Syracuse University

SU News

Syracuse University celebrates launch of Los Angeles campus

November 11, 2009

Ruth Kaplan
(212) 826-1444

Syracuse University will celebrate the launch of its LA semester program at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles on Thursday, Nov. 12. The program draws on the strength of its vast network of accomplished alumni in the entertainment industry and engages students in professional internships, specialized course work and regular interactions with industry leaders.

The celebration will include a daylong series of events designed to engage students who are benefiting from the program with the founders and supporters and LA Task Force members who helped create the multi-faceted satellite campus. 

Included in the activities of the day will be a panel discussion “Come Together: Building the Right Team.” Hosted by the Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries—one of the first undergraduate, multidisciplinary programs in the country to prepare students for a career in the music and entertainment industry—the panel will be moderated by its founder, Martin Bandier ’62, chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Panelists include Akon, singer-songwriter and producer; Sara Bareilles, singer-songwriter; and Rob Light ’78, managing partner and head of music at Creative Artists Agency (CAA). This discussion begins at 3:45 p.m.

A second panel discussion, “The Future of Funny,” beginning at 5:30 p.m., will be presented by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in conjunction with The New Yorker and Condé Nast Publications. Led by Ken Auletta G’77, author of the newly released book “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It” (Penguin Group, 2009) and staff writer for The New Yorker, the panel will feature Judd Apatow, producer, writer and actor; Andy Borowitz, writer and producer; and Sarah Silverman, actress, writer and producer.

Following the panel discussions, SU will be “Celebrating a New Era,” a gala reception also at CAA, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The reception will be attended by a distinguished group of Southern California alumni, many of whom helped shape the program jointly with SU faculty.

The following program founders and supporters, LA Task Force members, alumni and friends of SU have accepted the invitation to attend the launch and celebration of the SU LA Campus: Rob Light; Brian Frons ’78, president, Daytime, Disney-ABC Television Group; Jason Blumenthal ’90, partner, Escape Artists; Sean Cary ’89, executive vice president, Digital Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Marylyn Ginsburg-Klaus ’56, G’57, owner, Grand House Management Co.; Doug Robinson ’85, partner, Happy Madison; Howard G. Phanstiel ’70, G’71, CEO of Phanstiel Enterprises LLC; Phil Quartararo ’77, music executive, former executive vice president of EMI Music North America and former president of EMI Music Marketing; Wendy Finerman, Academy Award-winning producer, and husband Mark Canton, producer.

Panelists have also been invited to the reception, and it is anticipated several will attend as well.

Others taking a lead in the program but unable to attend are campus founders Aaron Sorkin ’83, multi-award-winning writer/producer and creator of “The West Wing,” and Larry Barron ’87, senior vice president of programming, FremantleMedia North America.

Advisors come from the top ranks of the entertainment industry, including Fred Silverman ’58, pioneering network television executive and producer; Suzanne De Passe ’68, chairman and CEO of De Passe Entertainment, Emmy Award-winning producer and former president of Motown Productions; Marshall Gelfand ’50, founder and a partner in the international business management firm of Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, LLP; and Andrew Gumpert ’89, president of business affairs & administration, Columbia Pictures.

“The SU in LA program is a perfect illustration of our commitment to Scholarship in Action and preparing students for the world by imbedding them in real-world experiences and exploration,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “Students spend an entire semester in LA being mentored by our incredible array of alums in Hollywood—testing their knowledge among industry professionals and, ultimately, getting a leg up in the increasingly competitive media and entertainment industries.”

“For students passionate about working in the music and entertainment industries, the Bandier Program has quickly become second to none. With our extended programs in London and now in Los Angeles, Bandier students have the best of both worlds: a solid Syracuse education, coupled with real world industry experience,” says Bandier. “I’m thrilled that Syracuse is making a permanent home in Los Angeles, and I’m particularly proud of the students in this program.”

Background on Syracuse University’s LA Semester program

The program, led by accomplished television and film producer Andrea Asimow, SU’s director of SULA/Semester in Los Angeles Programs, builds upon the previous successes of two longstanding SU experiential programs in LA:

  • In 1984, SU began the Los Angeles Industry Seminar, a weeklong program in which television-radio-film students from SU’s Newhouse School gain first-hand knowledge of the television and film industries through one-on-one meetings with SU alumni in the business, visits to studio lots, and observation of theatre performances and television tapings.
  • In March 2006, SU launched the Sorkin in LA Learning Practicum—a weeklong immersion experience, funded by SU alumnus Sorkin, in which drama and film students from SU’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) meet with actors, writers, talent agents, directors and producers; participate in workshops; and attend a live theatre performance and meet the cast.

A total of 28 Newhouse and VPA students—specifically from Newhouse’s Department of Television-Radio-Film and VPA’s multidisciplinary Bandier Program—have spent the fall semester in LA. Over time, the University intends to expand the semester program into a multi-faceted SU campus in fields such as the arts, business, marketing, architecture and sport management.

Students are housed together in an apartment complex in the Toluca Lake district of North Hollywood. Their semester is built around a 20-hour-per-week internship matched to each student’s interests and abilities; internships span a range of disciplines, including animation, music, digital media, casting, editing, film and television development and production, pre- and post-production, and marketing and distribution.

In addition, students attend classes in their respective majors convened at their living space and at the Universal Studios Hollywood lot. To complete their course load, they must select from a variety of online courses offered by SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. 

Distinguished speakers meeting with students in LA have been linked through videoconferencing to students on the main campus in Syracuse to expand the educational opportunity and allow a larger group of students to benefit from the insights of the industry experts throughout the semester.

“The strength of the Newhouse School is that we admit students of exceptional academic ability, then provide them with a liberal arts foundation plus industry-ready professional and technical skills,” says Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham. “The LA immersion program provides that extra edge: our students will graduate knowing not only the programs and processes, but also the people and culture that drive the entertainment industry.”

The Bandier Program

One of the most unique offerings in the LA Semester is VPA’s Bandier Program for Music and the Entertainment Industries. The program includes the study of music, communications, business and entrepreneurship with a strong liberal arts background, and combines course work at VPA with courses at the Newhouse School and SU’s Whitman School of Management and College of Arts and Sciences.

“The Bandier Program’s rigorous curriculum emphasizes weekly contact with top industry professionals and hands-on learning experiences,” says VPA Dean Ann Clarke. “Studying and interning in Los Angeles has allowed Bandier students to truly immerse themselves in the West Coast entertainment industry and gain invaluable insights that will serve them well as they begin their own careers.”

Recent News