Deanne Gebell Gitner Storytelling Fund strives to connect students to industry expertise

A new endowed fund established in honor of a Newhouse faculty member’s late mother will support student access to industry expertise and celebrate storytelling.

The Deanne Gebell Gitner Storytelling Fund was established by associate professor Seth Gitner, his father, Gerald Gitner, and his brother, Daniel Gitner.

The legacy gift will promote critical understanding of the interconnected practices of storytelling in public communications by providing resources for Newhouse students to learn from experts in the field. Invited guests will come to campus to share their knowledge, thoughts and industry experience with students in the form of a lecture or seminar. The first guest is expected in Fall 2022.

Gerald and Deanne Gitner
Gerry and Deanne Gitner were married for 53 years. Gerry, along with sons Seth and Dan, established the Deanne Gebell Gitner Storytelling Fund in honor of their wife and mother, who passed away in 2021.

“We are proud to support the nation’s top communications school, the Newhouse School, with this endowed gift in Deanne’s name,” Gerald Gitner says. “Deanne was a vigorous supporter of higher education and her alma mater, Cornell University, and an even more vigorous advocate for her family. Our son, Seth, followed in his mother’s footsteps and became a journalist, and is now an associate professor at Newhouse. Son Dan was a journalist in high school and college, and is now an attorney.  Both utilize the art of ‘storytelling’ every day. We are honored that this annual presentation will enable Newhouse to invite highly regarded experts in the field to Syracuse University.”

Deanne Gebell Gitner dedicated her life to family, education, philanthropy, travel, journalism and storytelling. Among the positions she held during the course of her career was that of writer and editor for the Millburn-Short Hills Independent Press in New Providence, New Jersey. She also taught middle school and high school English, and was the communications coordinator for the Millburn Public School System in Millburn, New Jersey.

“We are grateful to the Gitner family for their support of the Newhouse School as they pay tribute to their wife and mother,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato. “Her love of storytelling clearly sparked something in her children, both of whom at times had bylines alongside hers in the same paper. And at Newhouse, Professor Seth Gitner carries her legacy forward as he shares his own passion for storytelling with our journalism students.”  

The gift is the latest in support of the $1.5 billion goal established by Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University