Syracuse University

SU News

SU Trustee Deryck Palmer '78 challenges SU seniors to give by establishing $25,000 Palmer Senior Class Gift Challenge

March 04, 2011

Veronica Hotaling
(315) 443-4944

For Deryck Palmer ’78, the lessons he learned in Syracuse University classrooms, labs and libraries set him on the path to both personal and professional success. That is why the University alumnus, trustee and current SU parent has established the Palmer Senior Class Gift Challenge, which challenges seniors to make a gift to the 2011 Senior Class Giving campaign before they graduate.

palmerFor every senior who gives $20.11 or more to the campaign before Commencement, Palmer will give SU $100 in unrestricted funds. “Syracuse is a special place for me—today’s graduating seniors are realizing this, too,” says Palmer. “That’s why I’m challenging them to express their gratitude in a very real way by giving back to SU before they graduate.”

The more seniors who give, the more Palmer will contribute—up to a total of $25,000.

“Giving back is a way for me to express my gratitude and to make sure that the SU students of today and tomorrow can have an experience that’s the same as—or better than—what I had,” Palmer says. “It’s important for them to know that tuition is only part of the equation.”

Brian Sischo, SU’s vice president of development, agrees. “Philanthropy is at the core of what makes Syracuse University great. Students’ tuition and room and board cover only about 85 percent of the cost of attending SU. The rest comes from outside sources, including charitable gifts. It is because of donors’ generosity that every student can have a fantastic experience at SU.”

Palmer wants seniors to understand that it’s not the amount that matters, but the thought behind the gift. “To make SU great,” he says, “really takes all of us. Seniors can give any amount they feel comfortable with. It’s their participation that matters.”

The 2011 Senior Class Giving campaign committee, which started raising money in September 2010, hopes the Palmer Senior Class Gift Challenge will encourage that participation. “For some, $20 can seem like a lot at this time in their lives,” says committee member Justin Cole, “but it really will make a difference.” Last year, gifts to SU of $100 or less added up to more than $1 million. A donor himself, Cole encourages his fellow seniors to “help out the areas of SU they love most.” Donors may direct their gifts to areas of greatest need, scholarships, schools and colleges, recreation services, the library, or any other part of SU. So far, gifts from the Class of 2011 have been made to a number of schools and colleges, various scholarship funds, the Annual Fund, Hendricks Chapel and the Syracuse University Library.

Students of today may not realize the many things that philanthropy makes possible at SU. If they look around campus, they will see many examples—buildings like Newhouse 3, the latest addition to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; state-of-the-art laboratories like the Druger Teaching Lab in the Life Sciences Complex; and equipment like the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science’s Fidelity MOTUS 622i, one of the world’s most advanced flight simulators. Gifts are also responsible for leading-edge academic programs and endowed chairs that enable SU to attract and retain world-class faculty.

Everyone who contributes to the 2011 Senior Class Giving campaign will be included in the Senior Class Honor Roll on the website. Seniors will also receive an official “I’m a Class Act” pin, a designation in the keepsake “Register of Graduates” publication and other recognition throughout the year.

To make it convenient for seniors to ask questions and give online, representatives of the 2011 Senior Class Giving campaign will be on hand at a number of senior events this semester, including:

  • Class Marshal Luncheon, Tuesday, March 29;
  • Cap and gown distribution (week of May 9, dates and times TBA);
  • Senior Barbecue, Thursday, May 12.

As co-chair of the $1 billion Campaign for Syracuse University, Palmer leads one of the most ambitious fundraising efforts in SU’s history. “Student giving will be counted in The Campaign for Syracuse University’s total. Students can feel good knowing that they have an important role in the future of the SU, and I am hopeful that with my challenge to them, many will answer the call,” says Palmer. More information about the Campaign for Syracuse University is available online at

Palmer received his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1978 from The College of Arts and Sciences and a juris doctor degree in 1982 from the University of Michigan Law School. As a partner in the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, he specializes in the representation of debtors and creditors under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, and has handled a wide range of workout, corporate restructuring and bankruptcy matters. Palmer has served as a member of Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees since 2004.

To make a gift or learn more, visit The site also includes a current donor list and comments from a number of seniors who support the campaign.

Recent News