From Maxwell Perspective...

Ideas for Tomorrow

The Tenth Decade Project will support programs to prepare Maxwell for the challenges of its second century, with citizenship (broadly understood) at its core.

A banner advertising the Maxwell Tenth Decade Project

As the Maxwell School’s 90th anniversary celebration in Washington last November drew toward its close, Dean James Steinberg shifted the focus of this event from the past nine decades to the decades ahead.

He described the Tenth Decade Project — a set of initiatives intended to strengthen Maxwell’s teaching and research (particularly in citizenship and public service) as the School approaches its 2024 centennial.

Gerry Cramer
Gerry Cramer, lead donor for the Tenth Decade Project fund

“Drawing on our multidisciplinary strengths in anthropology, economics, geography, history, international relations, political science, public affairs, and sociology,” Steinberg said, “we hope to explore such fundamental issues as the rights and responsibilities of citizens to each and to their communities; the implications of different concepts of citizenship in different cultures, societies and eras; how to improve the responsiveness and effectiveness of public and private institutions to citizens; and how concepts of citizenship can be harnessed to expand opportunity, promote inclusion, and respect diversity.” Innovative and forward-looking attention to citizenship, he said, has broad applicability, on topics such as aging, economic opportunity, public health, and environmental sustainability.

“This work will build on the already vigorous focus we have today on citizenship. . . .,” he said. “It will draw on our research centers and institutes which are already doing innovative work on many of these issues."

“People have always been eager to support citizenship education here.”
— Linda Birnbaum, assistant dean for advancement

Some guests at the Washington event had already lent support to the Tenth Decade Project by sponsoring tables. This was on top of a kick-off gift by Gerry Cramer, an alumnus of Syracuse’s management school and a long-time Maxwell supporter, and his wife Daphna. Cramer previously has funded professorships in international affairs and aging studies, an SU-Israeli student exchange, and programs in SU’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (support, in that last case, exceeding $2 million.) Now he has made a $500,000 gift to help launch the Tenth Decade Project. That gift, combined with funds raised at the Washington event, totals nearly $900,000 already committed.

Tenth Decade Project: Kick-Off Donors
Airbus Group
Alan and Betsy Cohn
Gerry and Daphna Cramer
Cathy Daicoff ’79
William Eggers and Deborah McLean
Stephen Hagerty ’91 and Lisa Altenbernd ’93
Sheldon and Sheila Horowitch
Adam Levine
Lawrence Mazzotta
Walter Montgomery ’67 and Marian Gruber
Ron ’80 and Karen O’Hanley
Sean ’78 and Laura O’Keefe
John and Stephanie Palmer
Terry ’79 and Prudence Pigott
Arnold and Jan Punaro
H. Lewis Rapaport ’59
Caroline Rapking ’82 and David Hemingson
RLM Finsbury LLC
Donna Shalala ’70
James Steinberg and Shere Abbott
W. Lynn Tanner ’75 and Margaret Graw
Richard Wilhelm ’68
“The support that you’ve provided tonight,” Steinberg said, “will go to the Tenth Decade fund to help our faculty, staff, and students undertake projects ranging from path-breaking research to new approaches to teaching to public engagement. I thank you again for your support and hope that we can all come back together in 10 years to appreciate the fruits of the work we launch tonight.”

A committee of faculty members from across Maxwell’s disciplines — chaired by Tina Nabatchi, of Public Administration and International Affairs — is working to formulate specific Tenth Decade plans. Through the fall, they developed principles for the project that reflect the School’s perspective. Throughout this year, they will work with other faculty members and the Dean’s Office to propose specific initiatives.

According to Linda Birnbaum, assistant dean for advancement, the upcoming details of the Tenth Decade Project will increase already  strong donor support for its emphases.

“Those familiar with the School understand that its approach to citizenship and public service is especially applicable to the complexity of world challenges today,” she says. “People have always been eager to support citizenship education here.

“The project,” she concludes, “will present diverse opportunities for support for citizenship-centered programs at Maxwell.”  

— Dana Cooke

This article appeared in the winter 2015 print edition of Maxwell Perspective; © 2015 Maxwell School of Syracuse University. To request a copy, e-mail