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Sykes College of Business Provides Decade of Growth

Published: September 23, 2010

In the shade of a building they helped bring to fruition, John H. and Susan Sykes will be honored during The University of Tampa’s John H. Sykes College of Business 10th anniversary celebration.

This casual, outdoor picnic on the Sykes College of Business lawn will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A presentation featuring UT President Ronald L. Vaughn and other speakers will be held at 12:30 p.m.

Dr. James Fesmire, a Dana Professor of Economics, came to UT in 1973 and has seen the campus evolve through more than three decades, including those touched by the Sykes’ generosity.

“There have been dramatic changes, and we’ve been getting better – including the students and the faculty – ever since,” said Fesmire.

But it has really been in the last decade, with the commitment from the Sykeses and with Vaughn’s leadership, that Fesmire said he has seen the University soar.

“Before everybody talked about how much potential we had, but we hadn’t found a way to reach it,” Fesmire said. “The Sykeses changed the culture around here. Their donation created more than just a building, which is wonderful. I think it was a catalyst for the rest of the growth we’ve seen at UT.”

John H. Sykes is chairman of Sykes Enterprises Inc, a firm he started in 1977 in Charlotte, NC, as a small technical engineering firm. Today, the information technology firm is based in Tampa and is a global leader in providing customer contact management solutions and services in the business process outsourcing arena.

Attendees at Saturday’s event will include business students, members of the UT Board of Trustees, UT faculty and staff, donors and members of the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council.

“The Sykes College of Business has become a major force in the South in terms of being a notable business school,” said Dr. Frank Ghannadian, dean of the college. “We’re one of the 490 accredited business schools, and that puts us in the top 10 percent of business schools in the country.”

In the last 10 years, UT’s College of Business has:

Prior to it being the high-tech building it is now, the College of Business building was McKay Auditorium, originally built in 1925 as Tampa’s Municipal Auditorium, used for Gasparilla coronations, graduations and school performances. The building was renamed in 1960 after the late Tampa Mayor D. B. McKay and in 1972 the city turned it over to UT. In 1997, the Sykes donated $10 million to the University, of which $7.5 million was used to convert the auditorium into the business building. After being rebuilt inside and out, the John H. Sykes College of Business was dedicated on Oct. 7, 2000.

The Sykes’ generosity was followed by gifts from many donors including gifts from Dan Doyle, a gift in memory of former trustee Richard Johnson Binnicker, a gift from the Huizenga Family Foundation, Vincent J. Naimoli, Davis Baldwin Insurance and Risk Management, Publix Super Market Charities, Bob and Aida Calafell, and a gift in memory of Dow Sherwood.

Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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