Falk College Announces Evan Weissman Scholarship Fund – Syracuse University News


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Professor Evan L. Weissman was a tireless advocate for equity in the food system. A highly approachable, committed teacher who engaged students in community-based work to advance social change, his efforts provided the foundation for many communities regionally, nationally and beyond for grassroots food justice initiatives.

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Evan Weissman

Weissman passed away unexpectedly while at home with his family on April 9, 2020. To honor his legacy and to continue the work he believed in so deeply, his family has created the Evan Weissman Scholarship Fund. The scholarship will defray tuition costs for food studies graduate students.

As an educator, mentor, scholar and friend, Weissman was committed to the human condition. He taught and inspired students and colleagues alike by rolling up his sleeves, working side-by-side with them in grassroots efforts, most of which he envisioned and ultimately led, to address food disparities in the Syracuse community. His work continues to serve as a national best practices model for bringing food justice to communities across urban America.

“We know how much Evan loved his students: he was so delighted to see them not only learning in the classroom but also learning in and from the community. He firmly believed that food justice was both a human rights and civil rights issue,” says Marsha Weissman, Professor Weissman’s mother. “In creating this scholarship, we are keeping Evan’s spirit alive.”

Those who would like to make a gift to the Evan Weissman Scholarship Fund can make a secure gift online. To make a gift by check, please make it out to Syracuse University and mail to Falk College Advancement, 427 White Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244. If you have any questions, please contact David Salanger, assistant dean for Advancement and External Relations at 315.443.4588 or [email protected], or Megan Myers, assistant director of development at 315.443.1817 or [email protected]

two adults and three children sitting

Evan Weissman and his family.

“Professor Weissman was a dedicated educator and mentor who engaged students by connecting them to real-world experiences, including involvement in his own scholarship, advocacy, and community work to build a more equitable food system. By bringing students out of the classroom and into the world, Professor Weissman’s students became active change-makers for social justice, learning values and skills that will serve them well as leaders of tomorrow,” says Diane Lyden Murphy, Dean of Falk College. “We are deeply grateful to the Weissman family for their meaningful gift. The Evan Weissman Scholarship Fund honors Evan’s legacy and his deep commitment to his students.”

Weissman joined Falk College in 2012 and played an instrumental role on the collaborative team that successfully launched a bachelor of science in food studies in 2014 and additional academic programs since that time. In addition to his service as undergraduate director of the Falk food studies program, Weissman was an affiliated faculty member in the Aging Studies Institute and the Maxwell School’s department of geography. He was an active research collaborator at the University, SUNY ESF and beyond.

Weissman was a founding member and served on the board of Syracuse Grows and served on the Onondaga County Agricultural Council. He was also involved with the Syracuse Hunger Project. His unwavering dedication to these causes also helped launch the newly-formed Syracuse-Onondaga Food Systems Alliance (SOFSA), a multi-sector coalition of stakeholders from across the food system in Onondaga County.

people working in compost pile

As a professor and researcher, Evan Weissman (pictured far right) connected his students to the causes of inequality to food access and the many ways to address it. His unwavering dedication to these causes led to him to be a co-founder of Syracuse Grows, an organization that supports urban food production through community gardening.

His scholarship was directly and consistently focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion through community-engaged, participatory teaching. Shortly before he passed, Weissman was awarded the Lender Faculty Fellowship. This project continues with the leadership of his colleague and friend, Maxwell School Professor Jonnell Robinson, and student fellows focused on creating a local food system that prioritizes access, sustainability and resiliency.

The newly created scholarship honoring Weissman will support current and future students in advancing his life-long commitment to food justice and using food as a tool for social change.

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