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    Family Makes Commitment to Architecture

    May 2, 2017


    The School of Architecture (SOA) at Syracuse University consistently lands in the top tier of “Best Of” lists. Just this year DesignIntelligence, the bimonthly journal of the Design Futures Council and considered the leading source of school rankings within the design sector, ranked the undergraduate program #3 while the graduate program landed at #8. The Bachelor’s program has remained in the top ten every year since 2004.

    Success such as this, however, cannot happen without the generous support of alumni, friends and parents. If the SOA is to remain a leader in the field and stay ahead of its competitors then it must provide the latest technology in classrooms and workspaces and consistently draw on the best faculty to train students.

    Impressed by the vision of School of Architecture, Dean Michael Speaks one family of a current SU student from the New York metro region recently contributed more than $100,000 to the Architecture Parents’ Fund. “We had gone through graduate school in science in very old lab spaces and while this is okay, we know what new facilities can do to help students,” says the mother of a current architecture student. “Thus, when my husband and I were presented with an opportunity to help renovate the spaces--for all students to benefit from-- we were glad to do so. We know how much a good, well-designed space for doing specific work can help with creativity and collaboration. While one can be creative in any environment, having the right environment makes it all that much better!”

    “We are enormously grateful for this special gift,” says Dean Michael Speaks. “We will now be able to directly invest in our student experience, renovating studio spaces to accommodate a contemporary, modern and functional teaching space. Studio is the foundation of architecture education and we are thrilled we can now enhance these learning environments.”

    The donors call the Dean humble but also see a man who is driven and a visionary. “We loved that Dean Speaks is building bridges globally and stressing independence and creativity in the students within the department,” they say.

    “We love that he is not trying to create a group of out of touch elitist architects but rather architects who will be connected with communities and the problems faced by real people around the world,” say the donors. “The students in the department are not doing ‘theoretical work’ but are really thinking about critical, real world problems like revitalizing urban centers, providing housing for underserved communities, and green architecture.”

    New to the Orange family these parents have come to love the SU school spirit and developed a newfound interest in college basketball. The family has witnessed the power of Orange first-hand as well. “We have found that many of our neighbors and friends have a connection to Syracuse and wearing our Syracuse sweatshirts around town will often prompt conversations--the alumni network is really great!”