Today was the first of many days ahead of listening and asking questions for Syracuse University's new Chancellor.
Already, Kent Syverud admits the learning he has ahead is a bit overwhelming. "I'm going to try. I'm like a deer in the headlights right now," he told CNYCentral Anchor Matt Mulcahy.
In a one-on-one interview, Syverud said he has already learned a lot from touring the campus and meeting with students and faculty. "I keep asking people if they have any advice and they mostly tell me it's a great place and don't mess it up. That's what I intend to do."
Syverud says a lot of change is coming fast thanks to new technology. It is changing the way people attend college and funding for research. When asked about the ever increasing cost of college tuition, Syverud says he can't see how it will continue to go up. "You know Syracuse has been a real leader in accessibility and affordability. But I've talked to a lot of students who still have a lot of worries and their parents. I think in the next five to ten years the way people finance going to the great private universities is going to change."
The new Chancellor was also asked about potential plans to build a new sports arena off campus. He says he has been briefed on the plans, but does not think it has been advanced very far along. He says the Carrier Dome is near the end of its useful life and it must either be "improved substantially or we'll have to do something different."
Every Chancellor who has preceded Syverud has a building named for him or her. When asked what building or program he could envision being named for him one day he deferred. The new leader said he does not like to have the attention on himself. He has taped a note to his computer on his desk reminding him the university is all about the students and their experience.