Syracuse University

2016 Orange Circle Recipients

The Orange Circle Award recognizes altruistic members of the Syracuse University community who have done extraordinary things in the service of others. In 2016, the Orange Circle Award honored five SU alumni who are making a difference on and off the SU campus. Learn more about them below.

Tumay Tunur, Ph.D.
Matthew Zeller G’06

Past Orange Circle Award recipients


OttoTHON is a student-run philanthropic organization that strives to raise awareness and funds for Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, a member of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The organization’s main focus is the annual dance marathon. The students work year-round to plan community events, fundraising nights at local businesses, and social media contests to help raise funds.

Funds raised by OttoTHON help pay for expenses not covered by insurance, provide support services, and help the hospital stay up to date. In just one year, the spring and fall OttoTHON events together raised more than $152,000, far surpassing the group’s goal.

Sherman earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences and a juris doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law. In 1988, she was honored by Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society.

Tumay Tunur, Ph.D.Tumay Tunur, Ph.D.

Tumay Tunur has taught numerous courses in biology, neuroscience, and kinesiology. An accomplished dancer, she uses her skills to teach both the young and the elderly, with a special focus on people with Parkinson’s disease.

Currently, Tunur combines her research interests with her dance expertise by leading the Moving Through Possibilities program, which aims to engage the community in movement and promote healthy aging. She collaborates with Mark Morris Dance Group (MMDG), the founding company for the world-renowned Dance for Parkinson’s Disease program, in research projects. She continues her professional development training with MMDG and is in the process of getting certified as a Dance for PD instructor.

Matthew Zeller G’06 Matthew Zeller G’06

Matthew Zeller was an Army officer in Afghanistan when his life was saved by his Afghan translator. In gratitude, he created No One Left Behind, a nonprofit that assists translators as they pursue visas and long-term U.S. residency, and thus escape from the types of retribution that might be likely in their homelands.

Zeller’s commitment to the cause goes beyond the organization. In his spare time, he also writes for the Huffington Post, focusing on combat translators and his belief that the United States is failing them. While serving as CEO of No One Left Behind, he remains a battalion executive officer in the United States Army Reserve. He is also a Truman National Security Fellow and, in 2012, published his first book, Watches Without Time: An American Soldier in Afghanistan, which chronicles his experience as an embedded combat advisor with the Afghan security forced in 2008.

The media has widely covered No One Left Behind, and Zeller’s story has been in the national news several times. The nonprofit has fundraised more than $440,000 to date for the cause.

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