Dear Orange Friends:
Last week was a really good week for Syracuse, Central New York, and our University.
Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo challenged seven regions in Upstate New York to compete for three $500 million awards. Known as the Upstate Revitalization Initiative competition, the awards are designed to transform the regional economy.
Last Thursday, during an event at the State Capitol, Central New York was announced as a winner of one of the $500 million awards. I am fortunate to serve as a co-chair of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, which spearheaded the region’s winning submission. I am fortunate because so many people from the community and the public, nonprofit, and business sectors came together as one team and did so much to win this competition for our region. They made my job easy.
Every dollar of this $500 million investment will ultimately benefit our University, because when our city and region are strong, we are too. Additionally, one of the five core themes of the winning plan is further advancing Central New York as the nation’s center of excellence for thought leadership, education, research, training, and innovation related to veterans and military families. The winning plan includes very significant funding for a new National Veterans Resource Complex at Syracuse University.
We plan to launch a national design competition soon that will bring the best ideas forward. The goal is a new nationally visible complex from which we can contribute our expertise, research, and intellectual capital to better serve the nation’s veterans. It will also honor the historical legacy of the University, which welcomed more than 10,000 post-World War II veterans to campus and transformed itself into the dynamic, national research institution it is today.
Two years ago I returned home to upstate New York after many years away. I returned here to find Central New York full of great people and great potential, but discouraged and lacking sufficient confidence in the future. Two years ago, I thought it would take a miracle to pull this region together. It did not take a miracle. It took an idea from our governor to get this region’s attention—a competition we could win only if we pulled together and focused on jobs and raising up all parts of our community. And we did.
This is terrific news as we conclude 2015. I wish all of you health, happiness, and prosperity this holiday season and for all of 2016.