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With Deepest Gratitude

Falk College Honors Retiring Faculty and Staff
Standing in a row with Dean Jordan, 2 males and 2 female persons retiring from Falk

At a May 3 reception, Falk College Dean Jeremy Jordan (far left) celebrated the retirement of, from left to right, Michael Veley, Dennis Deninger, Donna Fecteau, and Dianne Seeley.

Falk College acknowledges with gratitude the contributions and dedicated service of five faculty and two staff members retiring this year: Thom deLara, Dennis Deninger, Donna Fecteau, Eric Kingson, Eileen Lantier, Dianne Seeley, and Michael Veley.

Here’s a look at the Falk College retirees who were honored at a celebration Friday, May 3 in Falk College Complex:

Thom deLara portrait
Thom deLara

Thom deLara, M.S.W., M.B.A.

Professor of Practice in the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)

Thom has 50 years of experience as an administrator, academic, licensed mental health practitioner, and management consultant. Prior to joining Syracuse University, he was chief executive for two not-for-profit organizations and served as vice-president of business development and strategic planning at a large health care organization.

Thom has authored more than 30 funded federal, state, local, and foundation grant applications, totaling more than $10 million. These grants established and expanded primary care services for rural and underserved communities in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Thom also taught courses at Cornell University on the politics of public budgeting, critical issues in healthcare, and strategic management in healthcare.

Thom joined the Syracuse University faculty in 2002 and served for 14 years as Chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy. He led substantial advancements in the curriculum to train students to meet the mental health and relational needs of children and families. Thom was deeply involved in the creation of the highly respected MFT training facility at Peck Hall, and he led the development and implementation of the online master’s degree program in marriage and family therapy.

In addition to his service as a faculty member and department chair, he served as a member of the University Senate, and numerous college and university committees. In all his work, Thom has demonstrated personal dedication to expanding and improving the quality of health care and mental health care for underserved populations and communities.

Dennis Deninger portrait
Dennis Deninger

Dennis Deninger

Professor of Practice in the Department of Sport Management

Dennis is a former television production executive and Emmy Award-winner for innovation in sports television, production on digital platforms, and educational television. He spent 25 years leading production teams at ESPN, where he launched more than a dozen televised series and events, including Wimbledon, Major League Soccer, and the National Spelling Bee. He developed for American television the digital instant review technology called “Shot Spot,” which is now in use at all major tennis tournaments.

Dennis is the author of three books, including “The Football Game That Changed America” from Rowman and Littlefield scheduled for release this fall. He has written and directed two documentary films at Syracuse University: “America’s First Sport” about the history and rapid growth of lacrosse, and “Changing Sports, Changing Lives” on the impact of adaptive sports on persons with disabilities. His expert commentary is published in countless national and international media outlets, including The New York Times, Forbes, USA Today, Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, and many others.

As a professor of practice at Syracuse University, Dennis created new graduate and undergraduate level courses and served as the founding director of the sports communications graduate program at the Newhouse School. Dennis has taught in Falk College since 2010. He was honored with the Falk College Faculty Member of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014 and 2024.

Donna Fecteau

Donna Fecteau

Administrative Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science

Donna joined Syracuse University in 1987 as a temporary part-time employee in Human Resources. Within just a few months, she was hired full-time as office coordinator position in Health and Physical Education, now known as Falk College’s Department of Exercise Science. At the time, she had the only computer in the department with a hard drive. In fact, her understanding of hard drives and floppy discs was a key reason she was hired for the job.

She coordinated reservations for the gyms, pools, and fields used by students throughout campus. She was responsible for the one-credit activity courses that eventually became the I-Move program. Those courses enrolled up to 3,000 students each year from across campus.
In 1996, she was promoted to the administrative secretary position. The Exercise Science offices were in the Women’s Building until they joined Falk College and moved into the Falk Complex. During her time at Syracuse, Donna has supported students and faculty alike with her positive energy and kindness.

Eric Kingson Portrait
Eric Kingson

Eric Kingson, M.P.A., Ph.D.

Professor in the School of Social Work

Eric joined the Syracuse University social work faculty in 1998. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Syracuse University Aging Studies Institute and an affiliated researcher with the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Eric is a founding co-director of the Social Security Works, which launched the Strengthen Social Security Coalition with over 300 national and state organizations dedicated to advancing economic security through strengthening and expanding Social Security policies and programs.

Eric served as policy advisor to two presidential commissions — the 1982 National Commission on Social Security Reform and the 1994 Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform. He was also an active volunteer on President Obama’s Retirement Security Policy Advisory Committee and later served on the advisory committee to the Social Security Administration’s transition team. He has held many service and leadership roles, including with the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Gerontological Society of America.

His numerous journal articles, book chapters, and research studies examine the politics and economics of population aging, Social Security policy, cross-generational obligations, and retirement income security. His expert commentary and contributions have been published in major media outlets such as the Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, and many others. Eric is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2007 Chancellor’s Citation for Faculty Excellence and Scholarly Distinction, the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Unsung Hero Award from Syracuse University, the 2015 Falk College Faculty Researcher of the Year Award, among others.

Eileen Lantier
Eileen Lantier

Eileen Lantier, R.N., Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health

Eileen joined the Syracuse University College of Nursing faculty in 1983. She served as the Director of the Learning Resource Center on campus and assisted with the development of satellite learning resource centers in Binghamton and Waverly, New York, to support students enrolled in nursing programs in those regions. She and her colleagues successfully secured grants to procure the most up-to-date technology and promote excellence in clinical care. One standout example was the limited residency Nurse Practitioner program, which enrolled students from across the U.S. and as far away as Saudi Arabia. In addition to her teaching, applied research, and service, Eileen developed a NYSED-approved Certificate in Nursing Informatics at Syracuse University.

In 2006, Eileen was appointed Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the newly merged College of Human Services and Health Professions, a predecessor of Falk College. For nearly 20 years, Eileen led the formation and transformation of countless academic degree programs across Falk College, including the inception of new programs for Syracuse University ranging from public health to sport analytics and beyond. Eileen skillfully managed curriculum, program review, course delivery, academic integrity, admissions, and many other key administrative areas.

At the university level, Eileen has served on the Syracuse University Senate, Chancellor’s University Leadership Team, Forum on Institutional Effectiveness, Health Care Advisory Committee, Campus Wellness Task Force, Nurses Alumni Association, and many others. She was appointed to several city, county, and state commissions, including the Syracuse Commission for Women and County Drug and Alcohol Commission. The New York State Board of Regents appointed Eileen to its Blue-Ribbon Panel on the Nursing Shortage.

Dianne Seeley portrait
Dianne Seeley

Dianne Seeley, M.S.

Operations, Space, and Facilities Manager for the Office of the Dean

Dianne worked at the Syracuse University Registrar’s Office as a classroom scheduling assistant before joining Falk College in 2008 as an administrative assistant in the Dean’s Office. Two years later, she started working in space, operations, and facilities for Falk. At the time, Falk programs were scattered across eight locations, from Drumlins on south campus to several main campus locations.

When the College of Law planned to vacate MacNaughton, White, Barclay, and Grant for the newly constructed Dineen Hall, Dianne and her colleagues prepared to bring Falk College under one roof. Dianne was a driving force in developing and implementing this extraordinary project that involved four years of planning, renovations, and construction from 2011 to the Falk College Complex dedication in 2015. The convergence of academic departments and administrative suites involved careful planning to ensure the Complex met the diverse programmatic needs for research and teaching. It included construction of major laboratories, including the Nutrition Assessment, Consultation and Education (ACE) Center, the Milton Conrad Sport Technology Lab, and the Susan R. Klenk Learning Café and Kitchens. The innovative design of the Klenk Kitchens earned recognition and honors from the American Institute of Architects Central New York Chapter.

In the years to follow, Dianne managed major projects such as the construction of the Falk Café on the second floor, the exercise science and public health relocations into Barclay, and the conversion of the former College of Law Library Stacks to the beautiful multipurpose space in Falk 335. In between these major milestones, Dianne has facilitated countless numbers of moves, ensuring everyone has what they need—from desks to door keys.

Michael Veley
Michael Veley

Michael Veley, M.P.S.

the Rhonda S. Falk Endowed Professor in the Department of Sport Management

Michael spent nearly two decades as a Division I athletic administrator at Cornell and Syracuse, including 10 years at Syracuse University, where he implemented marketing, communications, and corporate sponsorship initiatives. He is a three-time National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) award winner.

Michael has served as founding director and chair of the Department of Sport Management since 2005. Under his leadership, the program has become a national trailblazer in the sport industry. He led the development of more than 25 new academic courses, the nation’s first undergraduate degree in sport analytics, and a first-of-its-kind undergraduate degree in esports. Michael ensured that experiential learning was a defining feature of sport academic degree programs, which has resulted in a strong tradition of alumni career success and industry impact.

He brought the industry into the program, building partnerships with organizations such as the New York Yankees, National Baseball Hall of Fame, National Basketball Association Development League, and many others. Michael was instrumental in creating the Sport Management Advisory Council, which is comprised of influential sport industry presidents, founders, and CEOs. In 2013, he was named the inaugural Rhonda S. Falk Endowed Professor of Sport Management. That year he was also honored with a Faculty of the Year Award for excellence in service and dedication to Falk College, Syracuse University, and the greater Syracuse community.