Celebrating Supply Chain Milestones at Syracuse University

Syracuse University‘s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, formerly the College of Business Administration, has a long and proud history of supporting education and driving innovation in the field of supply chain management and its predecessor studies. In 1919, the College of Business Administration was established, and with it, the nation’s first supply chain management program, under a traffic and transportation specialization, was created. In 1921, Whitman School was the first in the country to offer a class on motor transportation. From that time, the Whitman School and its supply chain program continued to evolve and expand to include a wide variety of supply chain disciplines, undergraduate and master’s programming that has been ranked among the best in the nation, a rigorous Ph.D. program and comprehensive executive education certificates. In addition to these offerings, the Whitman School, with the assistance of its generous benefactors, established globally recognized supply chain learning and research centers and institutes, such as the Robert H. Brethen Operations Management Institute, endowed in 1988 by Alumnus Robert H. Brethen, chairman and CEO of Phillips Industries. Throughout the years, the Whitman School has continuously been admired by industry reports and global research firms for its progressive transportation and supply chain programming, award-winning faculty research, notable supply chain alumni and contribution to the supply chain industry.

This year, the Whitman School will honor landmark milestones for two central components of its supply chain legacy, the 100th anniversary of its H.H. Franklin Center for Supply Chain Management and the 70th anniversary of its Harry E. Salzberg Memorial Program.

In 1920, the Whitman School was accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, making it the 16th collegiate business school in the United States to be honored with the designation. That same year, the supply chain program received an endowment for the H. H. Franklin Chaired Professorship in Transportation by the founder of the Franklin Automobile Company, Herbert H. Franklin, who also endowed the H.H. Franklin Center for Supply Chain Management.

The H.H. Franklin Center for Supply Chain Management’s mission is to enhance the University’s position as a nationally recognized leader in supply chain management education and research. In support of that mission, the center provides students with advantages in the supply chain marketplace by offering specialized opportunities, including internships, conferences and contact with leading industry professionals.

Franklin was the School’s first benefactor. Students were said to have considered him “a master builder of industry and business, a friend of business education and a man of high purpose and broad vision.” Nearly a century later, his foresight and generosity continue to enrich the learning experience of the Whitman School.

The Franklin Center and its advisory board also oversee the annual Harry E. Salzberg Memorial Program, an annual award ceremony that brings together members of the Syracuse community, industry executives, policymakers and more to share their insights and to discuss the transformation of supply chain. During the Salzberg Memorial Program, the Franklin Center awards the highly coveted Salzberg Medallion, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious supply chain award. This award is given to practitioners, academic researchers or advocates who have made outstanding achievements or contributions in the field of transportation and supply chain. Companies or agencies are also honored for pioneering ideas, practices or policies that have reshaped transportation and supply chain.

The Salzberg Memorial Fund was established in 1949, by Murray M. Salzberg ’37, a Syracuse University alumnus and mass transportation entrepreneur, in memory of the transportation legacy of his father, Harry E. Salzberg, who founded H. E. Salzberg Company. The company bought trolley services and short-line railroads to areas across the United States, including Upstate New York. The fund supported the Harry E. Salzberg Institute and annual Salzberg Memorial Program.

Murray M. Salzberg “took special pride in the development of the Salzberg Memorial Program,” claimed Syracuse University archives.

Since its inception, the program has honored the distinguished careers and contributions of professionals who many in the industry hail as legends. Notable award winners include: C.R. Smith, chairman of the board for American Airlines Inc. (1950); Alan S. Boyd, first secretary of transportation, U.S. Department of Transportation (1966), Frederick W. Smith, Founder of FedEx (1981), Robert V. Delaney, practice leader for transportation of Arthur D. Little Inc. (1988), Donald J. Schneider, president and CEO of Schneider National, Inc. (1994); William Copacino, a global managing partner of Accenture (2002); Herbert S. Shear, chair and chief executive officer of Genco Distribution Services (2005); NIKE Inc. (2008); PepsiCo (2010); and Google (2017).

Many award winners noted upon their selection that being honored with such a prestigious and widely recognized award, such as the Salzberg Medallion, was one of the highest accomplishments of their careers.

Last year, at the 69th Salzberg Memorial Program, the Whitman School honored A.P. Moller – Maersk, a transport and logistics conglomerate based in Copenhagen, Denmark, who is a global leader in container shipping and ports. Dr. Hau L. Lee, The Thoma Professor of Operations, Information and Technology at Stanford University also joined the ranks of supply chain professionals that have received this award.

“The Salzberg Memorial Program was, and still is, a big deal to the supply chain management and transportation community,” explained Fran Tucker, associate professor of marketing and supply chain and co-chair of the Salzberg Memorial Program. “The program isn’t just about innovators receiving an award or being recognized for their work, the Salzberg Memorial Program is a chance for open discussion about the future of supply chain and logistics and an opportunity to share new creative ideas.”

Each year, the Salzberg Memorial Program includes lectures from the medallion recipient and presentations from distinguished professionals and select students. Past lectures have explored groundbreaking topics such as cases for policy change, the future of intermodal transport, implications of automotive transportation, supply chain regulation and more.

“This is an exciting time to be a part of the supply chain and transportation field,” said Gary La Point, co-director of the H.H. Franklin Center for Supply Chain and the Harry Salzberg Memorial Program. “Advances in technology are leading to many new and creative applications in transportation and in supply chain management. These exciting new possibilities are causing us to re-examine the way we think about all aspects of the supply chain.”

The Whitman School is committed to being at the forefront of this transformation and providing avenues through its programs, such as the Salzberg Memorial Program, to share in open discussion and educational experiences.

Arielle Spears