Alumni community both welcomes, regrets news of Cantor’s 2014 departure
Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s decision to leave Syracuse University when her contract ends in 2014 was described as a shock by members of the university alumni community, who both welcomed and regretted the news.
SU Alumni Association President Brian Spector, who became active with the alumni community around the same time Cantor joined the university in 2004, said the announcement indicates “the end of a very exciting and great era, especially for alumni.”
“Alumni in the last eight and a half, nine years feel much better about the university because they have a bigger role, they have a bigger part,” Spector said.
He said Cantor has gone out of her way to involve alumni in community initiatives such as the local work through the Connective Corridor and Cold Case Justice Initiative.
Cantor has also expanded the university’s image on a global and national scale, he said. During her time at SU, the university has increased efforts nationally in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago, and globally in Dubai and Istanbul.
As chancellor-elect, Cantor wrote a message to alumni, published in Syracuse University Magazine, about their importance and how she hoped they would continue to interact with their alma mater.
“As alumni, you are one of the University’s most valuable links to the world. You represent a great pool of talent from which we can draw ideas and advice, as well as an intergenerational connection for students now on campus,” she said in the message.
Spector praised the chancellor for meeting conflict head on in a job that’s “not always been easy.” Everything she has done, Spector said she has done with “Nancy style,” with poise, class and a vision of Syracuse as not just an institution, but a way of life.
SU was known primarily for its sports program ten to 15 years ago, said Kim Brown, assistant director for Alumni Programs at SU Career Services and a 2006 alumna.
Today, SU is not only more recognizable on a national scale, but is also respected in the community, thanks to Cantor’s balance between campus and citywide efforts, Brown said.
“She’s a good tenant in the city where she’s been living,” she said.
In the greater alumni community and on Twitter, alumni reaction to the news was split. Some tweeted they were shocked and saddened by the news, while others welcomed the news, using hashtags like “#bringbackbuzzshaw,” referring to Kenneth “Buzz” Shaw, who preceded Cantor as chancellor.
Angelo DiCarlo, who graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism in 2005, said the news of Cantor’s departure means he will begin donating to the university. DiCarlo worked at HillTV between 2001 and 2005, just before Cantor revoked HillTV’s status as a recognized student organization in fall 2005, after repeated airings of offensive content by former entertainment program ‘Over the Hill.’
DiCarlo said he agreed that the program was in the wrong when it aired the content, but disagreed with how Cantor handled the situation and made a promise with other alumni to never donate to SU during Cantor’s tenure.
“I’m sure she did a lot of good things, but I felt there were things she did not do correctly,” DiCarlo said. DiCarlo, who is now a sports anchor at WNDU in South Bend, Ind., said he is now saving up to make a donation to SU in two years.
Other alumni who were students during Cantor’s time reflected on the initiatives Cantor pushed in the city. Many said she will be missed and described her effect on both campus and in the city as “tremendous.”
“I am very excited for her and I am proud to say that I attended SU while she was there,” said Mairead Kiernan, who graduated in May and is now working at Texas Tech University, in an email.
Cantor has not indicated what she will be doing after ending her tenure as SU chancellor. Spector, as well as other alumni, have wished Cantor the best in her future career moves.
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