Syracuse University Announces $40 Million Financial Aid Fundraising Initiative

Today, Syracuse University launched an ambitious fundraising effort focused specifically on raising $40 million for scholarships and other forms of financial aid in the next two and a half years.

The “Opportunity Syracuse” fundraising effort is part of Invest Syracuse: Advancing Academic Excellence and Student Experience, a $100 million initiative that seeks to redefine the student experience, advance discovery and innovation and expand opportunity, access and affordability. In addition to moneys raised through “Invest Syracuse Initiative,” Invest Syracuse will generate $30 million in administrative efficiencies and cost reductions and $30 million in new tuition revenue.

Several members of Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees have already made gifts or pledged to support the effort, totaling more than $7.5 million. The gifts include:

  • University Trustee Daniel Mezzalingua ‘60 and his wife Kathy made a $5.25 million gift in support of undergraduate financial aid. The gift will finance scholarships for high-achieving students interested in pursuing a Syracuse University education.
  • University Trustee John Riley ’61 and his wife, Diane, made a $2.3 million gift, as announced in April, to create the H. John and Diane M. Riley Dual Engineering/MBA Endowed Scholarship fund. The fund will provide the opportunity and financial support to undergraduate students, regardless of economic background, interested in jointly completing a bachelor’s degree in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and an MBA in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management.

University Trustee Patricia Mautino ’64, G’66, a longtime donor to student scholarships, says she has seen first-hand the need for and impact of financial aid.

“In my 30 years as a public school educator, I witnessed the many able students who came from widely varied backgrounds, many aspiring as first-generation college candidates, who only had a chance to pursue higher education because of the commitment and generosity of others.  Syracuse University, through its founding values, has always been a place for these students, and we must continue with this mission now more than ever.”

Matt Ter Molen, senior vice president and chief advancement officer says this fundraising campaign will focus on raising current use gifts as well as endowment, and will include a push to increase total giving and alumni participation.

“As we work to accelerate the priorities in our Academic Strategic Plan, Invest Syracuse will enable us to build on our long and distinguished history as a great international research institution,” says Ter Molen. “A key part of that plan is enhancing the student experience, which includes ensuring students of promise and talent across the socioeconomic spectrum have the opportunity to attend and thrive at Syracuse University. Our fundraising effort will help our admissions colleagues attract and enroll high-achieving students, for whom traditionally, attending a leading research university may have seemed out of reach.”

Currently, Syracuse spends about $243 million annually on undergraduate financial aid, of which roughly $9 million comes from annual giving and distributions from the endowment.

The funds raised will support the following fundraising priorities:

  • Additional investments in need-based aid programs
  • A new named scholarship program focused specifically on valedictorians and salutatorians at high schools from around the country. This program will be aimed at attracting hard-working scholars from across the economic spectrum.
  • Rebalancing the ratio of student grants and loans, to enable students to graduate with less debt.
  • Provide enhanced support and education via the Office of Financial Literacy to ensure our students graduate with a firm grasp of debt management, budgeting, planning and saving.

Interested in funding opportunity? To make a gift and to learn more about Invest Syracuse: Advancing Academic Excellence and the Student Experience, visit