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Maxwell School

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 14, 2007

Maxwell School Receives $5-Million Gift in Honor of the Late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Endowment will fund the Moynihan Chair in Public Policy

For more information, please contact:

Jill Leonhardt

The Maxwell School of Syracuse University today announced that it has received a $5-million gift from the New York City-based Leon Levy Foundation to establish the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Policy, in honor of the late distinguished scholar and U.S. Senator from New York. The announcement was made during an event in the U.S. Capitol featuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other members of Congress; former Moynihan staff members, including NBC commentator Tim Russert; and the Senator’s widow, Elizabeth Moynihan.

“We are deeply grateful to the Leon Levy Foundation, and to Founding Trustee Shelby White, for this generous endowment gift,” said Maxwell School Dean Mitchel Wallerstein. “We intend to appoint a leading national figure in the domestic policy area to the Moynihan Chair, an individual whose scholarship will continue the tradition of Senator Moynihan on issues such as urban revitalization, Social Security, the future of the U.S. family, transportation, and government secrecy. Through the research, teaching and public engagement activities of the Moynihan Chair, future generations of faculty and students at the Maxwell School—and elsewhere—will be reminded of the important role that the Senator played in elevating debate and understanding of these critical domestic public policy problems.”

Shelby White said, "Pat Moynihan was a towering figure, as a scholar and a statesman -- for New York, the nation and the world. He was also a friend to my late husband, Leon, and me. The Leon Levy Foundation is proud to honor his legacy with a chair at the University where he began his teaching career.”

Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor underlined the significance of establishing the Moynihan Chair. “Pat Moynihan was an exemplary public servant, one who was at the core a first-rate public intellectual. This remarkably generous gift will help Syracuse University and the Maxwell School perpetuate among future generations of policy makers Senator Moynihan’s ethic that sound public policy must be built upon sound scholarship.”

Senator Moynihan was a longtime friend of the Maxwell School, where he began his academic career as a junior faculty member in 1959-61. He then embarked on a long and storied career in public service, leading ultimately to his four terms as a U.S. Senator representing New York. During that career, the Senator served as a member of the Maxwell School’s Advisory Board and returned often to guest lecture and otherwise support the School and its students. In 1985, he established the annual Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award recognizing and rewarding outstanding junior Maxwell School faculty members; of the 25 recipients, an astonishing 22 remain on the Maxwell faculty today. Upon his retirement from the Senate in 2001, Senator Moynihan rejoined the School as a University Professor, the highest faculty rank at Syracuse University. He held that post until his death in March 2003.

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The Maxwell School of Syracuse University is the premier academic institution in the United States committed to scholarship, civic leadership, and education in public and international affairs. Maxwell is home to Syracuse University’s social science departments and to numerous nationally recognized multidisciplinary graduate programs in public policy, international studies, social policy, and conflict resolution. Maxwell's graduate program in public administration -- the first of its kind in the nation -- is ranked consistently the leading graduate public affairs program in the country.
The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from the estate of Leon Levy, a legendary investor with a longstanding commitment to philanthropy. The Foundation’s overarching goal is to continue the tradition of humanism characteristic of Mr. Levy, by supporting scholarship at the highest level, ultimately advancing knowledge and improving the lives of individuals and society at large.