Hochul’s political future took shape in Syracuse U. | Top story
SYRACUSE (TNS) – When Carrier Corporation and Syracuse University struck a deal four decades ago to put the air conditioner manufacturer’s name on the school’s new sports stadium, some students had other ideas.
They wanted to name the football stadium after Ernie Davis, SU’s star half-back and the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.
One of the leaders of the movement was Kathy Courtney, a vice president of the student government who, while in Syracuse, had already fought and won lower prices at the campus bookstore and changes to meal plans. students.
But by the spring of 1979, the $ 2.75 million deal was sealed. The soft-roof stadium would be the Carrier Dome.
Carrier “legitimately bought the name,” Kathy Courtney – now Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul – told the student newspaper Daily Orange in February.
Yet she and others did not give up. Larry Beer, a friend and colleague representing the student government, remembers the day Hochul and another student leader visited Carrier’s headquarters in what are now the Equitable Towers in downtown Syracuse.
They went to meet Mel Holm, who was both CEO of Carrier and Chairman of the Board of SU. The students hoped for a Carrier-Davis compromise.
“As idealistic students, we wanted the Dome to be named after one of our football legends, and in particular an African American,” said Beer, who now lives in Las Vegas. “There was a lot of goodwill surrounding his name. He was a more appropriate namesake for the Dome than the Carrier Corporation.
Hochul came back disappointed, Beer said. But she didn’t dwell on the loss, he added.
“It was more like, ‘Let’s move on to the next challenge,’” he said.
Kathleen Courtney Hochul, a Democrat, now faces what could be the greatest moment of her political career.
She is set to become governor in less than two weeks after Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned over allegations of workplace harassment. Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing. He resigned on Tuesday and said the lieutenant governor would rise to the governorship 14 days after his resignation.
Hochul, from Buffalo, is said to be New York’s first female governor. She would also be the first governor of upstate New York since Nathan L. Miller, a Republican elected in 1920.
Hochul’s time in Syracuse shaped his political future, even before his inscription. While still in high school, she and her father toured the campus, according to her biography published by the League’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. His father told him that the campus seemed like a place “where someone could become a member of Congress.”
Three decades later, that’s exactly what she would do.
Hochul, 62, declined an interview for this story through a spokesperson. As other Democrats called on Cuomo to step down, she has remained silent on the turmoil while continuing to speak virtually to teachers, tourism groups and chambers of commerce about the governor’s plans for 2021.
As a student at Syracuse University, Hochul spoke often, friends and colleagues at the time said.
Once on campus, Hochul’s political strategies were less radical and more reasoned, his then-friends said. She didn’t just point out problems. She pushed then-Chancellor Mel Eggers to come up with specific solutions.
“Some students can be enthusiastic,” said Frank Slazer, who also served with her on the student association’s government body. “I think Kathy has kept her feet on the ground, staying very focused on the university working with the students.”
Hochul described the strategy this way in a February 1979 Daily Orange story: “If we hit a wall with one director, we move on to another. “
One of their biggest hurdles was with the bookstore.
Beer said the students compared the prices of SU’s textbooks to those of other similar schools and found them to be higher. In these pre-ATM times, students also wanted the bookstore to cash student checks. And they wanted secure lockers at the entrance to the store, instead of the open lockers where they were supposed to leave their backpacks when shopping.
Hochul and the student government boycotted the store starting in the spring of 1978. The store manager responded by sacking students.
“It proves that the bookstore is an inhuman institution,” Hochul said in an April 1978 Daily Orange article. In another story, she said that she had personally been out of the bookstore for a full year.
This fall, secure lockers were installed. The bookstore dropped prices slightly, perhaps 5% to 7%, Slazer recalled. Eggers even created a bookstore advisory board, which Hochul called a step in the right direction.
“It was kind of a mark of his tenure,” Slazer said.
Hochul also had other successes. She pushed the university to divest itself of South African investments in protest against the racist apartheid system of the country. (The effort was successful, Hochul’s office now says.)
She also worked to shift focus for freshmen from midsummer to days just before fall classes started. And she got the school to stop charging students for certain uneaten meals on their eating plans.
“I don’t remember her as being much of a party girl,” Beer said. “Maybe I’ve seen her drink a beer a handful of times. She was more studious than some of us.
In the spring of 1979, the staff of the Daily Orange noted the student leaders on campus. They gave Kathy Courtney an “A,” listing the campus changes as proof of the grade.
“It was all the result of Courtney’s work,” wrote editor Thomas Coffey, who is now at The New York Times.
While at SU, Hochul lived in Haven Hall for his first two years, his spokesperson Bryan Lesswing confirmed. She lived off campus in her junior year. As the oldest, she spent the autumn semester in England; that spring she lived at SkyTop Apartments.
Hochul graduated in 1980, the semester before the Dome opened. She continued her law studies at the Catholic University and before working for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and former Rep. John LaFalce. She married William Hochul, who became the top federal prosecutor in western New York.
They moved to Hamburg, where Hochul served on the city council for 14 years. Meanwhile, she fought for the New York State Thruway to remove some toll plazas in western New York.
Coincidentally, Slazer’s aunt was living in Hamburg at the time.
“Kathy would come and campaign,” Slazer said, knocking on this aunt’s door. “My aunt appreciated how diligently she asked for votes.”
Hochul then served as Erie County Clerk from 2007 to 2011. She won a special election to Congress in 2011 and served until 2013. Before Cuomo chose her as his running mate in 2014, she worked as a vice-president. President of the Buffalo Strategic Relations Group. based at M&T Bank.
At a virtual League alumni event last December, Hochul said that before Covid-19, she would visit campus as often as once a month to speak with Chancellor Kent Syverud and others. on the campus.
But no later than 2011, she said syracuse.com | The Post-Standard that despite being an Orange fan, she had never been inside the Carrier Dome.
Instead of naming the Dome after Davis four decades ago, SU created a room in the Carrier Dome in his name. It’s a move Hochul said she liked. It wasn’t until 2009 that the school renamed the turf Ernie Davis Legends Field.
Asked about Hochul’s interest in the Dome name, Beer said he doesn’t remember Hochul as a big football fan. “I think she was more of a fairer,” he said.
Hochul finally made it to the Dome in 2015, her office confirmed. She was alongside Floyd Little to honor Ernie Davis’ field veterans.
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