Spencer Raymond ’04 and Nyla Saleh ’04
For Nyla Saleh ’04 and Spencer Raymond ’04, good fortune and professional success has often sprouted from their experiences at Syracuse University. Now, as a vice president at Edelman PR, and chief financial officer of Rockpoint Group, respectively, the couple is excited to start a new chapter of their lives in Boston.
As the son of two 1970 graduates, Raymond had SU on his radar even while attending high school in Singapore. Then he visited campus, and was drawn to the strength of the Whitman School’s management program, the opportunity to participate in Division I swimming, and Syracuse’s proximity to New York City—where he hoped to land a job after graduation. Similarly, Saleh was impressed by the Newhouse School’s communications program, where she decided to pursue a degree in consumer public relations.
While the pair will never forget the excitement of being on campus as students when Syracuse men’s basketball won the 2003 national championship—and remain dedicated Orange fans—another SU sport was more meaningful for Raymond. “I walked on to the men’s swim team and was elected by my teammates to serve as captain during my junior and senior years,” he says. “It was a formidable experience in both work ethic and leadership that continues to define who I am.”
The strong academic programs that originally appealed to Saleh and Raymond lived up to expectations too. “We both enjoyed the collaborative learning environment and team atmosphere encouraged at Whitman and Newhouse, because it established a foundation of working together which is critical in ‘real life,’” Saleh says. “We credit the raw training in our respective trades and the focus on teamwork for much of our professional successes.”
Surprisingly, Saleh and Raymond spent four years on campus and enjoyed many similar experiences, but their paths barely crossed. “We both lived in Lawrinson Hall during our freshmen year and interestingly only met one time—the first week of school at an ice cream social for Lawrinson and Sadler halls,” Raymond says. “We didn’t see each other again until 2008—well after we graduated—when a mutual friend and fellow 2004 alum reintroduced us.”
By then they both were living and working in New York City, as they’d always envisioned, and didn’t expect to leave. Then an interesting twist of fate—Rockpoint Group, a Boston-based private equity firm specializing in real estate, approached Raymond. “We always planned to stay in New York, but Spencer had such a unique opportunity that we decided to make the move,” Saleh says. “Since relocating several months ago, we’ve found Boston to be very charming and as livable as everyone promised. We’re excited to raise our family here!”
Reflecting on their experiences, Saleh and Raymond consider themselves fortunate to pursue careers that reflect their educational backgrounds in public relations, and finance and accounting. Now, their deep appreciation for SU has them committed to helping future generations. Raymond served on the New York City Regional Council, and now serves on the Boston Regional Council. He also plans to return to Syracuse as a guest in one of Bill Walsh’s private equity classes. “Philanthropy is important, because it helps us recognize that we’re responsible for more than just ourselves, whether it’s giving to Syracuse or donating time to a cause,” he says. “This greater responsibility motivates us to be more productive in our professional and personal lives, and make an impact.”