Michael Frasciello PortraitI believe in trying. I’m a first-generation college graduate. I was an average student in high school, but my guidance counselor felt compelled to tell me, “College isn’t for people like you.” His actual words. Undeterred, I was admitted to a school, took out loans and applied for Pell grants. I left campus after the spring semester with a 1.8 GPA. Maybe college wasn’t for people like me.

I believe in educational opportunity. I enlisted in the Air Force after my two eventful and unproductive semesters of college. Over the next 10 years on active duty, I got married, had two children, worked during the day, took college courses at night, and finished three degrees. Each degree was progressively
harder, but exponentially more rewarding. Twenty years after leaving the military, I completed a Ph.D. while working full-time. Maybe college was for me—or maybe I just needed to find an alternate way through.

I believe in the transformational power of a college education. My story is not unique—it’s a story like those of other part-time students. But it’s our stories that illustrate how lives are changed through learning. It’s our stories that express our commitment to improving the world by first improving ourselves. We share our stories because we desire to encourage, inspire, exemplify—to confidently say, “If I can do it, so can you!” It’s our stories that bring us all to University College.

I believe in the mission of University College. In October, University College celebrates 100 years of supporting students like you and me—students who found a non-traditional pathway into college and emerged transformed. We will acknowledge the countless challenges and obstacles faced by part-time students. We will praise the extraordinary effort required to work all day and study through the night. We will challenge the awkwardness of being the “old” student in class. And we will embrace the exuberance and pride of achieving a Syracuse University degree.

As you embrace your part-time studies this fall, know that University College has an unwavering belief in you. Like the thousands of Syracuse University part-time students before you, and the thousands yet to come, you have a magnificent story of strength, achievement, and change. Your story is our story.

In your service,
Michael J. Frasciello, Dean