AC ’15 welcomed to Syracuse by SU chancellor
On behalf of 21,000 students and thousands of faculty and staff at Syracuse University, University Chancellor and President Kent Syverud welcomed the members of the 2015 session of the Upper New York Annual Conference to his university’s backyard.
Syverud, who assumed the university’s leadership post from Nancy Cantor in January 2014, said United Methodism and the school have deep roots, dating back to the university’s founding in 1870.
He highlighted its beginnings, when in February 1870, at the Methodist State Convention in Syracuse, a resolution was passed to found a university in the city. Measures were taken to raise $500,000 to endow the university, with the city of Syracuse subscribing $100,000. The Rev. Jesse T. Peck, who was elected president of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees, suggested purchasing 50 acres of farmland in southeastern Syracuse, and the university was incorporated in March 1870.
Over the nearly 145 years United Methodist pastors have provided leadership at the university, Syverud said, and congratulated the Rev. Colleen Preuninger, an Upper New York elder serving on extension ministry as an United Methodist ecumenical chaplain at Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel.
“Colleen has done great work expanding dramatically weekly attendance at our protestant services,” he said. And he extended accolades to the Rev. Tiffany Steinwert, an affiliate member of Conference from the New England Conference who serves as dean of Hendricks Chapel.
“We have overlapping missions,” Syverud said of the Church and his university. “We make such great contributions to the region and the world. … We need to teach good values, offer opportunities to serve and to engage with others and lead by example. I know you have a challenging, exciting and prayerful conference ahead (and) … I just want to say we are so grateful at our university to be partners with you.”
He ended his comments by recalling one of his earliest conference experiences in another denomination, in his middle teens.
Whether the issues are close to home, or halfway around the world, remember who else is sitting in on the session, and more important: listening in.
“I encourage in all the issues that you face to remember that there are other 16-year-olds and other people here today, that you will remember what you say and how you say it,” he said.