.S. service members, veterans and military spouses across the nation. The newly named class, funded by the Pat Tillman Foundation, will receive more than $1.1 million in scholarships to pursue higher education degrees.

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Vera House Recognizes Barry L. Wells with 2017 Sister Mary Vera Award

Recognizing his long-standing advocacy and commitment to the work of Vera House, Barry L. Wells, special assistant to Chancellor Kent Syverud, will be presented the 2017 Sister Mary Vera Award at Vera House’s annual summer luncheon. The Sister Mary Vera 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.

“I am absolutely thrilled that our board of directors unanimously chose Barry Wells as the recipient of this year’s Sister Mary Vera Award.  I believe that Barry truly embodies the spirit of Sister Mary Vera, through his passionate support of our mission, his tenacious pursuit of justice and his refusal to let obstacles sway him from his vision,” says Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman.

While Wells’ involvement with Vera House spans nearly 15 years, his efforts to combat sexual and relationship violence began in 1990 as an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, when he served as the college’s liaison to the former University R.A.P.E. Center. This work evolved into years of service on committees and task forces that have advanced the University’s efforts in sexual and relationship violence prevention, adjudication and policies. He brought this same commitment to his then-role as senior vice president and dean of Student Affairs, promoting sexual and relationship violence prevention and education efforts and raising awareness of the ways in which domestic and sexual violence impact individuals and communities. His work today continues today as a member of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence and a steadfast advocate for creating a world free from violence.

“I am grateful for Barry’s continued leadership in sexual and relationship violence prevention and advocacy on this campus and throughout the community,” says Chancellor Syverud. “This well-deserved honor recognizes his dedicated efforts for nearly three decades as an opponent of sexual and relationship violence and an unwavering supporter of the Vera House mission.”

“To receive this award from Vera House, an organization I admire and appreciate so much, makes me grateful,” says Wells. “More importantly, it energizes me to do more to combat sexual and relationship violence in our community.”

Following his decades of involvement in this important work, Wells was eager to bring his commitment, experience and advocacy to Vera House in a leadership capacity in 2003. He served on the Vera House Foundation Board of Trustees for five years, led the White Ribbon Campaign as honorary chair in 2005 and, along with wife Claudette P. McGowan-Wells, served as Home for the Holidays Gala Honorary Chairs in 2006. Under his leadership, not only did fundraising increase, but he also prompted important dialogue across the community. His call to action then and now remains the same: “end the silence about domestic violence.”

Among many honors, he is the recipient of a YWCA Academy of Diversity Achievers Award, a Citizen of the Year Award from Temple Adath Yesharun, a Distinguished Community Service Award from the Department of African American Studies and a Syracuse University Chancellor’s Citation for Distinguished Service. In honor of his outstanding contributions to the institution and its students, Syracuse University named the WellsLink Leadership Program after him.

He currently serves on the board of the Eat To Live Food Cooperative and has served on numerous community boards, including the Dunbar Association, the Salvation Army, the Community Folk Art Center, Syracuse Stage and the Central New York Community Foundation.

Wells has also served as a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators James E. Scott Academy for Leadership and Executive Effectiveness Advisory Board and is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Along with the Sister Mary Vera Recognition Award, Vera House will present the Vera House Special Appreciation Awards and the Annette Briggs Memorial Award. Gina Pauline, associate professor and undergraduate director of sport management in Falk College, will receive one of the Special Appreciation Awards for her leadership in the creation of the charity golf tournament with the sport venue and event management graduate program. The inaugural tournament held in 2016, which benefited Vera House, resulted in a $15,000 donation. Final tallies are in progress for the 2017 tournament to benefit Vera House, which was held on May 8.

The Annual Recognition and Celebration Luncheon is June 13. For more information, visit the Vera House website.

Read the original story at SU News.

Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. to Deliver Syracuse University’s 2017 Commencement Address

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.”

Read more at SU News.