Jimmy Yancey Among First Regents 'Hall of Fame' Honorees

ATLANTA Columbus State University alumnus James D. Yancey was one of six individuals representing the University System of Georgias 34 colleges and universities recognized by the Board of Regents as inaugural recipients of the Regents' Hall of Fame Awards. The awards honor the achievements of three outstanding University System faculty members and three notable alumni of University System institutions for their contributions to public higher education in Georgia.

The Hall of Fame honorees were presented with their awards at the University System of Georgia Foundations Celebration of Excellence in Education Gala, held on Nov. 19 at the Georgia Tech Conference Center in Atlanta. The faculty award recipients are Dr. Ruth-Marie Fincher of the Medical College of Georgia, Harold Isaacs of Georgia Southwestern State University, and Dr. Eugene Keferl of Coast al Georgia Community College. Joining Yancey as Hall of Fame alumni recipients are Michael P. Boggs, an alumnus of Waycross College and W. Lee Burge, an alumnus of Georgia State University.

University System employs outstanding faculty and graduates high-achieving students who contribute strongly to our state, said University System Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith. This new program is an excellent way for the Board of Regents to express our appreciation for their achievements by celebrating excellence in education.

Yancey, Synovus chairman of the board, graduated from then-Columbus College in 1964, five years after he first began working for Columbus Bank and Trust. He was promoted to president of CB&T in 1983 and was first elected president of Synovus in 1990 and then vice chairman of the board in 1992. Yancey reassumed his role as president and chief operating officer of Synovus in 1998 and was elected chairman of the board of Columbus Bank and Trust Company in 1998. He was elected Synovus chairman of the board in 2003.

Throughout his career he has been a tireless supporter and advocate for Columbus State University, serving vital leadership positions and helping the university develop a systematic fund-raising program. His ideas led to an organized Annual Fund campaign; he sparked the formation of the Tower Society, a group of CSU alumni who demonstrate their commitment to the university by giving at least $1,000 to the university each here; and hes currently chairman of the Columbus State University capital campaign. In 1987, he received the Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus award, the highest honor bestowed by the CSU Alumni Association and in 1997, CSU awarded him the universitys first honorary doctorate.

Jimmy Yancey personifies the college graduate who remembers his roots. As an alumnus of CSU he not only remembers his roots but believes strongly enough in the education and nurturing he received that he is passionate about having others benefit from those experiences, said CSU President Frank Brown. His faithfulness to his alma mater has caused him to devote himself to CSUs causes. His leadership within the CSU Foundation brought a focus on fund raising and stewardship that has set the institution apart in our state. His outstanding accomplishments in his professional career at Synovus Financial Corp. where he is chairman of the board, his civic involvement, his community service and his abiding interest in CSU all worked together to earn him the first ever honorary degree awarded by CSU.

His leadership roles in the community have included serving as campaign chairman of United Way; president of Metropolitan Boys Club; director of the YMCA; vice chairman of the Southern Open; president of the Green Island Country Club; president of the Country Club of Columbus; president of Historic Columbus Foundation; trustee of Brookstone School; chairman of the Greater Chamber of Commerce; a mem ber of the Financial Services Roundtable and director of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce; and a member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Jimmy Yancey presents a model which today's aspiring leaders would do well to emulate, Brown said. The real significance of this recognition is that it comes from people in all stations of life: his peers, his stockholders, his board of directors, his subordinates, his colleagues in many projects and all the people who know him best.

The Board of Regents solicited nominations for the awards from all 34 USG institutions. A panel of University System officials evaluated the faculty nominations, and an external panel named by the University System of Georgia Foundation evaluated alumni nominations. Both the faculty and alumni awards recognized awardees from three categories of USG institutions: research universities, four-year and regional universities, and two-year and state colleges. The three faculty recipien ts each received a $5,000 award from the University System of Georgia Foundation.

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Contact: John Lester, (706) 562-1652