On Sunday, Sept. 19, graduates from the Class of 2020 were honored in a Commencement ceremony in the stadium after an in-person Commencement in May 2020 had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Time to Celebrate
It’s a day of enduring traditions and youthful exuberance. It’s a day for celebration and community. And it’s only happened less than a dozen times before in Syracuse University’s 144-year history.
The University will inaugurate its next leader on Friday, April 11, as Kent Syverud is officially installed as Syracuse University’s 12th Chancellor and President.
Along with the inaugural ceremony at Hendricks Chapel, the day will include a 1.2-mile run with the Chancellor, an academic symposium, a student competition on inaugural-inspired projects and a celebration on the Quad with members of the campus community and public invited to join Chancellor Syverud for food, music and entertainment.
“The inauguration events will really bring the campus together, providing a unifying start to the new Chancellor’s tenure,” says Patrick Neary G’10, president of the Graduate Student Organization and a member of the inauguration committee.
Boris Gresely ’15, Student Association president and an inauguration committee member, agrees this is an opportunity for the University community to share their affinity for Syracuse and welcome its new Chancellor.
“This day will mark a new era for Syracuse University, and for students to be a part of this exciting day will allow for understanding of what the Chancellor will bring forth both for them and for the future,” says Gresely, a political science and policy studies major. “It is a great honor for every student to witness this event that makes such a meaningful impact on Syracuse University.”
The formal inauguration will include the distinguished traditions of this solemn event to mark the University’s foundation of excellence and the installation of its new leader.
“The inauguration is a chance to reflect on the University’s history and continuity throughout the years,” says Newhouse School Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Public Communications Hub Brown, a committee member. “One of the things about a campus is that you have transitory populations. This ceremony says there is an institution here that we all come together around from many generations.”
That’s why committee members say it’s an important day for the entire campus community, alumni and all those touched by the University.
“The whole campus is invited to pause and celebrate a new beginning, while recognizing this University’s tremendous history of institutional accomplishment,” says committee member Lisa Dolak L’88, the Angela S. Cooney Professor of Law.
This celebration is also a historic time for Syracuse University.
“It is only the twelfth time in our University’s history that this has happened,” says Tom Walsh, executive vice president of advancement and external affairs. “At each of those junctures, there’s been opportunities and challenges for the University that the leaders at that point have risen to or addressed. We find ourselves again at that juncture of an exciting time—to which we say it’s a new day to move forward.”
In the details of organizing such a significant event, an emphasis was purposefully on the students.
“It was very important to the Chancellor and the committee that there be a strong student voice in this—that the students have an opportunity to be fully engaged—and so the Fast Forward competition came about,” Walsh says.
Students were asked to submit their ideas on an element of work at Syracuse that demonstrates how a great, private institution like Syracuse and its students can have a positive impact on the world. Winning entrants will pitch their ideas on inauguration day for the chance to win $1,500 to complete their projects.
Neary has already seen many of the video entries for Fast Forward and has been inspired by the content.
“It’s a great showcase of student ideas, right in the center of the day’s activities,” says Neary, a Ph.D. student in mathematics. “The student focus of the events really makes the day meaningful to students—it is clear that we are a central focus of the University and Chancellor Syverud’s plans for the future.”
All of the day’s events were also meant to bring together the various disciplines and give the community a chance to consider how the University is unique.
Brown looks forward to the symposium and what the participants will share in regards to as how they see the future of the University.
“We don’t get that many chances as a faculty to talk across schools and colleges about what we see as the future,” Brown says. “That’s going to be very constructive for the University.”
Neary is excited for many more conversations about the direction of the University.
“Chancellor Syverud is always deeply interested in what I and other students have to say,” Neary says. “He makes it clear that we will have discussions, generate plans and then execute on these plans to get real progress accomplished.”
The inauguration day events are the following:
7 a.m. Inaugural Run with Chancellor
Students, faculty and staff are invited to join the Chancellor in a run across campus. Read more.
10:30 a.m. Academic Symposium: “Great Universities in the Next 25 Years”
Participants from a variety of disciplines will discuss topics of interest to universities now and in the future. The event in the Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium in Crouse College is open to the campus community. Read more.
2 p.m. Fast Forward Student Showcase
Syracuse University students will pitch their ideas for new inaugural-inspired projects at this event in Hergenhan Auditorium, Newhouse 3, with winning students being given grants of as much as $1,500 to fund their projects. Read more.
4 p.m. Inauguration Ceremony
The inauguration will take place inside Hendricks Chapel with the academic procession into the chapel beginning at 3:30 p.m. Along with remarks by Chancellor Syverud and greetings from members of the Syracuse University community, the inauguration will include reflections by U.S. Supreme Court Justice (retired) Sandra Day O’Connor, for whom Chancellor Syverud served as law clerk in 1984.
Tickets are required for the ceremony, but the event will be available via live webcast at http://inauguration.syr.edu and will be broadcast to viewing locations at Watson Theater, Newhouse 3 Room 141, Crouse-Hinds Hall Auditorium and Grant Auditorium at the College of Law. A large screen under the heated tent on the Shaw Quad will also show the ceremony live. Read more.
5:15-6:30 p.m. Inaugural Reception
Following the ceremony, all members of the campus community are invited to attend a reception with Chancellor Syverud and enjoy food, music and entertainment under the tent on the Quad. Tickets are not required for this event.
For more information about any of the events and to register for the morning run in advance, visit http://inauguration.syr.edu.