Skip to content
Havva Karakas-Keles at Orange Central 2023

On the Eve of 100: Orange Central Attendees Hear Plans to Celebrate Maxwell’s Centennial

October 6, 2023

Dean David M. Van Slyke told the crowd that the year ahead will include celebrations and other engagement opportunities united by a theme borrowed from the Athenian Oath—‘Ever Strive.’

Standing before a crowd that gathered in the Maxwell School’s Dr. Paul and Natalie Strasser Legacy Room for an Orange Central event on Friday, Sept. 29, Dean David M. Van Slyke offered a short history lesson about the school’s founding.

George Holmes Maxwell, an 1888 Syracuse University alumnus who became a successful Boston patent attorney, financier, inventor and shoe manufacturer, made a gift to his alma mater to establish a "School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.”

“His generous gift funded what we now proudly call the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, which first opened on Oct. 3, 1924, in Slocum Hall,” Van Slyke explained. It offered an undergraduate citizenship course, a weekly seminar in political science and a one-year graduate program in public administration.

“As you know, we’ve come a long way in the 10 decades since,” the dean added, “offering a range of highly regarded undergraduate and graduate programs that share in the goal of making the world a better place for all. With more than 3,000 students, 200 faculty, and nearly 100 staff, we learn and work in 12 departments and 15 different research centers and institutes. We are an engaged, highly accomplished community of alumni, students, faculty, staff and supporters.”  

David Van Slyke Orange Central 2023
Dean David M. Van Slyke shared some of the Maxwell School’s centennial plans during a reception in the Strasser Legacy Room. Maxwell’s Orange Central festivities also included an open house in the Strasser Commons and a gathering for the policy studies community.

Indeed. The dean’s remarks during Orange Central—a campuswide alumni homecoming weekend—served as a kick-off for a year-long celebration of the Maxwell School as it approaches its 100th anniversary in October 2024.

Plans are in the works for special events, including panel discussions, regional get-togethers and two large celebrations—an alumni awards ceremony and gathering in the iconic Smithsonian Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., on May 31, and a grand celebration in Syracuse in the fall of 2024.

“We look forward to welcoming our alumni, faculty, staff and friends back to the place where it all began, as we revel in the spirit of Maxwell,” said the dean.

Other centennial plans include the production of a video celebration of Maxwell’s history, an interactive digital map showing Maxwell’s vast global presence—38,500 alumni reside in all 50 states and 154 countries, and a commemorative edition of the school’s alumni magazine, Maxwell Perspective. Alumni will be invited to engage with the Maxwell School through a variety of outreach efforts, including a social media campaign.

The centennial’s theme connects its past and future: ever strive.

The two words are etched on the wall in the Maxwell School’s first-floor foyer. They begin the Oath of the Athenian City-State, “which serves as a constant reminder of our mission–to leave what we find better, greater and more beautiful than we found it,” Van Slyke said. He told Orange Central attendees, “As we embark on our centennial, let us recommit ourselves to the values and principles that have shaped us over the past century. Together, as a community of scholars, practitioners, and advocates for positive change, we will continue to make a profound impact on the world.”

By Jessica Youngman

Published in the Fall 2023 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

Celebrate With Us

For the latest Maxwell School 100th anniversary news and events, visit our centennial webpage.

Communications and Media Relations Office
200 Eggers Hall