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Sharon Jacquet ’72: Philanthropy That Recognizes the Value of Education and Educators

Sharon Jacquet graduated from Syracuse University in 1972 with a degree in elementary education but decided against becoming a teacher. “I felt it was an awesome responsibility and I was too immature to be responsible for those young minds,” Jacquet recalls, with just a hint of irony. Today, Jacquet bears the responsibility of being a wealth manager, providing guidance and advice to families whose livelihoods and retirements often depend on her expertise.

In fact, Jacquet uses the skills she learned in the School of Education—just not in a classroom setting. Jacquet is a vice chairman of JPMorgan Private Bank where she leads a specialized team that works with corporate executives and ultra-high net worth individuals. “I’m still a teacher. I teach people all the time,” she says, with both pride and appreciation for what she learned at her alma mater.

Sharon Jacquet (center) with family at the dedication of the Sharon Haines Jacquet Education Commons in May 2013
Sharon Jacquet (center) with family at the dedication of the Sharon Haines Jacquet Education Commons in May 2013

Jacquet’s gratitude and recognition that teachers bring value to many industries is the foundation for her ongoing generosity to the School of Education and service to Syracuse University. She is a Life Trustee and also serves on the School of Education Board of Visitors. She has given more than $1 million to support initiatives at the school, including the Sharon Haines Jacquet Endowed Scholarship as part of the Forever Orange campaign.

When the new Center for Experiential Pedagogy and Practice (CEPP) opens at the School of Education in the fall, it will be partly because Jacquet is determined to help the school stay on the cutting edge. “Sharon knows the impact that money can have,” says former School of Education Dean Joanna Masingila. “She wants the school to have the resources to be innovative and distinctive.”

The CEPP will focus on simulations, digital counseling and supervision to provide students with immersive and challenging experiences designed to better prepare them for complex human interactions. “This kind of clinical simulation provides rich conversation about the educator’s responsibilities,” Masingila says. “I remember when I was a teacher facing parent-teacher conferences. I thought it would have been good to have been better prepared.”

The concept appeals to Jacquet. “I believe that people learn by doing,” Jacquet says. “In financial advising and in teaching, the best of the best are the ones who do the most listening.”

“We prepare our teachers and leaders to know it’s a whole system,” says Masingila. “You have to get to know the whole family and the community, not just how the child is doing in my math class.”

This holistic view of an educator is in alignment with Jacquet’s holistic view of a financial advisor. “I deal with multi-generations in large families,” says Jacquet. “I get to impact the relationships between the person who made the money and their children, grandchildren and future generations.”

Jacquet has come to realize that the relationship between a financial advisor and client is very much like the relationship between a teacher and student. “It’s very intimate. You really need to know everything about the individual and the family in order to serve them properly.”

“Sharon is genuinely committed to supporting the good work of education and educators,” says Masingila. “She’s an educator even though she’s not a teacher. She has a big vision for education, and we are the beneficiaries of that vision.”

“Syracuse University gave me so much,” says Jacquet. The School of Education graduate who worked her way up on Wall Street to the uppermost levels at JPMorgan says she succeeded because of her intellectual curiosity, critical thinking skills learned in liberal arts courses and a semester abroad in France that exposed her to other cultures. “I got to where I am today because other people wanted me to succeed and helped me along the way. “

About Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University

Orange isn’t just our color. It’s our promise to leave the world better than we found it. Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University is poised to do just that. Fueled by 150 years of fearless firsts, together we can enhance academic excellence, transform the student experience and expand unique opportunities for learning and growth. Forever Orange endeavors to raise $1.5 billion in philanthropic support, inspire 125,000 individual donors to participate in the campaign, and actively engage one in five alumni in the life of the University. Now is the time to show the world what Orange can do. Visit foreverorange.syr.edu to learn more.