Three Generations of the Zaretzky Family Take Pride in Their Orange Legacy

family photo of the Zaretzky family

Three Generations of the Zaretzky Family Take Pride in Their Orange Legacy

In August 2021, when Lee Zaretzky ’89 and his wife, Lauren, dropped off their oldest child Matt Zaretzky ’25 to study real estate at the Whitman School, Lee couldn’t help but be full of Orange pride that his son had chosen to be the third generation in his family to attend Syracuse University. Matt almost couldn’t help himself. He’d grown up visiting the campus, attending games at the Dome and hearing countless stories from his late grandfather, Harvey Zaretzky ’53; his uncle, Ronald Zaretzky ’79; and his dad about the wonderful experiences they had there.

“It was a proud feeling moving my son onto campus. He even lives in the same dorm I did,” Lee says, admitting that he had always hoped his son would choose to “Go Orange.” “I’m so blown away by the level of support on campus and how well the new students were greeted and welcomed at Convocation. That day, they told the students that Syracuse was a ‘springboard to fulfill all of their dreams—while having a lot of fun along the journey,’ and I can attest to that because it was my experience, too.”

Lee Zaretzky with son Matt Zaretzky at a Syracuse football game

The Zaretzky family legacy at Syracuse University began in the late 1940s, when Harvey enrolled. A U.S. military veteran, he wanted a school that was within driving distance of his New York City home. “It was love at first sight. He just loved it there,” says Harvey’s wife, Gloria, who was engaged to him at the time. “He studied business, joined a fraternity and met so many nice people. It was a nice time in our life.”

It was a proud feeling moving my son onto campus. He even lives in the same dorm I did. I’m so blown away by the level of support on campus and how well the new students were greeted and welcomed at Convocation. That day, they told the students that Syracuse was a ‘springboard to fulfill all of their dreams—while having a lot of fun along the journey,’ and I can attest to that because it was my experience, too.” — Lee Zaretzky ’89

When it came time for Lee to choose a college, he didn’t have to give it much thought. “It was really my only choice,” he says. “I knew it was a special place for my father, who always talked about all the friendships he had developed there. My brother went there. The campus was beautiful. It had the Dome. And the snow and cold are how I roll. I applied early decision and was accepted to study accounting.”

Lee went on to forge his own path at Syracuse, joining a fraternity and making life-long friends. His first-year roommate, who had been randomly selected, happened to be from a few towns over, and they remain great friends today. “After college, we moved to the City together, then followed each other to the suburbs and raised families together.” Lee says. “Our wives are great friends. Our children are friends—and even our dogs are friends.”

Today, Lee is president of Ronsco Inc., the family business, located in New York City. Founded in 1960, the company is a full-service union carpentry contracting company working on buildings large and small in the Big Apple with a focus on quality, safety and green building practices. Some of the company’s building projects include JPMorgan Chase, the Beth Israel Hospital emergency room and the Michael Kors headquarters. He credits Syracuse University for being a big part of the business’ continued success, from the education he and his family members received there to the networking opportunities stemming from the University’s alumni.

Lee’s sense of gratitude has led him to give back to the Whitman School, serving on the Real Estate Advisory Council and the Whitman Advisory Council. He also participates in a Janmester (a special semester during winter break) course on what it’s like to be a subcontractor in New York City and has been a generous donor to the School, as well.

“If sharing my stories, my journey and my successes helps other Whitman students, then I’m all for that. I enjoy it,” he says. “I’m pretty passionate about Syracuse and what I got out of my time there.”

We’re investing in a great education here. My father, brother and I made great friends and great connections, a lifetime of memories, and, of course, received a great education. There are a lot of good people who come out of Syracuse, and I’m proud to know that my son is going to be the next Zaretzky to have that kind of experience here, too.” — Lee Zaretzky ’89

And now it’s Matt Zaretzky’s turn to soak up all that the Whitman School and Syracuse University have to offer as he continues his family’s legacy. Best of all, his dad isn’t too far away—and has been all too happy to visit this fall during Family Weekend and for a recent Whitman Advisory Council meeting.

“We’re investing in a great education here. My father, brother and I made great friends and great connections, a lifetime of memories, and, of course, received a great education,” Lee says. “There are a lot of good people who come out of Syracuse, and I’m proud to know that my son is going to be the next Zaretzky to have that kind of experience here, too.”