R. Sylvester Owens

Stewardship Chair

A native of Chester, South Carolina, Sylvester obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. While pursuing his Master’s degree, Sylvester became the Director of Alumni Programs at Winthrop, thereby starting a career devoted to higher education, fundraising and alumni relations. He would later become a Philanthropic Advisor (Major Gifts Officer), securing 7-figure donations for scholarships and special projects at Winthrop University.

While in the Rock Hill community, Sylvester served as the Chairman of the York County Martin Luther King, Jr. Taskforce and member of the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of York County, Kiwanis of Rock Hill, and the Rock Hill Area Council of the York County Chamber of Commerce. As recognition for his community engagement, in 2008, Sylvester was acknowledged by The Herald newspaper as a “Top 20 Under 30.”

In 2013, Sylvester relocated to Washington, D.C. to assume the role of Senior Associate Director of Alumni Relations at The George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the 11th oldest medical school in the United States. Through this position, Sylvester continues to pursue his passion for development and alumni relations through the management of several alumni programs and fundraising initiatives.

In the Washington, D.C. area, Sylvester continues his service and community involvement as Vice President of the Ira Dorsey Scholarship Endowment Fund, Inc., and as a former member of the board of directors for the Next Generation Leaders – Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Washington, D.C. Metro Chapter – African-American Affinity Group. He is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. where he has served as the chief fundraiser for the March of Dimes project within his local chapter, securing over $10,000, annually, to end premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality.

Grounded in his faith, he is currently a member of the Alfred Street Baptist Church of Alexandria, VA, one of the oldest African-American churches in America, founded in 1803. At Alfred Street, he is an active member of the Music and Worship Arts ministry and serves as a leader in several ministries and church committees. In his spare time, Sylvester enjoys mentoring, the arts, and jet skiing.