Phi Kappa Phi Announces the Death of President-Elect Ray Sylvester

Feb 5, 2014

 The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is deeply saddened to announce the death of President-Elect Ray Sylvester on Feb. 5 of complications from pneumonia. Dr. Sylvester, associate dean and professor of marketing at the University of the Pacific’s Eberhardt School of Business, had served on Phi Kappa Phi’s board of directors since 2007. 

“The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi suffered a great loss with the passing of President-elect Ray Sylvester,” said Society President Diane Smathers. Ray was a gentleman and a scholar. He will be remembered within Phi Kappa Phi for his commitment to students, his keen insight, and his quiet but very effective leadership style. He was truly dedicated to the Society and his death leaves a large void. I will miss his smile, his easy going manner, and his love of rock ‘n roll. Ray was my colleague and my friend.” 

Inducted into Phi Kappa Phi in 2000, Sylvester’s service for Phi Kappa Phi included terms as vice president of the western region (2007-10) and vice president for marketing and member benefits (2010-12) before his election to the post of president-elect for the 2012-14 biennium. He also served as president and treasurer of the chapter at University of the Pacific. 

Earning a B.A. in economics from Gettysburg College in 1962 and an MBA and Ph.D. in marketing from University of Michigan in 1963 and 1972 respectively, Sylvester specialized in marketing research, marketing management and consumer behavior and published regularly in his fields. He received the Podesto Award for Excellence in Student Life in 2005 from Pacific, at which he worked since 1972. Sylvester volunteered his expertise as an unpaid consultant for numerous diverse organizations, ranging from Goodwill Industries to the Stockton Symphony. 

"I love this organization and what it stands for," Sylvester wrote when campaigning for the Phi Kappa Phi presidency in summer 2012. "I have been proud to labor on its behalf and feel it would be a privilege to continue."