The number of SU students who require additional aid to stay in school has increased dramatically in today’s uncertain economic times. In response to this need, a new scholarship fund has been created to provide a safety net for undergraduate students with unexpected financial hardship.
Help Deserving Students Stay at Syracuse
The David and Debbie Smith Undergraduate Scholarship Endowed Fund—created in honor of David Smith for his 35 years of service as SU’s head of admissions and financial aid—will enable us to extend a helping hand to students facing unforeseen circumstances at the crossroads of their young lives.
“If something happens, we don’t want students to just disappear. We want an opportunity to take our best shot at responding. I hope this endowed scholarship fund will help fill the hole of desperation.”
Taking Action in a Time of Crisis
When the global economic meltdown hit in fall 2008, SU’s financial aid office was flooded with students whose parents had lost jobs, investments, and savings practically overnight. Compounding the problem, student loans were no longer readily available, and urgent appeals for additional financial aid increased nearly 30 percent.
SU reacted swiftly by launching the Syracuse Responds Initiative, a one-time, 60-day fundraising campaign to provide additional financial aid to students severely impacted by the economic downturn. By the campaign’s end, SU was able to provide additional assistance for 426 current students, many of whom could not have returned for the spring semester without it.
Syracuse Responds was a temporary solution to an extreme moment of need. But SU has always sought ways to offer opportunity to students who don’t fit neatly into existing financial aid policy. Together with his wife, Debbie, David Smith feels the time is right to strengthen the University’s ability to take action when a student needs extra help to stay in school.
Providing a Long-Term Safety Net
The David and Debbie Smith Undergraduate Scholarship Endowed Fund—inspired by the Smiths’ enduring commitment to educational access and opportunity—allows Syracuse University to be prepared for the unexpected by giving us the ability to support students who are suddenly affected by circumstances beyond their—and our—control.
Endowing the fund will provide a consistent, flexible flow of resources that will enable SU’s current vice president for enrollment management, Donald Saleh, to assess each individual case and respond to those who face the unexpected realities of today’s global marketplace.
“I met with Dean Smith while applying to SU,
and I had nothing to offer but sorry excuses,
desperate desires, and a promise to do better if admitted.
He gave me a chance, and my family and I are so thankful
to him for pointing me in the right direction and guiding me
through major decisions in my life. I know his legacy will continue
through me and all those he touched and inspired.”
–Mohamed Jalloh ’01
Joining the Effort
Leadership gifts from David and Debbie Smith, Don and Florence Saleh, and SU parents Ben and Arlene Morelli have provided a good foundation. But it’s the combined support of many caring alumni and friends that will strengthen the endowment and maximize the impact of this important scholarship sooner rather than later. The more we raise today, the more students we can ultimately help succeed.
Gifts to the David and Debbie Smith Undergraduate Scholarship Endowed Fund can be made with cash, bequests, and retirement funds, or with annuities or trusts structured as a planned gift by SU or an outside entity, such as a bank.