Area colleges to focus on community
All five college presidents in the Syracuse area came together for the first time on stage Tuesday night to discuss ‘The Academy’s Role in Community Development.’
The Maxwell Central New York Alumni Association and the Office of Career and Alumni Services sponsored the forum, held at the Maxwell Auditorium. The event emphasized the theme of Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s inaugural year, ‘Exploring the Soul of Syracuse.’
Along with Cantor, panelists included the Rev. Charles Beirne, president of LeMoyne College; Gregory Eastwood, president of SUNY Upstate Medical University; Cornelius B. Murphy, president of State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; and Debbie Sydow, president of SUNY Onondaga Community College.
Mitchel Wallerstein, the dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, moderated the panel.
Beirne began the discussion, saying how LeMoyne, the first co-ed Jesuit college in the country, is achieving ‘academic excellence through a deeply rooted faith tradition.’ The colleges are complimenting one another, not competing, Beirne said.
The college’s mission is to create a stable connection with the community, since many LeMoyne graduates settle in the Syracuse area after graduation, Beirne said.
‘The strength of an institute is in the interactive nature of its excellence,’ said Cantor.
Reiterating SU’s integration with the city’s south side throughout the forum, she described that a sustained presence is needed to make this possible, such as putting programs, buildings and people in downtown, she said.
‘All programs are at the heart of our excellence,’ Cantor said.
Cantor discussed the placement of a box office in downtown Syracuse. She hopes to bring a taste of the university arts downtown by getting the best programs off the hill and into the community.
Vincent Cobb, a freshman political philosophy and policy studies major, as well as a Syracuse native, fully supports Cantor’s desire to incorporate the university with the city.
‘Her point to engage the community with the academia is a great opportunity for the community,’ Cobb said.
Onondaga Community College is also bringing the arts to its campus through Syracuse Stage and the Everson Museum.
‘It is the community’s opportunity to participate in the arts and attend high quality cultural events,’ said Sydow. Introducing the arts in this atmosphere will ecourage students to go on to learn to appreciate them in the future, she said.
Service to the community is key in Upstate Medical University’s mission statement, Eastwood said. University Hospital, which has over 6,000 employees, and the university itself, are consciously integrating programs with the community.
Medical students volunteer their time at free clinics. After the events of Sept. 11, a center for emergency preparedness developed plans for critical situations. There is also a full reading library that is open to the public, Eastwood said.
Eastwood encouraged the other institutions to follow in the footsteps of Upstate and embrace a smoke-free indoor and outdoor environment. About 13 percent of the employees at Upstate smoke, and while some are offended by the programs, others are embracing it. The goal is to be completely smoke-free by Aug. 1.
Murphy described a college created on the basis of public service. With ESF students producing a combined effort of 61,000 hours of community service, Murphy said the potential impact on a body of people by these students is greater than what he could achieve alone.
ESF’s positive impacts can especially be seen on the city’s south side, where youth have no purpose in their lives, Murphy said.
‘Students have the ability to positively impact that,’ Murphy said.
During the summer, ESF will be opening up the campus to over a 100 young people so that they will be able to experience the campus firsthand.
The community needs to understand and change the perception of OCC as a last resort, but rather as a smart college choice, said Sydow.
‘We prepare students for careers that exist in Central New York,’ said Sydow.
The college plays a large role in the community; after graduation, 90 percent of students stay in Central New York, Sydow said.
‘(The forum) raised a lot of good points about how students need to get off the hill and become more involved in the community,’ said Talia Roselli, a sophomore communications and rhetorical studies major.
Thomas Wolfe is leaving his position as senior vice president and dean of student affairs to become the new president of Iliff School of Theology… Read more »
UPDATED: MAY 15, 4:35 p.m. Syracuse University students will soon see new living options in downtown Syracuse, after a new construction company revamps a vacant… Read more »
Syracuse-Yale pits strength against strength. The Orange offense has spent the better part of the season dissecting, and eventually obliterating the defenses standing in its… Read more »