After donating or pledging more than $6 million over the last 20 years to Columbus State University, Synovus Financial Corp. has received recognition for its community support in a major way.
The university on Thursday officially named one of its educational buildings after the Southeast regional banking firm that has roots dating to 1888 in Columbus, when it was loosely founded from a company safe in a local textile mill. That ultimately led to Columbus Bank and Trust, with its holding company, Synovus, being formed in the 1970s and growing from there.
“This naming is recognition of the long role that Synovus has had in supporting and shaping both the community of Columbus and the campus and curriculum of Columbus State University,” CSU President Chris Markwood said in a statement from the school.
He noted it is appropriate that the banking company which does business in five states be linked to its business and computer science programs. The moniker atop the building on the university’s main campus now reads: Synovus Center of Commerce & Technology.
CSU said the support it has received from Synovus and its local banks through the years includes guidance and general involvement from the firm’s executives. It pointed out that CSU alumnus Jimmy Yancey, a retired Synovus president and chairman of its board, headed the capital campaign in 2005 that raised $100 million-plus, which provided the financial spark that led to the school’s downtown RiverPark campus facilities.
It noted as well that retired Synovus Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Blanchard launched the yearly leadership forum in his name that has brought business, political and military leaders from across the nation to the city, along with a bevy of authors, experts and deep thinkers. The lineup has twice included former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. CSU organizes and carries out the forum.
“I know of no single institution that has had a more enduring impact on our company than Columbus State University,” Synovus Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kessel Stelling said at the Thursday morning ceremony unveiling the new sign. “It’s not just the length of the relationship, which extends almost to the founding of Columbus College, and it’s not just the quantity and quality of Columbus state graduates who have worked for and led Synovus, many of whom are here today.”
Stelling also is a member of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents.