Chancellor makes his way around campus during first week back

In his first days, Kent Syverud has visited the Student Sandbox, dined at Schine Dining Center and invited an information management and technology senior to Saturday's SU-Pitt basketball game.

In an email Wednesday afternoon, Kent Syverud informed the SU community of what he’s been up to during his first few days as chancellor –- and he’s been busy.

So far, Syverud has visited the Student Sandbox at the Syracuse Tech Garden and met the students behind on-campus start-ups like Celeste Currie (Soulscarf) and Michael Amadori (Full Circle Feed); he toured notable campus spots like The Renée Crown University Honors Program and the Office of Multicultural Affairs; he popped into classrooms, wishing he could “sit in the back of each room and learn” and he dined with a group of actively-involved students on campus in Schine Student Center.

Among the students he’s met so far is Alexis Madison.

Madison is an orientation leader, and was invited to join Syverud for lunch in Schine because he wanted to meet with university leaders from a diverse background, she said, in order to give him an idea of what the student body is like, and what student involvement is like.

Over quesadillas, Syverud asked the information management and technology senior for some advice.

“I told him to really look at student orgs on campus that weren’t necessarily the most popular, but at the same time, had a really big impact on campus,” she said.

She also suggested he attend a basketball game in the Carrier Dome although she had never been in her four years.

“He said, ‘Wait, what do you mean you've never gone?’” Madison said. “And then he invited me to one.”

Later that afternoon, Madison received an email from the chancellor directly, letting her know that once he and his wife, Dr. Ruth Chen, who teaches in the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science, finalized their plans, he would let her know.

A second email came soon after: they were going to Saturday's basketball game against Pittsburgh, and Madison was invited to join them.

“He’s really awesome,” said Madison. “He doesn’t introduce himself as Chancellor Syverud. He says, ‘Hi, I’m Kent.’”

In addition to being an orientation leader, Madison is also a social media strategist for the university’s official accounts, a crewmember of the Nexus Research Lab and is in the honors fraternity Phi Sigma Pi.

Madison said that Syverud doesn’t necessarily look at those on campus who already receive the most attention.

“He tries to look at everyone and get an actual picture of what the university is like,” she said. "He’s probably one of the sweetest men you ever meet.

“He’s more interested in meeting me as a person than meeting me as a chancellor.”

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