Campaign Leadership

We’re fortunate that The Campaign for Syracuse University was led by three alums who share our vision of Scholarship in Action and so firmly believe in our ability to incite change in the world.

Melanie Gray L’81

Melanie Gray '81 J.D. Law

Melanie Gray is a partner in Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP litigation practice and co-chair of the firm’s Bankruptcy Litigation Practice Group.

Trained as a commercial litigator, she has concentrated in complex commercial disputes and bankruptcy litigation. She has represented a number of corporations and major banks, as well as publicly held corporate debtors, secured creditors, and court-appointed trustees, in a variety of bankruptcy cases.

For Syracuse University, Gray is a member of the Board of Trustees and serves on the College of Law’s board of advisors. She and her husband Mark Wawro, an attorney with Sussman Godfrey, live in Houston, Texas.

Deryck A. Palmer ’78

Deryck A. Palmer '78 B.A. Arts and Sciences

Deryck Palmer is a partner in Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. Specializing in financial restructuring, he concentrates in the representation of debtors and creditors under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, and has handled a wide range of workout, corporate restructuring, and bankruptcy matters.

Palmer received his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1978 from the College of Arts and Sciences and in 1982 earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. He has served as a member of Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees since 2004. He and his wife, Carmen J. Lawrence-Palmer, live in Maplewood, New Jersey.

Howie G. Phanstiel ’70, G’71

Howie G. Phanstiel '70 B.A. Arts & Sciences, '71 M.P.A. Maxwell

A veteran HMO executive, Howie Phanstiel led the successful restructuring of managed healthcare giant PacifiCare Systems as its president, CEO, and chairman. After PacifiCare merged with UnitedHealth Group Inc. in 2005, he established Phanstiel Enterprises LLC.

Phanstiel received his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1970 and his master’s in public administration in 1971, both from Syracuse University. He currently serves on the University’s Board of Trustees and on the advisory board for the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He and wife Louise McCrary Phanstiel, a CPA and healthcare executive, live in Los Angeles, California.

The Leadership Behind the Leaders

An effort like The Campaign for Syracuse University requires significant depth and breadth of leadership. Supporting our three campaign co-chairs was a group of individuals whose vision, energy, and dedication helped drive us toward our goal.

Use the links below to learn more about our honorary co-chairs, vice chairs, and trustees.

Honorary co-chairs

Council of Chairs