Derek Davis had not been on the Syracuse University campus more than a week in 2015 before being swept up in the excitement of a once-in-a-lifetime discovery that would thrill the astrophysics world and thrust the gravitational-wave research community onto…
SU establishes new Division of Advancement and External Affairs
Kevin C. Quinn
Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor today announced that the University has established a new Division of Advancement and External Affairs.
To more effectively serve the University’s external agendas, the new division will strategically unify into one single team the central administrative personnel and resources in the areas of communications and marketing, development, alumni relations, admissions marketing and external relations, which are currently assigned across a variety of units.
This consolidation will allow the University to more strategically employ the resources it currently devotes to these areas and determine where duplication and overlap exist. Unifying these efforts will also more strategically cultivate support for The Campaign for Syracuse University, raise SU’s visibility and reputation, strengthen the University’s geographical reach in an increasingly competitive student recruitment environment, and find opportunities to create new partnerships and programs locally, nationally and globally.
The Division of Advancement and External Affairs will be led by Thomas Walsh. Walsh, currently senior vice president for institutional advancement, has been named by the Chancellor and the University’s Board of Trustees as the new executive vice president for advancement and external affairs. With this appointment, Walsh will join Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Louis G. Marcoccia as the core executive team to the Chancellor.
“This change recognizes that the boundaries in all of these areas―public affairs, admissions marketing, development, engagement and alumni relations―are porous,” says Chancellor Cantor. “Everyone brings their own expertise to the table, but all are dependent on each other to do their jobs in the most effective way. At the same time, we are in an environment in which we have asked administrative units to take reductions and are doing everything we can to provide more aid to students. This is an opportunity to continue to advance in a very disciplined way by combining similar functions into a single unit and finding duplication both in the core missions and the administrative operations in these critical areas. Tom is the perfect person to lead this new consolidated division.”
“All of these changes will help build upon the momentum that SU has been experiencing across the areas united under the new division,” Walsh says. “Beyond the efficiencies that we’re sure to gain from this realignment, we’re going to be better positioned to seize upon the enthusiasm among the SU family for Scholarship in Action, increase support for the campaign and translate the increasing attraction to this vision among constituencies across the country and around the world into concrete engagement.”
Kevin Quinn, currently vice president for public affairs, has been promoted to senior vice president for public affairs in recognition of the role he has taken in expanding visibility for SU and articulating the University’s vision. In this role, Quinn, who recently assumed leadership of the University’s government and community relations portfolio, will continue to report directly to the Chancellor on important communications and policy-shaping activities. The existing Public Affairs units will continue to report to Quinn, with a new reporting line to Walsh for these units.
“During the past several years, working together with Tom and his staff, Kevin has made great strides in developing a comprehensive strategy to tell the SU story to the world,” says Cantor. “We are fortunate to have his keen instincts and broad expertise in the area of public relations, communications and government affairs.”
“This new structure is exactly what we need to take our efforts to the next level,” Quinn says. “With Tom and his staff, we are creating one core team that will make us more effective and allow us to target our resources in the most strategic and efficient manner possible―all while creating new opportunities to raise the University’s visibility, reputation and resources.”
Recognizing how critical the student recruitment process is to the overall strength of the University, the new division will have a direct relationship with the Admissions Office. This will formalize the work the division’s communications and marketing staff are already doing with Admissions staff and result in a more integrated and effective marketing strategy. Continuing to report to Vice Chancellor and Provost Spina on the overall enrollment management portfolio, Don Saleh, vice president for enrollment management, will have a reporting line to Walsh in the area of admissions marketing.
“There are a lot of good opportunities for synergy here,” Saleh says. “The new structure will help to dramatically increase our recruitment presence in key regions by enhancing our visibility. It will also foster more unified marketing efforts and communication messages. Lastly, the newly organized division can help us better capitalize on existing University networks by providing access to interested alumni and contributing expert assistance in the area of event planning and management.”
The core focus of the new division is: public affairs; admissions marketing; development and The Campaign for Syracuse University; alumni affairs and engagement; and external affairs.
To ensure the campaign continues its strong positive momentum, Brian Sischo, currently associate vice president for development and campaign director, has been named vice president for development. In this role, all aspects of development will be centralized under Sischo’s leadership, ensuring that resources dedicated to these areas are utilized in the most strategic and effective manner possible.
To ensure the University continues to galvanize alumni and communities of experts across the nation and world, and expand its programmatic engagement reach, Chuck Merrihew, currently associate vice president for engagement initiatives, has been named vice president for administration and engagement. Merrihew will oversee the implementation strategies of the division’s external activities and provide comprehensive administrative and budgetary support for the new division.
One of the University’s central geographies of opportunity has always been New York City, which is home to the second-largest concentration of SU alumni and remains a key portal for new resources and support. To expand and strengthen SU’s presence there, Ruth Kaplan, currently executive director of public affairs and marketing based at Lubin House, has been named vice president for external affairs. She will lead the full portfolio of external affairs in New York City.