Former S.U. Quarterback Don McPherson to Address Bullying at Caz Forum

29 Sep

Screenshot 2014-09-29 09.28.28

CAZENOVIA, NY – Former Syracuse University quarterback Don McPherson, who led the Orange to an undefeated season in 1987 and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting that year, will explore the issue of bullying – what generates it and how it can be addressed in sports, at the workplace and in the home – when he delivers the next Cazenovia Forum lecture on Thursday, October 16 at 7:00 pm at the Catherine Cummings Theatre on Lincklaen Street in Cazenovia.

The event is free of charge and no reservations are required. An open reception will follow.  Regular Forum-goers should take note that this event will be held on a Thursday evening, a departure from the usual Friday evening schedule.

With bullying and domestic violence having emerged recently as troubling issues for the National Football League, McPherson will offer his perspectives drawn from his playing career and his many years of experience speaking on college campuses and mentoring youth.  In particular, his presentation will examine the roots of these behaviors, as well as bullying’s growing impact as a workplace issue and in fueling a general incivility permeates much of modern day communications.

In 1994, after retiring from a professional career that included stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Oilers of the NFL and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Ottawa Rough-Riders of the Canadian Football League, McPherson turned his efforts to the issue of “men’s violence against women,” as director of Sport in Society’s Mentors in Violence Prevention Program, taking over for the program’s founder, Jackson Katz. He emerged as a national leader and advocate for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence, and has spent the last two decades conducted workshops and lectures for more than 250 college campuses, community organizations and national sports and violence prevention organizations.

 McPherson has twice testified before the United States Congress and has worked closely with the U.S. Departments of Education and Defense on issues of sexual violence in education and the military, respectively.  He has provided commentary on numerous national news programs and was featured in O Magazine and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.  Don also created and hosted “Training for Life” on MSG Varsity, a life skills TV show that examined a myriad of social issues and sports. In 2012, Training for Life’s episode on “Sports Parenting” was nominated for an Emmy Award.

In addition to speaking at the Cazenovia Forum, McPherson will meet earlier in the day with Cazenovia High School students to discuss the issue of schoolyard bullying and its impacts.

Local sponsors of this event are Buyea’s, Cazenovia Lions Club, Cazenovia Rotary Club, Fast Trac Markets, GHD, Marquardt, McIntosh Box and Pallet, Pelco, and Pro-Tel.

“With the recent bullying allegations and domestic violence issues that have emerged in the NFL, Cazenovians will have an opportunity to hear from someone who not only has lived the life of a professional football player, but who also has been an activist on these issues for nearly two decades,” said Cindy Sutton, President of the Cazenovia Forum.  “We thank our sponsors and look forward to welcoming Don back to Central New York, where he is so fondly remembered as one of S.U.’s greatest and most accomplished athletes.”

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick on Committing to Community Involvement

20 Sep

By Eli Anderson, Caz. College Senior

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick says three qualities are needed to spark positive action in a community: energetic enthusiasm, creativity, and moral authority.

His lecture Friday, September 12, titled, “Committing to Community Involvement,” was delivered at Cazenovia’s Catherine Cummings Theater, on Lincklaen Street. It was open to all, courtesy of The Cazenovia Forum, a public affairs lecture series with regularly scheduled nationally and internationally known speakers.

In 2012, Myrick, a Democrat, gained national recognition when he was sworn in as Ithaca’s youngest mayor and the first person of color to hold that office. He was 24, making him one of the youngest elected mayors in United States history. Now 27 and in his third year as mayor, Myrick admits he still has trouble convincing other politicians who he is. “Everybody in the city was used to the idea, especially the staff, because I’d been on the city council for four years,” Myrick said before his speech. “But when I travel to Albany or D.C., it’s very funny. I’ll say, ‘Oh I’m the mayor,’ and they reply, ‘Hah! Yeah that’s pretty funny.’ It doesn’t bother me.”

Myrick is used to being one of the youngest politicians in a room. He was elected to Ithaca’s Common Council at age 20, while still a junior at Cornell University.

Yet, Myrick’s childhood was drastically different from his time in college. His father struggled with a crack cocaine addiction and ultimately left his mother to raise four children on her own.

“I spent my first nine years in what you call housing instability,” Myrick told the audience. “Bouncing between shelters, living with friends, family – sometimes living in apartments of our own, and sometimes out of our car.” Now he is in charge of a $63 million budget.

Since his election as mayor, Myrick has led a successful effort to overhaul city government, effectively closing a $3 million budget deficit. Ithaca is now a state leader in job creation and it has the lowest unemployment rate in New York State. He also turned his reserved parking space at city hall into a public park and brought Fourth of July fireworks back to Ithaca after a half-century hiatus, two accomplishments he shared with Friday’s audience to illustrate creative, enthusiastic leadership.

“We didn’t fix our budget deficit that night,” Myrick said of the fireworks show. “But what we did was show people that even though these are hard times, they aren’t the end of times. And that kind of energy and enthusiasm is essential.”

However, Myrick is the first to give credit for his accomplishments where it is due. He claims that it takes a community to look after its people, and vice versa – something he calls moral authority. “All of my success is a community success,” Myrick said near the end of his speech. “It was the power of the collective. If you can tie that sense of moral authority – that duty – to your creativity, if you can tie it to a youthful, energetic enthusiasm, if you can do that, you’ll change your community, your community will change your state, your state will change your country, and together – we’ll change the world.”

Myrick’s lecture was well received by the audience, which consisted of listeners both young and old. Cazenovia’s mayor, Kurt Wheeler, was also in attendance and provided Myrick’s introduction. The 45-minute speech was followed by questions from the audience and an open recession with refreshments.

One questioner asked Myrick how long it would be before his energy and success took him elsewhere. The mayor said he plans to stay local, despite receiving offers from high levels of government in Washington.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Myrick answered. “I’ve had some pretty attractive offers. But there’s no pay raise in the world that can replace being near my family.”

The Cazenovia Forum’s next speaker will be former NFL quarterback and Syracuse alumni Don McPherson, who will address the topic of bullying. The lecture will take place Thursday, October 16.

Ithaca’s Svante Myrick, One of the Nation’s Youngest Mayors, to Discuss Community Engagement at Cazenovia Forum

18 Aug


Svante Myrick

CAZENOVIA, NY – Ithaca’s young, dynamic mayor, Svante Myrick, will discuss public policy and community engagement when he delivers the next Cazenovia Forum lecture on Friday, September 12, 2014, at 7:00 pm at the Catherine Cummings Theatre on Lincklaen Street.

 The event is free of charge and no reservations are required. An open reception will follow.

In his presentation, titled “Committing to Community Engagement,” Myrick will relate his experiences in city government and politics, which began with his election to the Ithaca Common Council when he was 20 years old and still an undergraduate student at Cornell University.  Four years later, in 2012, he drew national attention when he was sworn in as Ithaca’s youngest mayor and the first person of color to hold that office.

Click here to view an NBC News profile on Myrick.

Myrick grew up in a family that struggled through poverty and homelessness. He graduated from Sherburne-Earlville Public Schools in 2005 and Cornell University in 2009.

Upon his election as mayor in 2012, he led a successful effort to overhaul city government and close a $3 million budget deficit.  He also championed and passed a series of economic development reforms in the city, which has led the state in job creation in 22 of the 24 months he has been in office.  Ithaca today has the lowest unemployment rate in New York State.

Myrick has also undertaken efforts to move city government into the Internet age by overhauling its web presence and by embracing the use of social media as a tool to improve public engagement.

“While Svante Myrick’s personal story is one of enormous triumph against all odds, he would be the first to tell you that he is not a self-made man – that it was support from the community that got him where he is today,” said Cindy Sutton, the Cazenovia Forum’s President.  “We look forward to hearing how his life experiences are driving his efforts to expand community engagement in Ithaca while meeting the challenges of delivering good government.”


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