Syracuse University has formally entered “The Kent Syverud Years,” as the school’s new chancellor was inaugurated Friday evening.
Syverud took over for Nancy Cantor as the university’s 12th chancellor in January, but the school laid out the orange carpet Friday, and laid on the pomp and circumstance, in a ceremony at Hendricks Chapel.
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor – whom Syverud clerked for – attended the event and gave brief remarks. She said Syracuse University and Syverud are “a great match.”
"He’s a good listener. He’s a good doer. And we always got the job done in my chambers," she said. "And we always remembered to have fun while doing it."
Syverud outlined four goals he has for the university during his tenure: Make the liberal arts program the envy of its peers; improve its research programs; embrace change; and be the best university for veterans.
"We want the best, unentitled, scrappy, engaged students in the world to want to come here. And when they come here, we want them to have opportunities and experiences that are so distinctive," Syverud said.
He said the college won’t get there through a single plan or slogan.
"Our university’s direction should be inspired and empowered by the insights of all our people, not dictated by one chancellor, like me," he said. "Syracuse, in contrast, is animated by something greater than you or me, or any of us; by the pursuit of truth and all the good that learning can do for so many communities that matter."
Syverud grew up outside of Rochester in the town of Irondequoit. He came to Syracuse from Washington University in St. Louis.
He has impressed the university community so far by living in a dormitory before starting his job; and through weekly emails to students and staff.