Sylvester, Harris Awarded Alumni Association Senior Honor Citations

l-r: Sam Harris, Chancellor Joe Steinmetz and Raygan Sylvester
Photo by Whit Pruitt

l-r: Sam Harris, Chancellor Joe Steinmetz and Raygan Sylvester

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas graduating seniors Raygan Sylvester of North Little Rock and Sam Harris of Greenbrier were recognized with the 2018 Senior Honor Citation by the Arkansas Alumni Association.

The award was established in 1965 by the Arkansas Alumni Association to recognize a senior male and female student who each exhibits outstanding academic achievement, campus and community involvement and leadership.

The award was announced by U of A Chancellor Joe Steinmetz at the end of the annual Cardinal and White Banquet.

Sylvester and Harris were among 71 students chosen by the alumni association as the Class of 2018 Seniors of Significance. From this group, 22 Razorback Classic honorees were selected, and the two Senior Honor Citations were then selected. As the winners of the Senior Honor Citation, Sylvester and Harris received life membership in the Arkansas Alumni Association, permanent recognition on a plaque at the alumni house and will be invited back to campus to represent their class at events, including speaking at their Senior Walk Dedication.

Raygan Sylvester

Raygan Sylvester will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She hopes to use her skills to aid non-profit organizations in their marketing efforts and to help them to gain visibility for their services and events.

Sylvester founded the non-profit organization Think S.A.F.E.: Seatbelts are for Everyone when she was 15. She has continued her work with the non-profit and was named the official spokesperson of National Teen Safe Driving Week for two consecutive years.

She has participated in internships with Razorback Athletics Marketing and the American Heart Association and she is a National State Farm Youth Advisory Board Member. Sylvester is also a dance instructor and choreographer. She has served for four years with the Associated Student Government, most recently as its director of philanthropy in 2017.

Sylvester has served as senior experience special projects chair for the Student Alumni Board and as the social media chair for the Distinguished Lectures Committee. She is also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and a U of A representative to the Arkansas Student Leadership Forum. She has accepted a position with Glaxosmithkline and will also pursue a Master of Business Administration at John Brown University while working.

“Shock, confusion, gratefulness,” said Sylvester when asked her feelings upon receiving the Senior Honor Citation. She said she knows many of her fellow Razorback through campus involvement and feels very close to them. Her advice to new U of A students is to find student organizations that support or promote something that interests them, then “just go for it.”

Sam Harris

Sam Harris, a member of the Honors College, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and a minor in agricultural leadership. His passion is to help alleviate hunger and food insecurity. He seeks to make significant contributions toward eliminating hunger and implementing effective rural development initiatives.

Harris is a 2017 Truman Scholar and finished his degree in three years. He has been a research assistant with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, a community development intern in Dangriga, Belize, with Peacework International and participated in study abroad in Vietnam.

Harris was a Wallace-Carver Fellow at the USDA Risk Management Agency in Washington, D.C., in 2016. He has also served as president of the Student Organization Outreach Involvement Experience (SOOIE); chair of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences Honors Student Board, and member of the Bumpers College Dean Search Student Advisory Committee. He also served as assistant director of sponsorship for the Student Alumni Board. 

“It’s the pinnacle of my undergraduate student career,” said Harris about being named a 2018 Senior Honor Citation winner, although he said he was surprised to hear his name called. Harris said that it was important to him to take advantage of every opportunity available to him on campus and he would encourage new U of A students to do the same. After graduation, Harris will work for the U. S. Department of Agriculture and make plans for graduate school.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Mercedez Gazaway, Assistant Director of Student Programs
Arkansas Alumni Association

Catherine Baltz, assistant director of communications
Arkansas Alumni Association


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