Rob Light, managing partner of Creative Artists Agency, and his wife Shelly have announced a gift of $300,000 that will support scholarships for historically underrepresented students pursuing studies in Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, its Bandier Program in Recording and Entertainment Industries, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). Light is an alum of the university.
“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 opportunity 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 will support 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.
Two of the scholarships will support student scholars interested in pursuing academic programs in 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 hands-on experiences to prepare students for successful music industry careers. Bandier scholars also complete coursework in VPA, the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and the College of Arts and Sciences. The program was made possible through a gift from Syracuse University Trustee and Sony/ATV Music Publishing Chairman and CEO Martin Bandier ’62. Light, along with alumni John Sykes ’77, president, Entertainment Enterprises, iHeartMedia, Inc., and Phil Quartararo ’77, president, Tripod Entertainment, helped create the concept for Bandier’s music industry program.
“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.”
Light made the scholarship announcement during an event held at the CAA headquarters in celebration of Black Music Month, during which Motown Records veteran Suzanne de Passe ’68 was recognized by Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Advancement.
“We are so grateful that Rob and Shelly have decided to support underrepresented students in such a significant way,” says Assistant Vice President Rachel Vassel ’91, of the Office of Multicultural Advancement. “Their generosity underscores the idea that promoting diversity is everyone’s responsibility.”
The funding awards will be administered through the University’s Our Time Has Come (OTHC) Scholarship Program. The program, based in the Office of Multicultural Advancement, supports historically underrepresented students through a variety of scholarships based on financial need. The scholarship program also offers leadership development and mentorship by Syracuse University alumni and friends in addition to the monetary scholarship. The first OTHC scholarship campaign was launched in 1987. Since then, the program has assisted more than 1,300 scholars, with a graduation rate of 100 percent. In the 2018-19 academic year, there were 58 OTHC scholars.