Innovation and Opportunities program

Syverud’s next adviser’s qualifications indicate possible changes to SU

Chancellor Kent Syverud’s new senior advisor will be a big proponent for change.

Jeff Kaplan, a former senior vice president at The Ohio State University will take on his new role at Syracuse University as the senior advisor to the chancellor and president on July 1. According to a memo Syverud released on May 12, Kaplan’s responsibilities include leading the next phase of the Innovation and Opportunities program and advising the chancellor on finding a chief advancement officer.

“Jeff brings a great expertise and a set of valuable administrative experiences from his leadership positions at Vanderbilt University and Ohio State,” Syverud said in the memo.

Gordon Gee, the president of OSU during Kaplan’s tenure, said Syverud and Kaplan knew each other very well from working together at Vanderbilt University, where Gee was chancellor from 2000 to 2007.

Kaplan worked with Gee for five years at Vanderbilt and for another four years at OSU. Gee describes Kaplan as an agent of change, and credits OSU’s success to Kaplan’s changes.

“The strategies that he pursued and the advice he gave launched Ohio State University into the front lengths of American universities,” Gee said. “I like people who are bold, who are risk-takers. He’s all of the above. He’s made his living off of change.”

Kevin Quinn, SU’s senior vice president for public affairs, said in an email that Kaplan will bring “great value to the key initiatives he will lead at Syracuse.” He added that Kaplan’s expertise includes strategic planning, business operations, facilities, enrollment management and athletics.

At OSU, Gee said Kaplan was a problem-solver capable of finding solutions in every aspect on campus.

Kaplan restructured the issues in the school’s medical center, student affairs and the university’s administrative functions – including public safety and building maintenances. Gee added that Kaplan’s biggest expertise is in his management of change.

Gee said Syverud made the right choice in appointing Kaplan as his new advisor.

Said Gee: “He’s probably had more experience about running universities than any person in this country.”



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