TIAA Institute Honors Syracuse University's Kent Syverud with Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence in Higher Education
March 04, 2024

The school's chancellor and president has helped spur efforts to advance the lives of veterans and military families, promote excellence in interdisciplinary research, engineer public-private partnerships for economic development 

After 11 years of award-winning work that has helped veterans and their families, as well as his campus and his community, Syracuse University Chancellor and President Kent Syverud has received the 2024 TIAA Institute Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence.

Sponsored by the TIAA Institute and administered by the American Council on Education (ACE), the award is named after the former president of the University of Notre Dame, Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., who was a longtime TIAA board member and civil rights leader. It's presented to a current college or university president or chancellor for outstanding leadership of their institution and broad impact on higher education and society.

 2024 TIAA Institute Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence

Left to right: Kourtney Gibson, TIAA Institute senior executive vice president and chief institutional client officer; Jesse O’Connell, ACE chief advancement officer; Ted Mitchell, ACE president; Ruth Chen (spouse of Kent Syverud), Syracuse Professor of Practice; Kent Syverud, chancellor and president, Syracuse University; Surya Kolluri, Head of TIAA Institute. Photo by Lisa Helfert Photography.

"The TIAA Institute is proud to recognize Chancellor Syverud for all the ways his leadership has benefitted his school, his community and higher education as a whole," said Surya Kolluri, head of the TIAA Institute. "His long list of accomplishments has positioned Syracuse as a worldclass university on many fronts, providing enormous benefits to students and the Central New York region."

As a result of Syverud's leadership and vision, there are now more than 1,000 veteran and military-connected students at Syracuse – a number that's grown by 60% since he became chancellor in 2014 – and the school has been honored by the Military Times as being one of the "Best for Vets." Syverud has helped overhaul admissions processes, registration procedures, credit transfer policies, new student orientation and housing policies to align with the unique needs of military-connected students.

Syverud was also a key partner in attracting Micron Technology, who in the fall of 2022 announced plans to build a $100 billion semiconductor fabrication facility near the school – the largest investment and facility of its kind in the United States. Syracuse'sD'Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families will support the company's plans to hire more than 1,500 veterans in the region.

At the time of the announcement, President Biden said, "This is going to ensure that the future is made in America." 

During his tenure, Syverud has overseen transformation of the campus. That includes building a National Veterans Resource Center that was the first of its kind, reimagining the Schine Student Center and the Barnes Center at The Arch, a holistic student health and wellness facility, and helping the College of Law establish one of the nation's first online J.D. degree programs.

"Kent Syverud exemplifies what institutions and students need from a higher education leader: an individual who can convey an inspirational vision and ensure that it is turned into a reality that results in greater student access and success and a stronger institution," said ACE President Ted Mitchell. "It is an honor to join with the TIAA Institute in paying tribute to all that Kent has accomplished at Syracuse University and the other institutions where over the years he also has made such a positive difference in the lives of his students."

Besides his role as chancellor, Syverud is a noted legal scholar and teacher in the school's College of Law and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. He also currently serves on the Boards of the Crouse Health System, The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Scouting's Longhouse Council. He previously served as Commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, as co-Chair of the Regional Economic Development Council for Central New York and as Chair of the Law School Admissions Council.

"I am honored to receive this award, in particular because it honors Father Hesburgh, who was a higher education hero and who was born and raised in Syracuse," Syverud said. "I am grateful to be recognized by my peers for leading at a time of transformational change for Syracuse University and for higher education."

Established in 1993, the Hesburgh Award recognizes leadership and commitment to higher education and contributions to the greater good. It's presented to a current college or university president or chancellor who embodies the spirit of the late Rev. Hesburgh, who was appointed by President Eisenhower to the newly created Civil Rights Commission. The winner is selected by an independent panel of judges. ​