SU announces $20 million gift for middle class student scholarships

Howard and Louise Phanstiel's donation is the second largest ever in school history.

After generating a campus buzz that culminated in a Friday afternoon party for 1,000 on the Quad, Syracuse University announced a $20 million donation that will create academic scholarhips for  middle class students.

The gift from SU alummus and trustee Howard Phanstiel and his wife, Louise, is the second largest donation the university has ever received from an individual, said Vice President of External Affairs Tom Walsh.

The scholarship, beginning in fall 2011, is open to all middle class students who engage in the community and demonstrate leadership.

Hundreds of students, faculty and school supporters spilled out of tents on the Quad Friday as the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Yolanda Copeland Morgan announced the gift and scholarship. Attendees brought large blow up heads of Louise and Howard and waved mini-pennants that read “Phantastic” and “I’m a phan.”

The announcement of "Project P" -- which was teased on social networks and with signs across campus this week -- was followed by a barbeque and performance by the SU marching band.

The Louise and Howard Phanstiel Scholars program aims to "not only provide the financial resources necessary to attend SU, but to create a spirit of philanthropy among the Scholars so that they give of their time, resources, and talent to make the world a better place."

SU spokesman Kevin Quinn told The Post-Standard  that the scholarship “will help dozens of students each year.”

 “[Middle-class students] were at serious risk of not being able to attend college," Louise Phanstiel told The Post-Standard. "We truly believe in the value of education, and the next thing we wanted to do in a more meaningful way was to put together a program to address this need.” 

Howie Phanstiel graduated from SU with a bachelor's degree in political science in 1970 and earned a master’s of public administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 1971. He has served as a co-chair for The Campaign for Syracuse University since 2007, is a member of the SU Board of Trustees and has served on the Maxwell School Advisory Board since 2005.

The Phanstiels previously donated $5 million to the Maxwell school in 2006 and $1.2 million toward the construction of the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center.

Jillian Anthony and Julia Terruso contributed to this report.

Howard Phanstiel announces a $20 million donation to Syracuse University during the Project P reveal on the quad Friday. (Photo: Alyssa Greenberg)

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