Syracuse University receives gift of Illustrated Chronicle of Ivan the Terrible from the Russian Federation

The Consul General of the Russian Federation in New York, Hon. Igor Leonidovich Golubovskiy, presented Syracuse University with a copy of The Illustrated Chronicle of Ivan the Terrible (Russian title: Лицевой летописный свод XVI века) at a ceremony in Bird Library on May 1.

The multivolume set is a color facsimile of the largest compilation of historical information ever assembled in medieval Russia. The manuscript is thought to have been created between 1568 and 1576 and was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible for the purposes of educating his children.

Mr. Golubovskiy was accompanied by Cyril E. Geacintov, a Syracuse University alumnus and president of the Russian Nobility Association, who helped to arrange the gift. Andrew Gordon, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, accepted the gift on behalf of Chancellor Syverud. Dean of Libraries David Seaman introduced Mr. Golubovskiy, who spoke about the benefits of cultural exchanges such as this in normalizing relationships and increasing understanding. Also in attendance was Mr. Michael Perekrestov, seminary librarian and director and curator of collections at the Foundation of Russian History, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, in Jordanville, NY.

Participating faculty and University officials included Dean Karin Ruhlandt, Senior Associate Dean Gerry Greenberg, Professor Erika Haber and Professor Zofia Sztechmiler from the College of Arts & Sciences; Patricia Burak, director of the Lillian and Emanuel Slutzker Center for International Services; and Maxwell School professors Brian Taylor and Michael Wasylenko. Dr. Lucy Mulroney, senior director of Special Collections, showcased a curated selection of special collections holdings related to Russia.

“We are grateful to the Russian Federation for this remarkable gift, which will provide our students and faculty with an important new resource for the study of Russian history, the medieval period, and art history,” said Dean of Libraries David Seaman.

The work is divided into three main series: biblical history, universal history, and Russian history. The facsimiles themselves include the original wording and a translation of the text into modern Russian. The literal meaning of the Russian title is “face chronicle,” alluding to the more than 16,000 miniatures that it contains.

“The collection as a whole will bring Russian medieval history to life for students in a way that only original texts can,” says Erika Haber, associate professor of Russian Language, Literature & Culture. “Since the books are written in the old orthography and translated to modern Russian, they will be of interest to our language students as an example of the old Russian alphabet and writing system. The fabulous illustrations will of course provide context and aid the students in creating meaning.”

This work complements Western medieval manuscript resources held by the Special Collections Research Center and can be viewed there.

Syracuse University student entrepreneurs win big at the New York Business Plan Competition

Syracuse University student entrepreneurship teams dominated the eighth annual New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC), which took place on Friday, April 28, 2017 at SUNY Poly’s NanoTech Complex in Albany. Syracuse teams captured the $100,000 grand prize as well as taking first-place honors in four out of the six main categories. No institution in the competition’s history has achieved this level of success at a single event.

More than 400 student-led teams applied for the statewide competition. Friday’s final featured 103 teams that advanced through regional semifinal rounds that were held across the state.

The statewide NYBPC offers the largest prizes of any student business competition in the world — a total of $160,000 was awarded at this year’s competition. Winners were selected by expert judges, including venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, public and private investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs. Syracuse University student teams came home with $140,000 of the prize money, competing against teams from 60 colleges and universities representing the 10 Regional Economic Development Council zones (Capital Region, Central New York, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, Western New York, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, New York City, and Long Island). Winners were selected by expert judges that included venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, public and private investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs.

The Syracuse prize winners:

  • $100,000 Grand Prize: Spark Charge—Josh Aviv, Bryan Christopher Morris, and Jaydeep Sathe; portable, fast-charging battery unit for electric vehicles; http://www.spcev.com.
  • $10,000 First Place, Clean Technology: Spark Charge: http://www.spcev.com.
  • $10,000 First Place, Social Entrepreneurship/Non-profit: Thrive Project—Ryan Brinkerhoff, Brian Kam, Josh Moon, Khalid Bin Ayaz Khan, Amanda Chou; empowering underserved communities through education and skills training for sustainability; http://thriveproject.org.
  • $10,000 First Place, Service: IIID—Jack Phillips; 3D printed architectural elements for the historic preservation industry.
  • $10,000 First Place, Software/IT: Power Spike—AJ Damiano; influencer marketplace for live streamers; http://power-spike.com.

Syracuse University teams also won the following prestigious NYBPC awards:

  • Undergraduate Excellence Award: Busie—Seth Samowitz, Louis Bookoff, and Joshua Bain; quoting and booking app for charter bus operators.
  • People’s Choice Award: Shine the Magazine—Michaela Anne Quigley; online publication for teenagers and young adults with disabilities.
  • Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise  Awards: Origin Story—Analise Sesay; subscription service of artist/maker products for niche consumer market; Modo Script—David Zuleta; smart pill device integrated with technology platform to combat prescription drug abuse.

Compete CNY, the NYBPC qualifying competition for the Central New York region, was held in March and was organized by the Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad, whose staff also accompanied the teams to Albany last week.  “The Blackstone LaunchPad has provided business planning expertise, mentorship, collaboration space, and presentation guidance to teams across Syracuse University,” said Dean of Libraries David Seaman, “and we are delighted at the impact this new library service has had in its first year of operation.”

As an incentive for Syracuse University teams to participate in the qualifying competition, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) offered $40,000 in prize money from the Raymond von Dran Fund for Student Entrepreneurship (RvD iPrize). RVD iPrize award winners who went on to success in the statewide competition included IIID ($6,000), PowerSpike ($5,000), Spark Charge ($4,500), Modo Script ($3,500), Thrive Project ($3,000), Busie ($3,000), Shine the Magazine ($1,500), and Origin Story ($1,000).

“I am pleased to see our iPrize winners continuing on to sweep so many of the top spots at the statewide competition,” remarked iSchool Dean Elizabeth D. Liddy. “Many of these students were participants in our Information Technology, Design, and Startups minor or spent summers at the Syracuse Student Sandbox working on their companies. I am proud to see their efforts and hard work being so handsomely rewarded.”

Spark Charge also won $10,000 in the Whitman School’s recent Panasci Business Plan Competition—$2,500 as the third place overall winner; $5,000 for the Fetner Prize for Sustainable Enterprise; and $2,500 for the Goldberg Prize for Technology & Innovation.

“We are extremely proud of our student entrepreneurs and what they have accomplished together,” says Alexander McKelvie, Chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises in the Whitman School.”I believe that this truly is a result of bringing together educational resources, funding, and mentors from across the entire SU campus. The diversity in ideas and industries is impressive and underscores the idea that entrepreneurship is a viable path forward for students from every background and school. SU clearly is leading the charge in entrepreneurship education across the state.”

Focus on faculty publications in the Humanities

As part of the Second Annual Humanities Center’s celebration of Syracuse University faculty/staff authors whose humanities-related publications were released in 2016, librarians Michael Pasqualoni and Janet Pease have compiled a reading list and description of the titles: researchguides.library.syr.edu/humanitiesbooksigning2017.

There will also be a physical display of the titles (available for check-out) in the New Books area of Bird Library from April 17 through April 27. For more information about the Humanities Center’s reception on April 18, visit humcenter.syr.edu/event-items/2017.04.18-HCBooks.html.

Libraries to launch redesigned, mobile-friendly website

The Libraries will preview their newly redesigned website to the public beginning on April 12, 2017 . The site, located at libraries.syr.edu during the soft launch period, complies with new University branding guidelines and design elements. It has been in development since late fall 2015.

The project’s primary goals were to create an accessible, responsive design that will automatically resize for any type of device being used. This capability is increasingly important as information access migrates to the mobile environment.

The full launch of the new site is being planned for sometime after mid-May.

Project team members include Daniel Rice, project manager, Cindy Barry, web specialist (now working for the College of Visual and Performing Arts), Pamela Thomas, web and emerging technologies librarian, and Pamela McLaughlin, communications director.

An early and crucial part of the redesign process was to conduct a thorough analysis of the existing site’s usage. Those findings enabled developers to place the most heavily used resources prominently in the new design. This user-centered approach downplays internal organizational silos, which can obscure important informational content.

The project engaged stakeholders from across the Libraries. Web staff reviewed usage data with content owners and affirmed the core content for the new site. To keep staff informed of progress over many months, the project team maintained a blog that highlighted current activities and engaged staff in providing feedback on specific questions and touchpoints. The team also hosted an all–staff open forum and provided periodic updates for the Libraries Management Team.

During the early part of the spring 2017 semester, Learning Commons librarians Tarida Anantachai and John Stawarz conducted hands-on user testing with a group of current students and faculty members. Using a variety of types of devices, individuals were asked to complete a series of tasks on the new site using the “talk aloud” protocol. John and Tarida captured the testers’ actions, as well as their comments about their decision-making process, difficulties they encountered, and general observations about the site. A number of adjustments were made to the design, presentation, and navigation based on their discoveries.

Work on the site will continue until the production launch. Feedback is always welcome at syr.libsurveys.com/web-feedback.

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Libraries’ spring exhibition: You Are Here: Expanding the Concept of Place

Syracuse University Libraries’ spring exhibition, You Are Here: Expanding the Concept of Place, opens with a reception on April 20 from 4:30-6 p.m. in the gallery on the sixth floor of Bird Library.

Through a selection of rare books, pamphlets, maps, manuscripts, photographs, and other artifacts from Special Collections, this exhibition re-frames common notions and accepted definitions of what ‘place’ can be by connecting specifically to the Syracuse community: as in the geographical relevance of the Erie Canal, the conceptual destination of the Underground Railroad, or the student experience specific to Syracuse University.

The exhibit and reception is presented in collaboration with and partially sponsored by the Syracuse University Humanities Center as a part of the 2016 Syracuse Symposium on Place. It will remain on view through mid-August.

Also on view at the Goldstein Faculty Center, the Crouse Hinds Administrative building, and the Joseph I. Lubin House in New York City, is The Lost Spaces of Syracuse University, an exhibition exploring the evolution of Syracuse University’s many buildings and spaces over our 147-year history. From the University’s early years in an office building in downtown Syracuse, to the campus boom of the post-World War II era, and the current development of the Campus Framework, each of these periods of change has added to the list of the University’s “lost buildings.” This exhibition of materials and photographs from the University Archives showcases the legacy of some of these lost spaces.

In conjunction with the Libraries’ exhibit opening, Dr. Brice Nordquist (Writing Program) and Dr. Emily Stokes-Rees (Museum Studies) will present the results of their Delmas-funded Special Collections Research Center Faculty Fellows projects. In its inaugural year, the program provides stipends to selected faculty who incorporate the use of special collections in their classes and enable their students to handle, analyze, and interpret SCRC’s rich primary source materials.

Students in Nordquist’s Rhetorics of Futurity: Utopia, Sci-Fi and City Planning course engaged with materials from SU’s collections of utopian, science fiction, and city planning materials. Students in Stokes-Rees’s Ethnographic Curatorship course had a hands-on curatorial experience with plastics collections and developed a new installation for the Plastics Pioneers Reading Room, located on the sixth floor of Bird Library.