CAA partner and managing director Rob Light and his wife Shelly, donated $300,000 to his alma mater Syracuse University, to support a scholarship program students seeking a career in public relations and entertainment.
“As a member of the Board of Trustees, Rob is especially sensitive to the impact that scholarships have on our students,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “The Lights’ generous gift will help the University reach its critical goal in the Academic Strategic Plan to expand opportunities to diverse groups of promising students. The University is committed to creating an inclusive student body through access to vital resources and support.”
The gift from the Lights will endow three scholarships for historically underrepresented students pursuing studies in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, its Bandier Program in Recording and Entertainment Industries, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).
Two of the scholarships will be directed at students seeking to participate in programs at the Newhouse School and in VPA. The third scholarship is for a student enrolled in the preeminent Bandier Program in Recording and Entertainment Industries, which combines the study of the business of music, media, marketing and entrepreneurship with practical experiences aimed at preparing students for a career in the music industry.
“I have always believed that my time at Syracuse University opened doors and provided amazing opportunities that were invaluable to my career. My wife Shelly and I have always felt strongly about sharing our success with others,” Light says. “We are proud and excited to endow three scholarships for diverse students in need in the Bandier Program and the Newhouse School, and through the Carolyne Barry Scholarship in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Our love for the University is enormous, which is why we are thrilled to help students join the Syracuse family and have access to the same opportunities that I did.”
The Lights announced their gift during an event held at the CAA headquarters in celebration of Black Music Month, honoring entertainment trailblazer Suzanne de Passe, who also graduated from Syracuse.
A number of Syracuse alumni, who have gone on to become recognized figures in entertainment and sport were also in attendance, including award-winning singer and actress Vanessa Williams ’85; actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph; former chairperson and CEO of BET Networks Debra Lee; Executive Vice-President and Head of Original Programming at BET Networks Connie Orlando ’89; and Pro Football Hall of Famer Floyd Little ’67, H’16.
The funding awards will be administered through the University’s Our Time Has Come (OTHC) Scholarship Program and were made in the name of the Light Family Newhouse Scholarship, the Light Family Bandier Scholarship and the Carolyne Barry Scholarship, which was named in honor of Shelly’s sister, Carolyne Barry.