Campos Student Center

2.15M Forever Orange Campaign Gift Will Establish New Student Center for the College of Engineering and Computer Science

Since childhood, Marco Campos has carved his own path, one that took him from poverty to great success. Today, Campos, together with his sister, Deanna Campos-Miller, are committed to creating opportunities for educational institutions and communities in support of student success through their foundation, Campos Foundation.

Through the foundation, Campos, whose son is a third-year student in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, has just pledged $2.15 million to Syracuse University as part of the Forever Orange Campaign. The gift will fund a new student center in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS). The student center will offer programming designed to attract underrepresented students to the college and support the academic success of all ECS students. It comes at a time of tremendous growth for ECS. As part of the University’s Academic Strategic Plan, ECS will grow its enrollment and faculty ranks by 50% by 2028.

“The Campos Student Center will provide dedicated space for our students with a home for collaboration, community and access to resources that maximize their success,” says ECS Dean J. Cole Smith. “This space will facilitate club activities that enhance the experience of our diverse student body. More than that, it will be a home on campus that is inviting and welcoming to all.”

The Campos Student Center will be housed on the second floor of the Center for Science and Technology.

Marco and his sister grew up in West Denver, Colorado, raised by a single mother with limited resources. Campos-Miller says her brother literally wore the boots in the family. “Marco got the snow boots, but I didn’t have any, so when we had to walk to school in the snow, he would walk in front of me and pave the way to school,” says Campos-Miller. “He told me, ‘Walk right behind me in my footprints.’”

Today, the siblings are paving the way for student success through the Campos Foundation.

“As a young teenager, I didn’t have role models,” says Campos. “I sensed there was something bigger, but there wasn’t a clear path.” He was talented in math but received little encouragement or support until becoming part of a summer bridge program in his senior year of high school. That opened the door to engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder where, for the first time, his potential was recognized and cultivated. “I never loved engineering and math, but I saw the pathway to a career in an engineering degree,” says Campos. “It was grueling work, but the perseverance and grind ultimately get you there. You have to be consistent and hold the course.”

Campos-Miller says her brother has never forgotten where he came from. “Marco wants to elevate as many people as possible, and he can do that by funding the right kinds of programs,” says Campos-Miller. “Grit, perseverance and compassion are the best ways to describe Marco. He was always a really good dreamer!”

Campos’ gift was inspired by a recent visit to campus and by the success of an earlier gift made by his foundation to the University of Colorado in Boulder. He says he saw the geography and the demographics of Syracuse and thought he could make a similar impact. He believes the new student center will be a welcoming and inclusive home where engineering, computer science, and other STEM students can go for academic support, financial advice and career direction. The student center is intended to inspire those who have big hopes and dreams but maybe haven’t been empowered in the past, he says.

“This kind of philanthropic support represents a true endorsement of and investment in the vision, mission and strategic planning of the College of Engineering and Computer Science,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “I am grateful to Marco and Deanna for their commitment to Syracuse University and am confident this center will have an impact on generations of students pursuing career paths in engineering.”

Campos’ career began with an internship at Texaco during his college years, and he was hired immediately upon graduation. By age 30, he had accumulated enough work and consulting experience, confidence and wealth to start his own company and start giving back. Campos EPC, established in 2005 with headquarters in Denver, offers engineering, procurement and construction counsel for utility, energy and midstream organizations. The company also offers STEM education initiatives through a community outreach program, while the foundation supports summer bridge programs, scholarships and SmartLabs at primary and secondary schools, among other initiatives.

“When I talk about the company, I rarely talk about the business,” says Campos. “Everyone can engineer. Everyone can project manage, but I want to be known for trying to improve the community and improve quality of life.”

He credits his hard-working employees for their commitment to giving back and driving the success of the Campos Foundation. He notes that the guiding principle of Campos companies is, “Our People are our Power,” and the power of philanthropy rests with his employees.

Campos and his sister believe the foundation’s intensive focus on mission through philanthropy, and the recruitment of specialized talent to lead and manage these kinds of student-centered programs helps universities “move the needle” when it comes to attracting students of all backgrounds to engineering fields. “This has become our corporate and social responsibility,” says Campos. “You have to be focused and disciplined and patient in your approach. Working with the University, we set up metrics to make sure the funding is accomplishing our established goals.”

Campos-Miller says the naming of the new student center aligns the hopes and dreams of students with the man who forged an enviable path to success. “Campos isn’t just a name. It’s the story behind the name. It represents possibilities and pathways to get there.”

“We all have a sphere of influence and it’s incumbent on each of us to affect our sphere of influence in the most positive ways we can,” says Campos. “Putting good out there in the universe brings back good, even more than we put out.”