Syracuse University

SU News

Phanstiel gift of $20 million to SU establishes unique scholarship program for middle-class students

October 01, 2010

Kevin C. Quinn
443-8338

Program to include philanthropy, financial literacy, mentoring

In support of Syracuse University, Trustee Howard (Howie) G. Phanstiel ’70, G’71, and his wife, Louise, announced a commitment of $20 million—one of the largest single gifts to the University—to create the Louise and Howard Phanstiel Scholars program at Syracuse University, which will award scholarship grants to middle-class students who are U.S. citizens and who have demonstrated the potential for academic success and community leadership. 

Phanstiel Scholars will be supported by a Council of Mentors who will assist recipients in their academic and professional development. This council will create a pathway for Phanstiel Scholars to participate in service within the University and in their own communities, and, in conjunction with alumni, will provide opportunities for expanded support to Scholars. 

“Syracuse University has long been a place of opportunity for prepared and enthusiastic students from all economic and social backgrounds,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor.  “That is why we are so deeply appreciative of the Phanstiels’ gift that will continue this tradition by helping to ensure that students who actively give of themselves to enrich the lives of others can be a part of the SU experience and engage other students in activities that benefit local and global communities. This type of civic engagement is woven into SU’s fabric and is at the heart of Scholarship in Action.” 

Student access and support has been a key tenet of the Phanstiels’ support of the University. In fall 2008, Howie Phanstiel spearheaded a mid-year fundraising effort, “Syracuse Responds,” to assist current students who were in danger of withdrawing from the University due to the lack of financial resources as a result of the rapidly declining economy. The program provided more than $1 million in additional aid to more than 425 students, many of whom likely would not have returned for the second semester. 

“We are very grateful to the Phanstiels for their incredible support of students at Syracuse University,” says John Chapple, Syracuse University Board of Trustees chairman.  “Throughout the development of this scholarship, Howie stressed the importance of ‘creating a spirit of philanthropy’ among the Scholars so that they will give of their time, resources and talent to make the world a better place, starting with their own communities.  I don’t think there is a better example of such individuals than Howie and Louise.  Our students will benefit tremendously from their generosity.”  

“Louise and I are very pleased to make this gift to the University, which we hope preserves its long-standing commitment to engaging students from many diverse backgrounds by providing them with the financial resources necessary to attend Syracuse,” says Howie. “As America’s middle-class families increasingly require assistance to supplement their own personal sacrifice in order to finance their children’s education, our intent is to make possible meaningful financial awards that make the difference in a student’s ability to earn a degree from Syracuse.” 

Reflecting the Syracuse Responds initiative, the Phanstiel Scholars program aims to ensure that talented students with leadership potential, both in the classroom and the community, can be a part of the SU experience. 

“We believe that education is the key to unlocking the hopes and dreams that lie inside each of us to the betterment of our country and society,” says Louise.  “It is our sincere desire that the Phanstiel Scholars will realize their full potential and be productive and active citizens.” 

To encourage a spirit of philanthropy and support academic and personal development, Phanstiel Scholars will participate in three important activities associated with the grant: 

  • Phanstiel Scholars will be enrolled in the University’s financial literacy program “I Otto Know This!” a multi-faceted program designed to promote lifelong fiscal fitness. 
  • Recipients will participate in an annual lecture that helps to promote the value of giving back to one’s individual community and the community at large.  
  • These students will be required to submit a one-page personal statement outlining the philanthropic efforts in which they have been engaged in throughout the year.   

“We have uniquely designed the grant program with the principles of Scholarship in Action in mind,” says Howie. “We want students to understand the value­—to others as well as to themselves—of giving back to their community.” 

In addition to engaging in and promoting philanthropy and altruism, Phanstiel Scholars must maintain consistent academic achievement toward their degree at a full-time level and contribute to the health and vibrancy of the Phanstiel Scholars grant program.  Upon graduation, they will be encouraged to continue to engage in the Council of Mentor activities by becoming mentors for future grant recipients. 

The Phanstiel Grant program will be administered by SU’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs and will commence in the fall of 2011.  

Howie and Louise have a distinguished history of leadership at the University. Since 2007, Howie has served as one of three co-chairs of the most ambitious capital campaign in the University’s history, The Campaign for Syracuse University. As co-chair, he advocates for SU’s vision of Scholarship in Action, recruits volunteers, articulates funding priorities and rallies the support needed to reach the campaign’s unprecedented goal of $1 billion. 

Phanstiel is a graduate of The College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in political science, and received a masters of public administration degree from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. In addition to his service on SU’s Board of Trustees, he has served on the Maxwell School Advisory Board since 2005. In 2006, Howie and Louise provided a $5 million gift to the Maxwell School for the creation of the Phanstiel Chair in Strategic Management and Leadership, which served their vision for promoting outstanding leadership in the public sector.  Additionally the Phanstiels have made a gift of $1.2 million to help finance the building of the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center.  

Professionally, Howie is a veteran health insurance executive, having led the successful restructuring of PacifiCare Health Systems as its president, CEO and chairman. He retired after the 2005 PacifiCare merger with UnitedHealth Group Inc. and, with his wife Louise, established Phanstiel Enterprises LLC, a private consulting and investment firm in Los Angeles. 

Louise received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Golden Gate University.  She is a former partner of Coopers & Lybrand—now PriceWaterhouse Coopers—in its insurance practice and a former president of Specialty Products at WellPoint, Inc.  Retired in 2008, she currently serves as a director of Myriad Genetics, Inc. and as a director and vice chairman of Best Friends Animal Society.

For more information on the Phanstiel Scholars program, visit http://ProjectP.syr.edu.

Recent News