Celebrating the Impact of Regional Councils and Founding Members

Regional Council members Gerri Slater, Brian Frons and Sean Carey

One can’t measure the success of the Forever Orange Campaign without reflecting on the work of Syracuse University’s Regional Councils. Established more than a decade ago during the previous capital campaign, these core groups of University ambassadors serve as well-informed advocates for Syracuse in regions with large populations of alumni, parents, and friends.

Years before the Forever Orange Campaign launched publicly, the Councils were diligently helping to identify and engage key alumni, partners and friends who could, through their philanthropy and involvement, help the University accomplish its mission. Regional Council members also provide leadership in fundraising locally, with active Councils in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

“Our Regional Council members represent our most passionate, loyal volunteers. They include Trustees, alumni, donors and parents who span across seven decades of graduates. This is critically important as we work to engage alumni across all diverse races, ethnicities, genders and various industries,” says Karen Spear, associate vice president for Central Giving Teams. “Several of our members also sit on school, college or unit advisory boards, providing a multifaceted lens to both the Council and work being done in the region. And they have been extremely generous in supporting the Forever Orange Campaign. We most certainly wouldn’t be where we are without them.”

Regional Councils engage in a variety of activities to help the University identify, cultivate, and steward donors, alumni and friends. Members host and organize engagement events for smaller groups of alumni and parents around specific academic areas, including small salon-type dinners, receptions and breakfasts. As part of this work, Councils help the University continue to build The Hill Society, Syracuse’s leadership annual giving recognition society. Councils also support the student experience by organizing activities such as immersion programs, creating career networking and internship/job opportunities for students and young alumni, and promoting the University’s presence in the region for student recruitment efforts.

All of the more than 100 Regional Council members represent the best of Syracuse University, but three in particular deserve special recognition as the Orange community embarks on a new academic year. These individuals are all founding members of their Councils. They are all successful Syracuse alumni who became Syracuse parents and have remained dedicated volunteers. Now they’re transitioning out of their roles as Council chairs and co-chairs—opening a new chapter in Council leadership.  

Los Angeles Regional Council: Co-Chairs Sean Carey ’89 and Brian Frons G’78

Sean Carey and Brian Frons have proudly served Syracuse University for over 20 years—not only leading the LA Regional Council since its beginning in 2010, but as founders of the SU in LA program.

Carey graduated with degrees in finance from the Whitman School of Management and in telecommunication management from the Newhouse School of Public Communications. He has spent over 30 years in the entertainment industry in senior leadership positions at companies including Sony and Netflix. Carey currently invests and advises companies in digital media, film and television. His daughter, Josephine “Josie,” is a 2022 graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Carey has been a generous donor supporting Newhouse and Whitman as well as the SU in LA Gift Fund and Syracuse Athletics. Through his philanthropy, he has established an endowed scholarship fund and made the lead gift to create the Southern California Career Services Fund, a key project initiated by the LA Regional Council to support efforts to connect students and alumni to internships and jobs.

Frons earned a master’s degree in television, radio and film from the Newhouse School and owns Frons Consulting LLC. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Previously Frons enjoyed a long career in television programming, with various executive leadership roles at ABC, NBC, CBS, SBS Broadcasting and New World Entertainment. He serves on the Syracuse University National Campaign Council in addition to the LA Regional Council, and his son, Jackson, earned his MFA in creative writing from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2021.

In addition to co-chairing the LA Regional Council, Frons has served as co-chair of the Regional Council Cabinet, which is the governing body for all of Syracuse’s Regional Councils. He is a strong advocate for active engagement across all Councils, inspiring members to support Boost the ’Cuse and achieve 100% Council participation. Through his philanthropy, Frons helped establish the Larry Barron Fund for Mentorship, named in honor of a former LA Regional Council member to continue his legacy of mentoring and opening doors for young people aspiring to have careers in the media and entertainment industries. In addition, Frons has been a loyal donor to the Newhouse School, where he named a room as part of the Newhouse II Studio Project Renovation Campaign, as well as the SU in LA program.

Through the LA Regional Council, Carey and Frons have served as guest speakers at immersion events, mentored young alumni, hosted numerous alumni events, and engaged in significant peer-to-peer outreach to strengthen the Orange network on the West Coast.

Boston Regional Council: Chair Gerri Slater ’78

Gerri Slater is a founding member of the Boston Regional Council, joining in 2011 and has served as chair since 2017. Slater earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the Newhouse School and is chief operating officer and senior vice president for Global Corporate Communications at Bank of America, based in Boston. Her daughter, Alex, is also a Newhouse alumna and graduated in 2014.

Over the past six years Slater has been a tremendous leadership volunteer, chairing the Boston Council and serving as co-chair with Frons on the Regional Council Cabinet. She will remain on the Boston Council after her term as chair ends. Slater has been an active supporter of the Boston Immersion Program, hosting students regularly for many years. She has participated as a speaker for several SU in Boston events, most recently facilitating a conversation with Dean Van Slyke from the Maxwell School and Interim Dean Alex McKelvie from the Whitman School at a reception hosted by former Council Chair and Life Trustee Mike Thonis ’72.

Slater has also been a strong advocate for having the Council partner effectively with the Boston Alumni Club on several events and programs. In addition to her volunteer leadership, she is among the University’s most loyal donors, supporting many different funds generously over 30 years including the Newhouse Dean’s Fund and the SU in LA program.

“It has been such a pleasure to work with Sean, Brian and Gerri all these years and to build a thriving presence for Syracuse University in these key regions,” says Spear. “They have been strategic partners and friends to so many of us—from development officers, to deans and other University leadership—and we couldn’t ask for better ambassadors to serve our Orange community. We’ll miss meeting with them regularly as Council chairs but are grateful that they will remain active on our Councils. And we know they’ll always be connected to Syracuse.”