On Friday, Jan. 13, the University’s first Renée Crown Professors in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) were formally recognized. Heidi Hehnly, associate professor of biology, is the Renée Crown Honors Professor in the Sciences and Mathematics, and Karin…
Jeffrey M. Scruggs Selected to Lead Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees
Syracuse University today announced that Jeffrey M. Scruggs, a highly engaged trustee and respected member of the global finance community, has been selected to lead the University’s Board of Trustees, succeeding current Board Chair Kathleen A. Walters ’73, whose term concludes in May 2023. The members of the Board of Trustees unanimously elected Scruggs, who becomes the first person of color to serve as Board chair.
Scruggs, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School, has a deeply personal connection to Syracuse University. His father, Otey Scruggs, was an award-winning professor of history in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs from 1969 until his retirement in 1995, and was considered a pioneer in the field of African American history. Otey Scruggs died in 2014. In 2018, his son Jeffrey was appointed to the Syracuse University Board of Trustees and quickly became a leading voice on issues related to finance and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.
“I am both honored and grateful to have been selected by my peers to serve as Board chair,” says Scruggs. “Having worked alongside these incredibly committed members of the Board and closely with University leadership during challenging and unprecedented times over the last several years, I consider this appointment a privilege and a blessing. During the last several years, I have been impressed with the genuine passion and support demonstrated by my fellow trustees, Chancellor Kent Syverud and others in the Orange community. I take on this role knowing that I have exceptionally strong colleagues who are fiercely committed to advancing the vision and mission of Syracuse University.”
“Jeff’s financial acumen is unmatched,” says Walters. “But it is his generosity of spirit that has made him an outstanding trustee. He is committed to creating an extraordinary experience for each and every one of our students that honors the diversity of thoughts, perspectives and culture that each one brings to our community.”
“Jeff is the kind of trustee most valued by leadership,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “He brings a wealth of professional leadership experience and business expertise, and is committed to doing the hard work. He is passionate about equity and opportunity in higher education. And, he believes deeply in accountability and delivering on the promises we make to our students, our faculty and our entire campus community.”
In April 2021, Scruggs was named to co-lead the Board’s Advisory Committee on University Climate, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility after serving as co-lead on the Board’s Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion that was constituted in December 2019. Recommendations from the Special Committee included investing $50 million to identifying, hiring and retaining a more diverse full-time faculty; enriching and modernizing the curriculum; enhancing the residential student experience; strengthening and prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility across all training, programming and facilities planning; and reimagining the role of the Department of Public Safety. In his work on the Board’s Advisory Committee, Scruggs was charged with providing oversight of the University’s efforts to foster a more diverse and inclusive culture and a welcoming and equitable campus environment and promised “to support the long-term work that will bring lasting and meaningful change to our community.”
“Jeff is uniquely qualified to lead this Board in the stewardship of the University’s educational mission and resources,” says Steven W. Barnes ’82 H’19, chairman emeritus of the Board of Trustees. “By any measure—his passion for Syracuse University, his knowledge of the higher education landscape, his professional stature and accomplishments, and the respect and admiration of his colleagues, we are so fortunate that Jeff Scruggs will serve this great university as the next chair of the Board of Trustees.”
In 2021, Scruggs served on the search committee to select the University’s new chief diversity and inclusion officer, and in 2022 also served on the search committee to select the new chief financial officer. Presently, he serves as Finance Committee chair. Scruggs is also a member of the Board’s Executive Committee and the Free Speech Trustee Advisory Group. He also serves as an Advisory Board member to the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Scruggs and his wife Robbin E. Mitchell funded a lecture series in the Department of History to honor his father and created the Otey and Barbara Scruggs Maxwell School Scholarship with a long-term gift commitment to provide merit scholarships to undergraduate students enrolled across the Maxwell School disciplines, with preference given to students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement. The scholarship is designed to help the Maxwell School and the University retain undergraduates who have already begun to prove their capabilities and potential, and to help support racial, cultural and gender diversity within the student body.
Scruggs joined Goldman Sachs in 2008 as a managing director after more than 20 years in the financial sector, almost all as an investment banker with PaineWebber Incorporated and UBS Securities. He left UBS Securities after serving as managing director and director of the Public Finance Investment Banking Group. For the past 12 years, Scruggs has been the head or co-head of the Public Sector and Infrastructure Group within the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs.
His wife Robbin Mitchell, who also earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, is senior advisor for the Boston Consulting Group, focusing on retail within the Consumer Practice Area. They have two children, a son and daughter, and live in Manhattan.