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    Alumnus Winston Fisher Commits $250,000 Challenge Gift to Kick Start Metro NYC Regional Campaign

    October 9, 2011

    Winston Fisher '96Urges Syracuse University alums and friends to give to Orange Metro Fund

    The five-year Campaign for Syracuse University has launched the fourth of its regional campaigns in the metro New York City area—the geographic region with the highest concentration of SU alumni, parents, and friends. To support the effort, Syracuse University trustee and New York City resident Winston Fisher ’96 has committed a generous $250,000 challenge gift to encourage giving to the Orange Metro Fund.

    The Orange Metro Fund was recently established to provide financial support for academic programs that place students in the heart of New York City for hands-on experiential learning opportunities. All new cash gifts made to the Orange Metro fund between October 1, 2011, and May 31, 2012, will be matched with an equal amount, up to a total of $250,000.

    Fisher knows firsthand the opportunities that a metro hub like NYC can bring to students. He has funded and created his own NYC-based immersion program, the Winston Fisher Seminar. The annual, five-day spring break experience for undergraduates is based at the Park Avenue offices of the family-owned Fisher Brothers real estate firm, where students enhance their critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills while receiving a hands-on introduction to the world of business.

    “SU has leveraged NYC’s diverse urban business and cultural environment, developing many New York City-based opportunities for students that are one of a kind,” Fisher says. “My hope is that this type of experiential programming in NYC will strengthen and grow. As someone who has created a program of this nature, I can see the true value it brings to students. I hope my gift spurs other alums to see this incredible value, too.”

    In addition to giving to the Orange Metro Fund, donors to the NYC fundraising effort can choose to direct their gifts to any part of the University that is meaningful to them—from individual schools and colleges to academic programs, the general scholarship fund, athletics, and student services like the Syracuse University Library and Hendricks Chapel. Undesignated gifts are used to support the University’s highest priorities.

    “Our ties to New York City are very strong, from the Lubin House to the nearly 3,000 SU students who currently hail from the area to an alumni network that’s 45,000 strong. You don’t have to look far to see Orange,” says Jeff Sperber, executive director of development, New York metropolitan region. “Our NYC alumni and friends are also great ambassadors for SU. We have many who volunteer their time hosting alumni gatherings, school and college lectures and events and, in general, help spread the word in the area about Syracuse University’s strengths, values, and vision of Scholarship in Action.”

    Karen Spear, executive director of regional advancement, says the primary purpose of these regionally focused initiatives is to motivate alumni to become more actively involved with their alma mater. “Our success will be measured not only by the total dollar amount raised, but by the increase in the number of new donors and young alumni who participate in giving, and by the number of alumni who step forward to volunteer as mentors, campus speakers or alumni representatives for the admissions office,” she explains. “By volunteering their time and talents, including the University in their philanthropic priorities, and providing opportunities for internships and immersion programs, our alumni and friends can have an immediate impact on students who are just getting their start in life.”

    “We are very grateful to Winston for the incredible support he has shown to the University. When we connect our alumni leaders with today’s students for one-day field trips, or week- or semester-long immersion programs—whether in industries like real estate, entertainment and the arts, or many others—our students experience real-world learning that’s unparalleled,” says Tom Walsh executive vice president for Advancement and External Affairs. He adds, “Our programming in NYC is a terrific example of our belief in ‘education for the world, in the world.’”

    To date, regional campaigns have been completed in Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. The regional effort in NYC will continue through May 31, 2012, with other upcoming regional campaigns scheduled in Chicago and San Francisco.

    As of September 30, 2011, The Campaign for Syracuse University has raised a total of $910,652,910 with a little over one year left to achieve its $1 billion campaign goal. “Focusing our energies on these geographic areas will ensure that everyone is invited to be part of SU’s campaign,” says Brian Sischo, vice president for development and director of The Campaign for Syracuse University. “When we get to the end of the campaign, we want to be able to say we engaged our friends and alumni in an urgent and personal way to help move Syracuse University forward.”