In 1978, Cliff Ensley ’69, ’70, G’71 had an idea to start his own business and just $2,500 to do it. He was used to taking on challenges—there was no stopping him. Growing up, he struggled with a learning disability—at…
Fetner Family Gift Launches Syracuse University NYC-Based Experiential Learning Collaboration
A generous gift from Syracuse University Trustee Harold (Hal) Fetner ’83 and his wife, Nina, will help establish the creation of an experiential learning collaboration in New York City between the Whitman School and the School of Architecture.
The two schools will each receive an equivalent amount to establish a joint summer experiential learning initiative in NYC, launching in May 2019, which combines all aspects of modern development: real estate, architecture, finance, accounting, and entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises.
Classes for this synergistic new program will be held at the University’s Fisher Center, one of the University’s two educational facilities in Manhattan. Architecture students will take courses in business and real estate practices, while Whitman students will learn sustainability and design. All students will complete an internship at an architecture, finance or real estate firm, and work together in teams on a summer-long project to produce a comprehensive real estate business plan and design concept based on real sites in the city.
Both the Whitman School and the School of Architecture have successfully established programming in NYC that harnesses the University’s vast and powerful alumni network and corporate partnerships, including career exploration trips; week-long courses during winter and summer breaks for Whitman students; and Syracuse Architecture in NYC, a semester-long program open to School of Architecture students.
According to both deans, the new collaborative real estate and architecture program supported by the Fetner family gift will leverage the strengths of each program with the abundance of available and invaluable assets and opportunities in NYC for Syracuse University students.
“Thanks to the financial and personal support of Hal and Nina Fetner, our two great schools will be able to create a variety of collaborative, experiential learning opportunities for our students studying in New York City: from internships in architecture and real estate development firms to team-based design and development projects and everything in-between,” says School of Architecture Dean Michael Speaks. “We are also planning a series of short courses, workshops, lectures and symposia that will engage the larger Syracuse University architecture and real estate community and provide our students, alum and supporters a platform to meet, exchange ideas and expand their academic and professional networks. Ultimately, this new collaborative initiative will show what can be accomplished when great supporters, great schools and a great university all work together.”
“With the generous support of the Fetner family, the collaborative efforts of the Whitman School and the School of Architecture, and the utilization of Syracuse University’s close ties in NYC, this new initiative will not only enhance classroom learning but expose students to a wide variety of new opportunities that will make them better prepared for their careers and help to expand their professional network,” says Whitman School Dean Gene Anderson.
This gift was inspired by the Fetner family’s commitment to supporting transformative learning experiences for students, a commitment also shared by both Dean Anderson and Dean Speaks.
“Nina and I are passionate about providing opportunities. When we make decisions about where and how to give our support, that is the basis for our decisions—will it provide a valuable opportunity that helps someone achieve success?” says Hal Fetner, CEO of Fetner Properties. “We believe that partnering with these two exemplary schools to bring students to NYC for a collaborative experience in real estate and architecture, where they will learn from accomplished professors and professionals who are the top of their field, will truly be transformative. It is our pleasure to help bring this opportunity to fruition.”
The Fetner family has a long-standing history of support of Syracuse University. The family created the Fetner Program fund, a scholarship focusing on sustainable studies at the Whitman School, from which Hal Fetner graduated. The family also established the Fetner Sustainability Series at Syracuse University, which brings industry leaders and other guest speakers to campus, as well as the Fetner Prize in Sustainable Enterprise, a monetary prize awarded to the finalist of the Whitman School’s Panasci Business Plan Competition.
Beyond philanthropic efforts, Hal Fetner also gives his time and expertise to the University by sharing his vast professional experience in classes, which he recently did during an entrepreneurial deal-making course offered by the Whitman School in NYC. In addition to his recent appointment to the University’s Board of Trustees, he serves on the Whitman Advisory Council and the Whitman Real Estate Advisory Board.