CAA's Rob Light Makes $300,000 Donation to Syracuse University

Rob Light
Ross O Clark III

Rob Light speaking onstage at Syracuse University.

Gift will endow sponsorships for underrepresented students

Creative Artists Agency head of music and managing partner Rob Light and his wife Shelly have made a $300,000 donation to several scholarship programs at Syracuse University in New York, where Light graduated in 1978.

The contribution will support scholarships for historically underrepresented students pursuing studies in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, its Bandier Program in Recording and Entertainment Industries and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The gift was announced during a university event held in Los Angeles earlier this month and will endow three scholarships to provide outstanding academic opportunities to underrepresented students.

“As a member of the Board of Trustees, Rob is especially sensitive to the impact that scholarships have on our students,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “The Lights’ generous gift will help the university reach its critical goal in the Academic Strategic Plan to expand opportunity to diverse groups of promising students. The university is committed to creating an inclusive student body through access to vital resources and support.”

The gift will support the Light Family Newhouse Scholarship, the Light Family Bandier Scholarship and the Carolyne Barry Scholarship, which was named in honor of Shelly’s sister, Carolyne Barry.

The Bandier program was made possible through a gift from Syracuse University Trustee and Sony/ATV Music Publishing chairman and chief executive Martin Bandier, who graduated from Syracuse in 1962. Light, along with alumni John Sykes from iHeartMedia and Phil Quartararo with Tripod Entertainment, who helped create the concept for Bandier’s music industry program.

“I have always believed that my time at Syracuse University opened doors and provided amazing opportunities that were invaluable to my career. My wife Shelly and I have always felt strongly about sharing our success with others,” Light says. “We are proud and excited to endow three scholarships for diverse students in need in the Bandier Program and the Newhouse School, and through the Carolyne Barry Scholarship in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Our love for the university is enormous, which is why we are thrilled to help students join the Syracuse family and have access to the same opportunities that I did.”

Light made the scholarship announcement during an event held at CAA's Los Angeles headquarters in celebration of Black Music Month, during which music and entertainment trailblazer Suzanne de Passe was recognized by Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Advancement. Also in attendance award-winning singer and actress Vanessa Williams, actress and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, former chairperson and CEO of BET Networks Debra Lee, e.v.p. and head of original programming at BET Networks Connie Orlando and Pro Football Hall of Famer Floyd Little.

The funding awards will be administered through the university’s Our Time Has Come scholarship program, based in the Office of Multicultural Advancement, which supports historically underrepresented students through a variety of scholarships based on financial need. The scholarship program also offers leadership development and mentorship by Syracuse University alumni and friends in addition to the monetary scholarship. 

Since launching in 1987, the program has assisted more than 1,300 scholars, with a graduation rate of 100 percent. In the 2018-19 academic year, there were 58 OTHC scholars.