Alumnus Grant Palmer, Head of Palmer Family Foundation, Establishes Endowed Fund to Help Bandier Students’ International Travel

A new endowed fund established by Grant E. Palmer ’13 will help Newhouse School students in the prestigious Bandier Program for Recording and Entertainment Industries pay for costs related to an annual immersion trip to study the music industry in emerging markets across the globe.  

Grant E. Palmer ’13

The Palmer Family International Benchmark Fund will help cover the cost of airfare, hotels and other travel-related expenses. This year’s Bandier immersion trip across two weeks in May took students to southeast Asia, where they had about 40 meetings with industry leaders and professionals. 

“Recognizing traveling abroad holds immense importance for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, this endowment offers students an invaluable opportunity to transcend the limitations of their circumstances and partake in the Bandier program’s international benchmark trip, a fully immersive global educational experience,” Palmer said. 

The Bandier immersion trip started in 2019 with travel to Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong, but was put on hold during the COVID pandemic. It returned in 2023 with a journey to study the music business in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.  

students stand in a glowing tunnel at the Spotify offices in Singapore
In Singapore, the students learned from top music executives at SE Asia Spotify, in particular how the business model of the music industry of the East differs from the West.

The trip provides an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the culture and business of the world’s most pivotal emerging music markets. For instance, they met this year with leaders from international companies with offices in southeast Asia, including YouTube, Spotify, Live Nation, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. 

“Every path to a financially and creatively robust music industry leads through emerging markets,” Bandier program director Bill Werde said. “Each trip focuses on the governing dynamics of the music business in each market, as well as import and export opportunities for these markets and the West, always through the lens of ethical collaboration.” 

students sit around a table in a meeting at Sun Eater music company in Indonesia.
Students learned in real-time how the multifaceted music company Sun Eater tackles the challenges and successes in Indonesia.

They also spend time exploring local cultures. Students on this year’s trip caught a Blackpink concert in Bangkok, toured the Mekong Delta in Vietnam and visited an ethical elephant sanctuary in Thailand. 

A multi-talented music professional from Maplewood, New Jersey, Palmer works as both a royalties analyst at SiriusXM and as a topline melody writer for Sony Music Publishing. He is best known for his work on projects including the movie “The First Purge” and TV series including “Pen15,” “Grown-Ish” and “All-American,” along with ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”   

Palmer holds a bachelor’s degree from the Bandier program, which combines the study of the business of music, media, marketing and entrepreneurship with hands-on experiences to prepare students for successful careers in the music industry.   

students dip their hands in water at the Pattaya Ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand
Students make paper at the Pattaya Ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand.

Palmer said his appreciation for diverse musical cultures and genres has its origins in his Jamaican and German heritage, and that appreciation blossomed while studying at Syracuse.  

Trips abroad allowed him to collaborate with producers in Tokyo, London and Paris, significantly influencing his artistry and sharpening his international music industry expertise.  

“As a student, traveling abroad was a transformative experience for me, offering unique perspectives and opportunities for personal and collective growth far beyond the diaspora of campus,” Palmer said. “When the opportunity arose to pay it forward perpetually, it was a no-brainer.” 

students stand in the lobby of Pops, a leading online video entertainment platform, in Vietnam.
In Vietnam, the students met with the founder/CEO and other top executives at Pops, the leading online video entertainment platform.

The Bandier program is committed to the idea that all qualified students should have access to the many unique opportunities that the program provides, regardless of that student’s financial standing.   

“We are grateful for Grant’s support of our hands-on, immersive vision for the Bandier program,” Werde said. “He has set an example not only through his generosity, but as a role model for current and future Bandier students about the impact the program can have on those who aspire to work in the music and entertainment fields.”  

In addition to his commitment to the Bandier program, Palmer serves on Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Advancement Advisory Council and has created the Our Time Has Come Palmer Family Study Abroad Fund.

Palmer’s father, Deryck Palmer ’78, is a lifetime member of Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees. Grant Palmer said the International Benchmark Fund embodies his family’s commitment to providing financial support and resources in areas that will have an immediate impact.  

“My vision is for the Palmer Family International Benchmark Fund to act as a catalyst for social mobility, empowering recipients to overcome barriers and achieve their full potential,” he said. 

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