Whitman School Announces Local Leadership Initiative

Dean Alex McKelvie and donor David Panasci '80

Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management announces the creation of a new Local Leadership Initiative that will support professional connections and career building for students to remain in Central New York beyond graduation. This new initiative is made possible by Whitman supporter David Panasci ’80. Students will follow a program offered in collaboration with Leadership Greater Syracuse, an organization that’s mission is to inspire current and future leaders to make a difference in the Syracuse community. The program will include topics related to regional leadership, economic development, discovering and impacting local businesses, how to lead and serve, and envisioning the future of Syracuse. Students will also be paired with local business leaders who will act as personal mentors, and the students will complete a community project.


According to Whitman School Interim Dean Alexander McKelvie, “Syracuse has a rich history of business innovation and success. The emergence of new opportunities locally, such as the arrival of Micron, increasingly makes Syracuse an outstanding place to live and work. Our hope is that this program will inform students about what they can accomplish here after graduation, inspire students about a thriving life here in this community and connect them to local opportunities so that they can hit the ground running once they graduate. As Whitman prepares students to be more engaged citizens, being able to cultivate and connect our local talent in Central New York is something we value highly. We are very grateful to David Panasci for helping the Whitman School make this possible.”


“In recent years, I have met a number of very impressive students via the annual business plan competition at the Whitman School.  The level of determination, entrepreneurial spirit and brainpower that I have witnessed has been nothing short of inspirational.  We have been fortunate to have a number of these individuals launch their careers here in the Syracuse area,” says Panasci. “It is my expectation that this initiative will not only give participants the chance to learn about leadership and the local community but will also help them recognize that Central New York can provide solid career opportunities along with an exceptional quality of life. I believe those who do stay and take leadership roles will have a profound impact on the future of the region.”


The program will be launched in the fall. Students who are interested in pursuing the program can apply via the Handshake application through Whitman’s Career Center. A formal launch event will take place early in the Fall 2023 semester.


“As we prepare students for a lifetime of professional success, we want to ensure that students have the mentoring, guidance and knowledge of the bountiful opportunities in Syracuse,” says McKelvie. “The Whitman School already offers a number of impactful community programs, such as the WISE Women’s Business Center, South Side Innovation Center, Future Leaders program and Balancing the Books. Specifically investing in growing our local leadership talent is the next big step in our commitment to the local community. We’re excited about launching this new initiative.”



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