Synovus Names $1 Million Scholarship Fund in Honor of Ga. Rep. Calvin Smyre

Amanda Cooper
August 05, 2020 - 8:08 pm

(Photo Credit: zimmytws/Getty Images)


Georgia Representative Calvin Smyre’s legacy of invaluable support and contributions to historically black colleges and universities will continue for years.  Synovus announced they are contributing $1 million to the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) for the establishment of The Synovus/Calvin Smyre Scholarship Fund. 

The fund will provide scholarships for African American students to attend historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other higher education institutions in Synovus’ five-state footprint.

Synovus Financial Corp. is a financial services company based in Columbus, Georgia, with approximately $54 billion in assets. One scholarship will be designated annually for a student enrolled at Smyre’s beloved alma mater Fort Valley State University (FVSU), an HBCU in Fort Valley, Georgia, where he serves as Chairman of the FVSU Foundation.

Kessel D. Stelling, Synovus chairman, and CEO says;
“Our country has been bluntly reminded of the work that remains to ensure equal opportunities and to address persistent racial and educational inequalities,” said Kessel D. Stelling, Synovus chairman, and CEO. “Synovus is deeply committed to taking action, and we’re proud to support UNCF and its vital work to close these gaps through education.
“We also couldn’t be more pleased to honor the legacy of our friend Calvin Smyre, who has dedicated his life to public service for the people of Columbus and the entire state of Georgia. Calvin represents the best of the banking industry and Synovus and is the epitome of HBCU excellence.”

A Columbus native, Smyre represents Columbus-Muscogee County in the Georgia House of Representatives. He was elected in 1974 and, as a 46-year veteran, is the longest-serving member of the Georgia General Assembly. 
Smyre’s legislative record includes authoring the bill making Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a state holiday, co-sponsoring the historic legislation creating a new Georgia State Flag, crafting legislation authorizing the HOPE Scholarship Program, and co-sponsoring HB 426, the Georgia Hate Crimes Act, which was recently signed into law.

Smyre says, “This has certainly come full circle for me,” the State Representative added, “Everyone who knows me understands my passion for financially assisting students seeking higher education. I have committed my life to pursuing equality and improving the quality of life in Georgia throughout my career in the Georgia House of Representatives and my work on behalf of UNCF. I’m especially proud of my four decades-long association with UNCF to help further its mission of providing access to higher education for African Americans in my hometown of Columbus and across the country. And I am now honored to be the namesake of Synovus’ generous gift and clear commitment to increasing educational opportunities for African Americans across the Southeast. Synovus has long been a special part of my life, and I am both humbled and grateful to be recognized in such a meaningful way.”

Smyre joined Synovus in 1976 as a management trainee and retired in 2014 as executive vice president of corporate affairs.