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Associate Dean Ray Sylvester

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Pacific mourns loss of beloved professor and associate dean, Ray Sylvester

Sylvester had planned to retire at end of this school year. His career at Pacific spanned more than 40 years.
Feb 10, 2014

Ray Sylvester, associate dean and professor of marketing in the Eberhardt School of Business, died Wednesday, Feb. 5, after a brief illness. He was 72.

"This is a terrible loss for the Pacific family," said President Pamela Eibeck. "For more than 40 years, Ray excelled as a teacher, scholar and administrator. He will be very deeply missed by all of us."

Sylvester was born on Mar. 24, 1941, in New York City. He earned his BA degree at Gettysburg College and his MBA and PhD from University of Michigan. Before coming to Pacific, he taught at University of Michigan and Gettysburg College. He joined the faculty at University of the Pacific in 1972 and has served the School of Business in the capacity of associate dean for undergraduate programs since 1987.

Ray Sylvester with studentsSylvester took his role as a teacher and mentor very seriously and took pride in helping students become graduates. He was often at new student orientations and had attended every commencement ceremony and business school diploma and hooding ceremony since he came to Pacific.

Eberhardt School Dean Lewis Gale recalled Sylvester saying: "Seeing these students graduate and knowing what they sacrificed to get this accomplishment, I want to be here with them and celebrate on this day."

Sylvester also took a very active leadership role across the University and served in numerous capacities through the years, from academic affairs to program review to accreditation committees, just to name a few. Sylvester was deeply committed to Pacific and to helping the University achieve the highest quality curricular and co-curricular experience for its students. He was awarded the Podesto Award for Excellence in Student Life in 2005 and the 2012 Judy Chambers Award for his contributions to Student Life.

"Ray's service to the University and the Eberhardt School of Business was unparalleled," said Gale.

Reaching beyond the campus boundaries, Sylvester participated in an economic development advisory committee in the 1980s and was at one time the Chair of the Stockton Redevelopment Commission and served on the board of the Midtown Stockton Project (Magnolia). He also was a staunch United Way supporter.

At the time of his death, Sylvester was president-elect of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society national board of directors. Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Sylvester has been an active member of the Society's board since 2007, serving as vice president of the western region and vice president for marketing and member benefits.

Sylvester had requested no funeral service be held, but a campus memorial ceremony is scheduled for March 27 from 2 - 3:30 p.m. in Faye Spanos Concert Hall. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Ray Sylvester Memorial Scholarship Fund at Pacific, which will assist continuing students in the Eberhardt School of Business who find themselves in financial need in their sophomore through seniors years.

In addition, the business school is developing a scrapbook of memories from former students and others who have had the pleasure of knowing him, learning from him, and working with him. If you would like to submit a note or story to be included, please do so by March 31 to Tod Davis, Eberhardt School of Business, 3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211 or submit online: Share Your Story - See more>> 

To contribute to Ray Sylvester Memorial Scholarship Fund:

To donate online: Please remember to designate the Eberhardt School of Business and note in the comments Ray Sylvester Memorial Scholarship. If you would like to give by check, please make payable to University of the Pacific and in the note Ray Sylvester Memorial Scholarship. Mail to: University of the Pacific, Advancement Services, 3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211. Ray-Sylvester-Memorial-Scholarship-Web.

For more information on the Ray Sylvester Memorial Scholarship, or the Eberhardt School of Business, please feel free to contact Tod Davis at 209.946.2998 or

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