Legendary SU Lacrosse Coach Roy Simmons Jr.


The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that legendary Syracuse University Men’s Lacrosse Coach, Roy Simmons Jr., will discuss the sport that has shaped his life, our community, and this land for generations, at the Firebarn on Sunday, March 12th at 2 pm. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series events, this presentation is free and open to the public. Can’t make the event? Tune in live or after the event to catch the full event on Facebook Live.   

Roy Simmons Jr. was the head coach of the Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse teamfrom 1971 to 1998. Under his leadership, the Orange won the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship six times, and appeared in the national semifinals for 16 consecutive seasons. Simmons was inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1991.

The son of Roy Simmons Sr., head coach of the SU men’s lacrosse team for 39 years and a 1964 National Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee, Simmons grew up surrounded by lacrosse and the Orange. In 1955, he joined the SU lacrosse team as a player under his father. Two years later, the team celebrated a nearly undefeated season, during which Simmons came in second only to Jim Brownamong the team’s leading scorers. He was named honorable mention All-American in 1957 and 1958.

Upon graduating with his bachelor’s degree sculpture in 1959, Simmons joined his father’s coaching staff as coach of SU’s freshman lacrosse team. Twelve years later he became head coach of the SU men’s varsity team, though his early results were mixed due to inconsistent financial support for the program from the University.  During Simmons’ tenure, the University would eventually grant the program the scholarships it needed to be competitive at the highest level.

The team Simmons’ inherited from his father had relied almost exclusively on ex-members of the Orange football team and local Native Americans to compose the bulk of its roster. Under Simmons’ leadership, the Orange expanded their recruiting efforts to also include central New York area high school players, which helped the team reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 1979. They reached the NCAA Tournament again in 1980, losing to Johns Hopkins in the semifinals, but earning their highest tournament placement to date. The achievement earned Simmons’ the title of Division I Men’s Lacrosse Coach of the Year as well as the F. Morris Touchstone Award.


The Orange would reach the tournament again in 1981, before narrowly missing out in 1982. In 1983, SU posted an 11-1 regular season record and reached the championship round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Despite trailing the top-rated Blue Jays by 4 at halftime and by 7 during the second half, the Orange rallied for a 17-16 victory, securing SU’s first ever NCAA Tournament title and its first national championship since 1925. The team would reach the NCAA tournament for the next 21 consecutive years.

In 1987, Simmons’ career was marked by another high point in the SU debut of Canadians Paul and Gary Gait, who Simmons referred to as “the two greatest lacrosse players I’ve ever seen in my life.” With the help of the Gait brothers, SU would win the NCAA Tournament for a second time in 1988 and again in 1989 and 1990.The Orange reached the national championship game for the seventh time in ten seasons in 1992, losing to Princeton in double overtime, before returning an eighth time and claiming the title again in 1993. SU won its sixth national championship under Simmons’ leadership in 1995.


Although his 1996-98 teams were all eliminated in the national semifinals, Simmons retired from the University in 1998 with a 290-96 record as head coach and a 16 consecutive year streak of reaching the NCAA semifinals.

Together with his late wife, Nancy, Simmons raised three children in the Syracuse area. His son Roy III played under his father at SU from 1978-1981, and is currently the director of operations for the SU men’s lacrosse team. His protégé and former assistant coach, John Desko, has served as head coach of the SU men’s lacrosse team since Simmons’ retirement.

Strathmore Speaker Series on Facebook Live

Can’t make tonight’s Strathmore Speaker Series event, but still interested in what Fitness Guru Nick Murphy has to say? Why not listen live from home?

Tonight – for the first time ever – the Strathmore Speaker Series will be broadcasting live from the Onondaga Park Firebarn via Facebook Live.


Interested? Tune in to our Facebook page starting around 7 pm.

Fitness Guru Nick Murphy to Speak at the Firebarn

The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that Certified Personal Trainer and Life Coach Nick Murphy will speak at the Firebarn on Thursday, February 16th at 7 pm. Nick will discuss how to optimize fat loss. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

Nick Murphy, owner of Mission Fitness, has over 20 years of experience in the health and well-being field. He works with clients from across the fitness spectrum, including world class athletes, the morbidly obese, and everyone in between. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge of health, fitness, diet, and exercise, and empowering his clients to take back control of their lives. Notably, Nick helped Syracuse resident Ronnie Brower lose 425 pounds – more than two-thirds of his body weight –through diet and exercise, transforming his life in the process.

Nick and Ronnie Before and After.jpg

Nick holds Personal Trainer Certification from the World Instructor Training Schools (WITS), an organization recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education and U.S. Dept. of Defense. He is a recommended trainer for WITS interns for his experience and extensive knowledge. His past speaking experiences include TEDxSyracuseUniversity in 2016.

The Strathmore Speaker Series is Proud to Announce its Spring 2017 Season

The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce its Spring 2017 lineup. The season will kickoff on Thursday, February 18th at 7 pm with a presentation by fitness guru and life coach, Nick Murphy, who first gained fame for helping a local man lose 425 pounds. Our second event of the season will feature a presentation by legendary Syracuse University Men’s Lacrosse Coach, Roy Simmons Jr., on Sunday, March 12th at 2 pm. Strathmore resident and founder of the Syracuse University Law School’s Cold Case Initiative, Janis McDonald, will headline our third event about seeking justice for civil rights-era crimes on Thursday, April 13th at 7 pm. And new for the spring 2017 season – a fourth event! – will feature the Syracuse Parks Department on Celebrating 100 Years of Syracuse Parks on Thursday, May 18th at 7 pm.

All events are held in the Onondaga Park Firebarn and are free and open to the public. We hope to see you there!

Mayor Miner Recognizes the Strathmore Speaker Series

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner recognized the Strathmore Speaker Series in her 2017 State of the City Address at the Hotel Syracuse.

The Series was commended for bringing dynamic programming back to the restored Onondaga Park Firebarn.

Hear Mayor Miner’s Speaker Series shout out for yourself at -21:15 left in the video.



Sean Kirst to speak at the Hotel Syracuse

The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that beloved Central New York journalist and author Sean Kirst will speak at the former Hotel Syracuse (now the Marriott Syracuse Downtown) on Tuesday, December 20th, at 7:30 pm. Sean will be discussing his latest book, “The Soul of Central New York: Syracuse Stories” which is a compilation of essays by Sean that capture and convey the essence of our city. Sean will also be doing a book signing. The event is free and open to the public.

Sean K

From the publisher:

A group of strangers risk death along the New York State Thruway to save a soldier from a burning truck. The true story, as told by football legend Jim Brown, of how the number 44 rose to prominence at Syracuse University. The beautiful yet tragic connection between Vice President Joseph Biden and Syracuse. The impossible account of how Eric Carle, one of the world’s great children’s authors, found his way to a childhood friend through a photograph taken in Syracuse more than eighty years ago.

All these tales can be found in The Soul of Central New York, a collection of columns by Sean Kirst that spans almost a quarter-century. During his long career as a writer for the Syracuse Post-Standard, Kirst won some of the most prestigious honors in journalism, including the Ernie Pyle Award, given annually to one American writer who best captures the hopes and dreams of everyday Americans.

For Kirst, his canvas is Syracuse, an upstate city of staggering beauty and profound struggle. In this book, readers will find a nuanced explanation of how Syracuse is intertwined with the spiritual roots of the Six Nations, as well as a soliloquy from a grieving father whose son was lost to violence on the streets. In these emotional contradictions―in the resilience, love, and heart-break of its people―Kirst offers a vivid portrait of his city and, in the end, gives readers hope.


This event marks the second time Sean will speak at the Strathmore Speaker Series. He originally spoke in October 2015 on “Syracuse: What I loved, why I stayed, and what still drives me wild,”shortly before leaving the Post-Standard/Syracuse.com to a standing room only crowd. An audio recording of that event can be found below. This is also the Series’ second Hotel Syracuse-related event, following a talk by owner/developer Ed Riley and muralist Katerina Spilio in spring 2016. This will be the first Speaker Series event to take place at the hotel.


Colgate and Ivory Tower’s Tim Byrnes and the League of Women Voters to Speak at the Firebarn

The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that Dr. Timothy A. Brynes and the League of Women Voters will speak on “Election 2016: How We Got Here and Where We’ll Go” at the Firebarn on Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 at 7:00 pm. Like all Series events, this non-partisan presentation is free and open to the public.

Tim Byrnes


Byrnes holds a bachelors degree from Le Moyne College and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. He is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Political Science at Colgate University and chair of the Department of Political Science. He has held visiting faculty appointments at The Graduate Institute for International Affairs in Switzerland and Nicolas Copernicus University in Poland, and he is a past winner of Colgate’s Alumni Corporation’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Byrnes is the author of a number of books on the role of the Catholic Church in politics, among them Catholic Bishops in American Politics, Transnational Catholicism in Post Communist Europe, and most recently, Reverse Mission: Transnational Religious Communities and the Making of US Foreign Policy.

He has been a weekly panelist on WCNY-TV’s Ivory Tower for over ten years, and he also currently appears regularly on News Channel 9’s Newsmakers with Dan Cummings.

See Tim Byrnes discuss the second Presidential Debate.

The League of Women Voters


The League of Women Voters of the Syracuse Metropolitan Area is a nonprofit and nonpartisan political organization encouraging the informed and active participation of citizens in government.

The League influences public policy through education and advocacy, with two separate and distinct roles:

Voters Service/Citizen: The League presents unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues

Action/Advocacy: The league is also nonpartisan, but, after study, it uses it’s positions to advocate for or against particular policies in the public interest

Andrew Lunetta, Founder of A Tiny Home for Good, to Speak at the Firebarn


The Strathmore Speaker Series is proud to announce that Andrew Lunetta, Founder and Executive Director of A Tiny Home for Good, Inc., will speak at the Strathmore Speaker Series on Thursday, October 13th, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

Lunetta, who lived in Syracuse as a child and attended Ed Smith Elementary through third grade, grew up in Massachusetts before returning to Syracuse in 2008 to attend Le Moyne College.  He graduated from Le Moyne in 2012 with a degree in Peach and Conflict Studies and went on to earn his Masters in Public Policy from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School in 2014.

Drawn to helping others since a gap year spent substitute teaching in Cleveland, Ohio through the AmeriCorps program, Lunetta quickly sought out ways to help others upon his return to Syracuse. As a freshman at Le Moyne, he started volunteering regularly at the Brady Faith Center, an organization which would eventually invite him to join its board. Through the center Lunetta became involved with helping the city’s homeless and quickly found his calling. He created a drop-in center, started a program that provides sandwiches, and began a bike give away program for the Center’s homeless patrons.

His involvement with the Center eventually led to the establishment of his latest endeavor, the A Tiny Home for Good project in 2014, which aims to provide affordable, safe and dignified housing for Syracuse’s homeless. With the help of volunteers, the project completed the construction of its first two homes on Rose Street in Syracuse earlier this year.


Each modest home measures 12′ by 20′, and contains a single room that includes a living area, bed, kitchen, and bathroom. They also include a small outdoor shed to store they occupants’ bikes. Costing less than $25,000 each to construct and making use of already vacant lost, the project’s homes are a compelling alternative to VanKeuren Square, a state-of-the-art East Side housing complex for homeless vets that cost $11.4 million for 50 units, or $228,000 per apartment.

Since finishing his first two homes, Lunetta has begun construction of three new homes on South Salina Street which are expected to be completed this fall and plans are already in the works to build more new homes near the Rescue Mission.


Something’s Brewing in CNY!



Photo by the Salt City Brew Club.

The Strathmore Speaker Series is delighted to announce that Post-Standard and Syracuse.com food and drink writer and beer historian Don Cazentre and the Salt City Brew Club’s Sarah Townsend and Christophe Colebrook will kick off our Fall 2016 season with a presentation on the rich past and present of beer brewing in CNY. Co-sponsoring this event is Jason Purdy, Strathmore resident and owner and proprietor of Tipp Hill’s hottest new spot, Now & Later (formerly Brilbeck’s Corner Market). The event will include a beer tasting (must be 21) and will be held at Now & Later (620 Ulster St., corner of Avery Ave.) at 7 pm on Thursday, September 22nd, 2016.

Space at this event is limited and RSVPs are required. Please RSVP via our Eventbright page here.

Don Cazentre

Don C.jpg

Don Cazentre. Photo by the Madison County Historical Society.

Don Cazentre hails from New Orleans, Louisiana and earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has held numerous posts at Syracuse’s daily newspapers, since joining in 1986. While much of his career was spent as reporter and editor covering politics and government, he began branching out into beer, food, and wine writing in 1995. He became the Post-Standard’s full-time food & drink writer in 2009 and the Syracuse Media Group/Syracuse.com’s in 2013.

NY Brew

Don has freelanced for numerous beer publications including the Ale Street News, Great Lakes Brewing News, Beer Advocate, Beer Connoisseur, and Edible Finger Lakes, among others, for over twenty years. He is also the co-author of New York Breweries and the author of 2017’s Spirits and Cocktails of Upstate New York.



The Salt City Brew Club

sarah    chris

Sarah Townsend and Christophe Colebrook are expert homebrewers and members of CNY’s premier beer club, the Salt City Brew Club. The 20+-year-old Salt City Brew Club, for homebrewers and beer fans, meets on the second Tuesday of each month at Asil’s Pub in Camillus.


Jason Purdy and Now & Later


Jason Purdy at Brilbeck’s. Photo by Syracuse.com.

Syracuse-native and Strathmore resident, Jason Purdy is something of a serial entrepreneur. Together with partners, he took over longtime Northside favorite, Shifty’s Bar & Grill, and ran it until 2014. In late 2013, Purdy purchased Tipp Hill-institution Brilbeck’s Corner Market which had transformed into a half-convenience store, half-craft beer specialty store a decade earlier. In mid-2015 Purdy closed Bribeck’s and set about converting the space into a combination tap room and bottle shop, with the original store space functioning as a bar, and the former garage functioning as a retail store. The newly renovated venue opened as Now & Later in late 2015 and has been a mainstay of the Tipp Hill social scene ever since.

The Strathmore Speaker Series would like to express its sincere gratitude to Purdy who has graciously offered to host this event at Now & Later and donate the beer used in the tasting.