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Senior Vice President Eleanor Ware to retire in June after 31 years at SU
Kevin C. Quinn
Come June 30, Senior Vice President for Human Services and Government Relations Eleanor Ware will conclude a career that spans 31 years and three administrations (Chancellors Eggers, Shaw and Cantor) at Syracuse University.
“Throughout her career at the University, Eleanor has advanced to the highest levels because she has been viewed by so many as incredibly valuable to the institution,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “That is why during her more than 30 years here she has been given an increasing portfolio of very critical, yet diverse responsibilities-from Public Safety to Human Resources to Hendricks Chapel to Archives & Records and Government Relations. Figuratively and literally, no one individual can replace her. For me personally Eleanor has been a tremendous source of support, advice and knowledge, and she did it all with her usual grace under pressure style. She will be missed.”
Ware is responsible for several key areas of the University-the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Government and Community Relations, the Department of Public Safety, Hendricks Chapel, Archives & Records Management-in addition to serving as secretary to SU’s Board of Trustees.
“Eleanor epitomizes grace under pressure. Whenever there is a looming deadline, a key meeting or an actual crisis, Eleanor is always a calming voice of reason and wisdom,” says John Chapple ’75, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Without exception, she approaches issues in a reassuring and thoughtful manner and always with a smile.
“Eleanor handles so many duties for SU I was always concerned if she had time for much of a personal life,” Chapple says. “Over the holidays, I gave Eleanor a knitted cap made by my son’s clothing company. Later she told me she used it while tobogganing with her grandchildren. That made my day as Eleanor has given all of us so much and has exemplified all that is good at SU that envisioning her romping in the snow with her grandkids seemed so right in every way.”
“I’ve been associated with Eleanor and worked with her for over 10 years,” says John Couri ’63, chair emeritus of the Board of Trustees. “During this time she has been a real asset to Syracuse University and an effective leader in her many areas of responsibility. She has been a real friend and has always handled her position in a practical and efficient manner. We thank her for all of her help over the years and wish her the best in her retirement.”
“Working closely with the Chancellor and the trustees has been a special joy for me,” Ware says. “We have an outstanding board that has always been very supportive of the University, and our current members are continuing that tradition, exhibiting great leadership during these difficult economic times.”
Second career began at SU
After graduating magna cum laude from Queens College of the City University of New York in 1960, Ware enjoyed a long career as a teacher in the New York City school system specializing in early childhood education before moving to Syracuse in 1976. Unable to find a teaching position, she applied to SU and was hired as a receptionist in the College for Human Development Dean’s Office in 1978.
She was named administrative assistant to then-Chancellor Melvin A. Eggers in 1980 and became his executive assistant, executive director of government relations and a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet in 1985. She also received her M.B.A. from SU that year.
“Mel was a wonderful mentor and career coach, always propelling me forward, saying ‘get your M.B.A., do this project, do that project, take on new responsibilities,'” Ware says, recalling Chancellor Eggers.
In 1991, she served as a member of incoming Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw’s transition team and Cabinet, and also was elected secretary to the Board of Trustees, which included responsibility for the University’s archives and the new records management function. She worked on special projects, which included the transfer of University Place and College Place from the City of Syracuse to the University and the campus-wide implementation of the continuous improvement initiative known as SUIQ.
She was also heavily involved in the strategies of the University’s restructuring efforts under Chancellor Shaw in the 1990s. “It was a very interesting and challenging time,” Ware says.
Toward the end of the restructuring period, in 1995, two senior administrators, Harvey Kaiser and Joan Carpenter, retired and the departments under them were reassigned. DPS, Hendricks Chapel and Human Resources were added to Ware’s portfolio, and she was named vice president.
Four years later, in 2001, she became senior vice president for human services and government relations.
In 2004, Ware assisted with another Chancellor transition and embarked on a new era as Nancy Cantor succeeded Shaw and assumed the leadership of the University. “I have so enjoyed working with Nancy the past few years. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and she constantly challenges those around her to exceed expectations,” Ware says. “I am proud of my contributions toward achieving Nancy’s vision for the University and will miss our collaborations.”
Retirement brings reallocation of responsibilities
Ware’s impending retirement necessitates an administrative transition in which her responsibilities and reporting units within the Division of Human Services and Government Relations will be redistributed.
Subject to election by the Board of Trustees at its May meeting, Lil Breul O’Rourke will become secretary to the board in addition to her current responsibilities as vice president for principal gifts in the Division of Institutional Advancement.
Hendricks Chapel will report to Thomas V. Wolfe, senior vice president and dean of student affairs.
The Department of Public Safety will be overseen jointly by Wolfe and by Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Louis G. Marcoccia.
To better integrate the human resources functions across administrative areas and Academic Affairs, the Office of Human Resources will report jointly to Marcoccia and to Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina.
The Office of Government and Community Relations will report to Vice President for Public Affairs Kevin C. Quinn.
Assistant Chancellor Trudy Morritz will assume responsibility for Archives & Records Management and the policy office, and will lead the University Policy Committee.
It’s a wrap
Looking back on more than three decades at the University, Ware is proud not only of what she has accomplished but also of the achievements of each unit in Human Services and Government Relations. “This is a very disparate group in terms of responsibilities, but there is a great collaborative spirit among the directors and their reports, and they have an impressive record of successes,” she says.
“This has been a wonderful place to have a career,” Ware says. “While I once thought I was a good teacher and that’s what I’d be doing all of my life, I don’t regret for a minute the direction in which my career has gone since coming to SU. It has been an action-packed 31 years and I’ve loved every minute of it. I am a little sad about leaving the University, but now I’ve reached a place where I really want to do some other things.”
What exactly those “other things” are remains open-ended. Ware intends to spend more time with family, including six grown children who are SU alumni and seven grandchildren. She also retains a strong interest in early childhood education, particularly for disadvantaged children.