With the Boyers, Philanthropy Goes Beyond Academics

Boyer Fellows 04/28/23
May 5 , 2023  |  By Lori McLemore

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Tommy and Sylvia Boyer – names synonymous with U of A basketball, business and philanthropy – established their eponymous Boyer Fellowship, the largest annual fellowship at the University of Arkansas, for honors students at the Sam M. Walton College of Business in 1999.
On Friday, April 28, the Walton College welcomed past, current and future recipients at a luncheon on campus, giving them the opportunity to reconnect with the couple who sponsored their education and cheered them on throughout their academic journey.

Jesse Wells
Jesse Wells (center) talks to Tommy Boyer (left) about the future.

For Jesse Wells, the latest Boyer Fellow, the reunion gave the incoming freshman a chance to thank the Boyers in person.
“The Boyer Fellowship is not only an amazing opportunity to learn from an incredible businessman and philanthropist, but also a responsibility to uphold and grow the legacy that the Boyers have created,” Wells said. “This fellowship will give me the opportunity to pursue an education debt free so that I can increase my knowledge of the world and subsequently add value to a greater number of people through my business.”
Wells, the 16th fellowship recipient, plans to graduate from Paris (Arkansas) High School on May 21. After the summer break, he will attend the University of Arkansas to earn a finance degree at Walton College. He is interested in the real estate industry and established JCW Holdings LLC, a real estate investment company in Paris, as a sophomore in high school.
“I am currently in the process of becoming a licensed real estate agent in order to continue building my expertise in the real estate industry,” Wells said.
After college, he hopes to “grow my business and personal brand to the highest level possible so that I can positively impact the highest number of lives possible.”
While Wells wants to grow the legacy the Boyers have created, he wants to also honor his grandparents who have raised him since birth.
“They have raised me since I was a newborn and sacrificed everything in order to give me the best chance of success,” he said. “I hope to give others the same level of opportunity that they have given to me.”

Philanthropists and Champions

Chancellor greets the Boyers.
Chancellor Robinson (right) greets the Boyers.

The Boyers reconnected with past recipients at a reception at their Fayetteville home on Thursday, April 27, and a luncheon on campus the following day. Former fellowship recipients attended the luncheon to share personal and professional updates with the people who boosted their academic careers and served as mentors to the former students.
Throughout the academic year, the Boyers keep in touch with the current fellow and often invite the student to join them at a basketball game. It is at these informal events that the true spirit of the Boyers’ philanthropy comes through. They listen, reassure, encourage and cheer them on. For the Boyers, their support is much more than financial. Since 2000, they’ve kept in touch with all past recipients and are still applauding their successes.
Tommy (B.S.B.A. ’64) and Sylvia (B.S.E. ‘63) Boyer are active alumni of the University of Arkansas. Tommy Boyer currently sits on the U of A Board of Trustees, helping to set policy and guide the mission of our state’s universities. He has served on the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board at Walton College and was the co-chair of the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century capital campaign for the university from 2000-2002. The couple joined forces on the Campaign Steering Committee, where Sylvia served as the vice chair of the college/school/unit and regional subcommittee. Sylvia Boyer also served on the national board of directors for the Arkansas Alumni Association (1988-1999) and the chair of the Alumni House Campaign and Renovation Project (1996-1999).

The couple are founding members of the Towers of Old Main giving society for the university. They were named Volunteers of the Year in 1992 by the university and Distinguished Service Award recipients in 1999 by the Arkansas Alumni Association.

Boyer Fellowship

The fellowship is designated for an incoming freshman honors student at Walton College and is renewable up to three years with an award of $20,500 per year. It may fund tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, a personal computer and travel to educational programs, professional conferences and study abroad experiences.
Recipients must:

  • Pursue a business major at Walton College.
  • Be enrolled at a high school in Arkansas.
  • Display strong academic performance and curriculum.
  • Demonstrate leadership and initiative.
  • Demonstrate financial need.

In addition, applicants must meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • 32 ACT (composite score on one exam) or 1430 SAT
  • 3.90 weighted high school GPA

For more information about the award, visit the U of A’s Honors College Fellowships page.

Lori McLemoreSince 2013, Lori McLemore has served as the marketing and communications officer for the Sam M. Walton College of Business. In this role, she writes press releases and features articles to promote the work of students, faculty and staff. 

Prior to working at Walton College, she worked as the director of web strategy and operations for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the national headquarters for 3,500 Boys & Girls Clubs. She was part of the core team to establish an intranet site for Clubs around the globe and the public internet site for the national nonprofit located in Atlanta.

Lori holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Auburn University ... and loves BOTH the Arkansas Razorbacks (Woo Pig!!) and the Auburn Tigers (War Eagle!!)