Sylvia and Roy Robinson recognized as volunteers of year

Roy and Sylvia Robinson accepted the 2020 Volunteers of the Year award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District VI at its annual conference in January. They are shown with their family, Cynthia Robinson Fails and Herston Fails, and Roy Robinson Jr. (Photo from K-State Alumni Association)

In recognition of their K-State legacy of service, Sylvia and Roy L. Robinson were honored as the 2020 Volunteers of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, or CASE, District VI at the annual conference in Kansas City in January.

The Robinsons were students at K-State during a time of social unrest, both on campus and nationally. Roy earned a degree in milling science and management in 1970. Sylvia earned a degree in elementary education in 1971. Both Sylvia and Roy were founding members of the Black Student Union.

Roy was a member of the K-State ROTC program, held a long career in milling and retired as vice president of ADM in Overland Park, Kansas. In 2012, he was recognized with the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Department of Grain Science and Industry.

Sylvia was a charter member of Delta Sigma Theta and a K-State cheerleader. She also is a past member of the Kansas Board of Regents, board of the Kauffman Fund for Greater Kansas City and the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education.

The Robinsons were both recognized as K-State Alumni Fellows in 2005 and also endowed the Robinson Family Multicultural Leadership Awards program with the K-State Alumni Association in 2017. Each year, the awards program recognizes four outstanding graduating students who are leaving a legacy of enhancing multicultural engagement at K-State through their leadership.

“Roy and Sylvia Robinson put the knowledge and experiences they received at K-State to good use,” said Amy Button Renz, president and CEO of the K-State Alumni Association. “Through their involvement and generosity K-State is a better place. We are truly honored to count them among our alumni and thrilled for them to receive this prestigious award.”

The Robinsons expressed gratitude that K-State provided opportunities for ordinary students to step up and be leaders, and to advocate for changes that would make campus and society a better place, with equality for all.

“For me, as a first-generation college student, going to K-State and being successful, it was a life-changing moment,” Sylvia said. “That degree alone began to open doors to me. It changed my life trajectory. It empowers you in ways you didn’t even know you could be.”

“My time at KSU changed my life,” Roy added. “It allowed me to move forward in life — to have a good life and to help others. You have to be at the table to make a difference.”

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