$2.5 Million Gift to Boost Student Initiatives

April 28, 2009

Alumni Couple’s Estate Gift of More than $2.5 Million to Syracuse University Boosts Student Access and Support Initiatives

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Syracuse University alumni Joseph A. Christe ’47 and Gladys Solnica Christe ’41 had been supporters of the University for many years, consistently contributing an annual gift to The Fund for Syracuse. Recently, the University learned it is a beneficiary of the couple’s long-term plans as well, receiving more than $2.5 million from their estate for student access and support initiatives in three schools and colleges and for the University’s general unrestricted fund.

The bulk of the estate gift will fund undergraduate scholarships in the College of Human Ecology, from which Gladys Christe earned a bachelor of science degree in 1941; the School of Architecture, from which Joseph Christe earned a bachelor of arts degree in landscape architecture in 1947; and the civil and mechanical engineering departments in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS).

“The Christes’ generosity is greatly appreciated,” says LCS Dean Laura J. Steinberg. “The Christes have provided a great opportunity for us to help our best and brightest aspiring engineers who need it most. By remembering SU through student access and support initiatives, the Christes’ gift will aid students in reaching their academic potential and help launch them on their career path.”

Rewarding academic achievement while recognizing financial need, these scholarships will have an immediate impact by ensuring that today’s students, regardless of economic circumstances, will have the opportunity to study at SU. “The College of Human Ecology is most grateful to the Christes for their generous gift to Syracuse University, extending financial aid to our undergraduate students and enriching their academic experiences both on campus and abroad,” says Dean Diane Lyden Murphy.

The Christe gift comes at a time when ensuring that higher education is available to all is one of the nation’s most fundamental challenges. A down economy, falling real incomes, rising costs and changes in federal aid policies make it much harder for families to send their children to a private institution such as SU.

“We are immensely grateful to Joseph and Gladys Christe for remembering Syracuse University in their estate plans in such a meaningful way,” says Brian Sischo, SU associate vice president of development and campaign director. “Oftentimes it is the students with the most talent and promise who are the least able to afford a college education. The Campaign for Syracuse University seeks to significantly increase support for scholarships in endowed and current-use funds by $200 million to ensure access to students from all walks of life. Thanks to the Christes’ generosity and foresight, we are one step closer to achieving our goal.”

The School of Architecture will also receive Christe estate funds to support two existing School of Architecture endowment funds: the Sargent Visiting Professorship, created in honor of former Dean D. Kenneth Sargent for the Visiting Critic program, which brings outstanding visiting professors to teach at the school each year, and the Dillenback Endowed Lecture Series, established in memory of Professor Lemuel Cross Dillenback, who is credited with opening the program to modern architecture. “The Christes’ commitment to SU will not only help create a rich intellectual environment for future generations of architecture students, but will help those most in need to gain an education?we are very thankful for their support,” says School of Architecture Dean Mark Robbins.

The Christe gift will be counted in The Campaign for Syracuse University’s total. With a goal of $1 billion, The Campaign for Syracuse University is the most ambitious fundraising effort in SU’s history. By supporting faculty excellence, student access, interdisciplinary programs, capital projects and other institutional priorities, the campaign is continuing to drive Scholarship in Action, the University’s vision to provide students, faculty and communities with the insights needed to incite positive and lasting change in the world.