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Chancellor Syverud Discusses Progress on Library Facilities, I-81 and Forever Orange Campaign
In his remarks to the University Senate today, Chancellor Kent Syverud introduced Provost Gretchen Ritter and provided updates on construction of the Library Storage Facility addition, potential impacts of the I-81 Corridor Project and the progress of the Forever Orange Campaign.
The full text of his remarks is below.
Thanks, I am going to be brief.
Shortly, Provost Ritter will address the University Senate for the first time. With her arrival on campus, I really think we have the leadership in place that we need to continue to refine and make progress toward the University’s strategic goals. Allen Groves and Cerri Banks also have already made an impact on the student experience since they have been here, just since July. Together, these leaders will be leading our efforts to advance academic excellence in a university welcoming to all. It is on all of us to work with them, to support them and to work across departments and units to achieve this strategic goal.
Before I turn it over to the provost, I just want to update you on a couple of things that have been of interest to the Senate in the past.
This is the Library Storage Facility addition. The project is well underway. This photo is from a month ago. This addition will provide 14,000 square feet of high-density shelving, which will nearly double the facility’s capacity and its storage for rare and unique collections in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment. Steel framing has begun and will be complete in November. The targeted final completion date is Feb. 1, 2022. So, progress on that area of interest to the Senate.
Just in case you have been unaware of all Syracuse-related media for the last decade, there are plans to replace the viaduct on I-81. That’s the one the runs alongside campus at the bottom of the hill. Syracuse University is supportive of the community grid plan. The University has been, since the Senate met last April, meeting intensively with state and federal leaders throughout the planning process. That includes a visit from Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in June to extend his support for the project. The comment period ended on Oct. 14, which is an important process point. The early stages of the project will start pretty soon. The early stages focus on the I-481 corridor. It will be probably late 2023 or early 2024 before the viaduct comes down and we see the effects directly adjacent to the main campus. So, the main impact coming in the next 18 months to two years will be the rebuilding of I-481, which will primarily affect all of the Syracuse University community that comes in from 180 degrees of the metropolitan area from the north around the east to the south. We’ll be following that closely. We have an extensive team working on that project, including supporting plans to make it an opportunity to help the community and the neighborhood and the integration of the University with the neighborhood.
The Forever Orange Campaign has been going great guns since we last spoke. We are focused on fundraising for our faculty and students. We have raised additional financial aid, including endowed scholarships. We have raised funds for research and for 18 new professorships and chairs. I am pleased to share that the University’s Forever Orange Campaign has raised a total of $1.045 billion toward the goal of $1.5 billion. This means that the Forever Orange Campaign has exceeded the previous campaign’s goal of $1.044 billion. So, basically the University has now raised more than ever before in a campaign in its history.
Here you can see a list of the 18 professorships and chairs now created, pursuant to the Forever Orange campaign. We have worked closely with the advancement team, with the deans, with the provost and the student experience team to say that in the final third of the campaign, we are particularly focused on making academic progress. And that means that the focus of the final third of the campaign is particularly on academic programs, more endowed faculty positions and more student scholarships and fellowships.
Finally, I just want to end by thanking everybody for creating a robust living and learning environment on campus. We have a range of in-person activities going on on campus. Faculty are teaching in-person, some outdoors of course, and intense activities are happening almost on all fronts as they normally would, with adjustments such as masking. And, of course, pulling that off has required terrific work by faculty and staff behind the scenes to work as best we can to keep people as safe as we can.
I thank everyone for the return to normal campus life this semester. I know it’s taken a lot out of you. It’s so critical, I believe, to the mental and social health of our students to have the full range of campus activities in person. Again, we have had a lot of important events since the Senate last met, including Family Weekend, fans returning to the stadium and most of all, our students are happy to be here and experiencing the campus the way it was pre-pandemic. I know from talking to many students that they appreciate that you are working so hard to do this and grateful to you who are making it happen.
Thank you, and I will take questions after Provost Ritter’s remarks.