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Scruggs Takes Helm, 3 New Members Elected to University’s Board of Trustees
As Jeff Scruggs assumes his new role as chair of the Board of Trustees, Syracuse University also announces the election of three new trustees. The new members are all highly engaged alumni of the University: Peter Gianesini Jr. ’94, Richard M. Jones ’92, G’95, L’95 and John A. Lally ’82. Outgoing Chair Kathleen A. Walters ’73 will serve as chair emeritus.
All of the newly appointed trustees have also made a significant impact on students at their alma mater through volunteerism, guest lecturing, mentoring, philanthropy and strengthening the web of alumni support for graduates.
“We are so pleased to welcome these three new members to the board and grateful for their time and experience as they contribute to the Syracuse University community in new and meaningful ways,” says Scruggs, whose selection as Board chair-elect was announced in November 2022. “There is a lot of important work ahead and I have no doubt that, together with our existing Trustees, our newest members will help the University advance and achieve its ambitious goals.”
Chancellor Kent Syverud says he is looking forward to working with the new members and with Scruggs, who will serve as chair through May 2027. “Since his appointment to the Board five years ago, Jeff has made a tremendous impact, bringing both financial acumen and a passion for diversity and equity initiatives that create opportunity and a truly welcoming environment for all,” Chancellor Syverud says. “His new fellow Trustees also bring fresh perspectives and a commitment to creating a university where students can thrive and succeed personally and professionally.”
Scruggs is a highly respected member of the global finance community, serving as a managing director at Goldman Sachs, where he is head of the public sector and infrastructure banking group within the Global Banking and Markets division. Prior to joining Goldman in 2008, Scruggs worked for PaineWebber Inc. (which became UBS Financial Services) for almost 20 years.
Scruggs is deeply connected to Syracuse University through his father, Dr. Otey Scruggs, who taught history in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs for 25 years. Shortly after his father died, Scruggs was named to the Board of Trustees and became a leading voice on issues related to finance and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.
Scruggs’ history of service to the Board includes engagement on the Free Speech Trustee Advisory Group, Finance Committee, Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion, Advisory Committee on University Climate, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility, and Steam Station Ad Hoc Workgroup. He is also a member of the Maxwell School Advisory Board. In 2020, he received the Dritz Rookie Trustee of the Year Award for outstanding Board service.
He and his wife, Robbin Mitchell, have provided lead gifts for the establishment of the Otey and Barbara Scruggs Maxwell School Scholarship, the Otey and Barbara Scruggs History Fund and the Otey and Barbara Scruggs Scholarship. They have also supported initiatives at the Maxwell School and the Barnes Center at The Arch.
Jeff and Robbin have two children, a son and daughter, and live in Manhattan.
Peter Gianesini Jr. ’94
Peter “Pete” Gianesini has worked for ESPN for more than 25 years, starting as a part-time production assistant and rising to become its current senior director, digital audio programming. He oversees content and operations for ESPN’s podcast portfolio and managed several popular radio shows, including “The Mike Tirico Podcast” featuring fellow esteemed alumnus and Trustee Mike Tirico ’88.
Before ESPN, he was a producer at WRCH/WZMX in Hartford, Connecticut, and an on-air anchor and producer for WHEN AM/FM in Syracuse. He has also been involved in supporting ESPN’s partnership with the V Foundation for Cancer Research as a longtime member of the V Week Committee and the ESPY Day Auction since its inception.
Gianesini earned a B.S. in broadcast journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and remains involved as an alumnus with the radio station that helped shape his career, WAER. He gives guest lectures to classes and mentors students from Newhouse and WAER through work-shadowing opportunities, resume review sessions and career advice.
Gianesini is actively engaged with the Alumni Club of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts and joined the Syracuse University Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2019. He currently serves as its president-elect and previously chaired the Clubs Committee. He is a committee member for the National Campaign Council, representing regional alumni clubs.
Gianesini lives in Central Connecticut with his wife, Julie, and daughter, Isabelle.
Richard M. Jones ’92, G’95, L’95
Richard “Rich” Jones serves as executive vice president, general tax counsel and chief veteran officer for Paramount Global, overseeing worldwide tax planning, structuring, treasury, strategy, operations, litigation and legislative matters for the company, along with all veteran-related initiatives and programming for Paramount.
Prior to joining Viacom in 2005 (ViacomCBS changed its name to Paramount Global in 2022), Jones was vice president, senior tax counsel and assistant treasurer for General Electric (NBCUniversal). Before joining General Electric in 2003, he spent more than a decade as both a certified public accountant and tax lawyer with Ernst & Young, as a leader in its media and entertainment and transaction advisory services practices. He also served as a law clerk for the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, in the chambers of the Honorable Judge John P. Balio.
Jones was a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, where he served honorably as a member of the 10th Mountain Division and the 75th Ranger Regiment. He is a frequent and noted lecturer for Bloomberg and the Practising Law Institute where he is a member of the faculty. He is admitted to practice before the courts of New York, Connecticut and the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
He earned a B.S. degree and an M.S. degree in accounting from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, with honors, and a J.D. from the College of Law, with honors. In addition, Jones holds a 1998 LL.M. degree from Boston University School of Law.
Jones is a member of the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) Advisory Board and chair of the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs Advisory Board. He was a member of the Joseph I. Lubin School of Accounting Advisory Board in Whitman and a member of the College of Law’s Syracuse University Law Alumni Association Board of Directors. He received the Arents Award in 2014 and philanthropically supports initiatives in the IVMF, College of Law and Whitman School.
Jones lives with his wife, Robin G’95, in Bedford Corners, New York, and has two adult children.
John A. Lally ’82
John A. Lally started working for PCB Piezotronics Inc. after graduating from Syracuse University in 1982, eventually becoming president and CEO of the engineering firm specializing in the design and manufacturing of specialized sensors for the measurement of dynamic pressure, force and vibration. Over three decades, he grew the company into a global industry leader with 2,000 employees worldwide innovating products for diverse industries, before selling the firm in 2016 to a publicly held company.
A student-athlete and three-year football letterman, Lally earned a B.S. from the Whitman School, with a double major in marketing and transportation and distribution management.
The former offensive lineman was honored in 2011 by the Syracuse Football Club with the Zunic Award, given to former players who exemplify core values of dedication to their community and philanthropy. In 2017, Lally and his wife, Laura, donated $1 million to resurface the football practice facility field and in 2019 donated $25 million to Syracuse Athletics, establishing the John A. Lally Athletics Complex as part of the Athletic Framework. In 2022, he was named LetterWinner of Distinction by Syracuse Athletics and the Varsity Club.
Lally is involved with several charity organizations, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Big Brothers Big Sisters, the American Heart Association, Hospice, Wings of Hope and, most recently, Challenger Baseball. Through the Lally Foundation, John and Laura fund several high school and college scholarship programs. An avid outdoorsman, Lally enjoys fishing and owns OrangeLine Equine, LLC, with investment Saddlebred horses located in Lexington, Kentucky, and Land O’ Lakes, Florida.
The Lallys reside in the Tampa, Florida, area and have two adult children, Caitlin and Jack.
About Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university that advances knowledge across disciplines to drive breakthrough discoveries and breakout leadership. Our collection of 13 schools and colleges with over 200 customizable majors close the gap between education and action, so students can take on the world. In and beyond the classroom, we connect people, perspectives and practices to solve interconnected challenges with interdisciplinary approaches. Together, we’re a powerful community that moves ideas, individuals and impact beyond what’s possible.