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John Sykes Receives First Queens Medallion

John SykesDr. Davies presents John Sykes with the inaugural Queens Medallion

On Thursday, October 18, nearly 300 Queens supporters gathered for the 23rd annual Royal Society dinner. The group celebrated Queens' tremendous progress, looked ahead to future goals, and founded a new tradition, the Queens Medallion. The inaugural medallion was presented to trustee emeritus John Sykes in recognition of his unparalleled leadership and philanthropy.

Trustee Parker Norman Call '68, Chair of the Royal Society Advisory Board, welcomed the group with reflections on her time at Queens and her growth from a student into a university leader: "My father often reminded me that I had an obligation to give back to Queens because someone had provided me with a scholarship. The fact that each of us has made the choice to be among Queens' most generous donors is why we're here to celebrate tonight."

President Pamela Davies then shared her perspective. She called attention to the transformation of the university's campus that is in full swing today thanks to donors' generosity, as well as the launch of Queens' new 5-year strategic plan, Reimagine Excellence. Merit scholarships are a major priority in the new plan, and Dr. Davies thanked the group for supporting scholarships that help bring talented new students to Queens. She also highlighted the success and future potential of the Byrum Endowed Scholarship Challenge matching fund in helping the university achieve this objective.

Dr. Davies led a heartfelt tribute to Mr. Sykes, who grew up in Charlotte and attended Queens as a day student in the 1950s after serving in the Korean War. He then founded Sykes Enterprises, an international customer contact management corporation. He joined Queens' board in 1998, and as chair of the Facilities Committee, Sykes funded and led a master planning process that will guide Queens' growth for decades. John Sykes' philanthropy at Queens has also been transformational, from his endowment of the Sykes Scholars program to the creation and renovation of structures from Sykes Learning Center, to Sykes Colonnade at Everett Library, to multiple residence halls.

Dr. Davies said, "The Queens Medallion was conceived to recognize the very pinnacle of leadership at our university - men and women who have shaped the course of our history, embodied our values, and made us undeniably stronger than we would have been without their vision. It is fitting that John Sykes extraordinary leadership will set the bar for this award in the years to come."

View video highlights from the 23rd Annual Royal Society Dinner  

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