Spring 2007

Roysters help keep the Light on the Hill shining bright

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From left: Linda Dykstra, dean of the Graduate School, Thomas Royster, Caroline Royster, Chancellor James Moeser

Photo by Steve Exum


In honor of their dedication to Carolina, Thomas and Caroline Royster of  Vero Beach, Fla., received the University’s Light on the Hill Award on Sept. 22, 2006. The award recognizes exceptional individuals who have advanced the University in teaching, research and service, benefiting its community of students, faculty and staff.

In 1995, the Roysters made a lead gift to establish the Royster Society of Fellows. Through their continued support and the gifts of other friends of the Graduate School, 160 graduate students have received fellowships in the Society of Fellows over the last 10 years. These fellowships provide promising scholars with a vibrant, interdisciplinary environment and give Carolina a vital tool in recruiting the best and brightest students.

Thomas Royster, who spent most of his childhood in Vance County, graduated from Carolina in 1940 with a degree in chemistry and went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1943. While in medical school in Philadelphia, he met Caroline M. Henry, and the couple married in 1944.

In 1950, after Thomas completed his residency in New York, the Roysters moved to North Carolina, where Thomas practiced surgery and the couple reared their four children—two of whom, John and Steven, enrolled at Carolina in the 1970s.

In the early 1960s, the Royster family moved back to New York, and Thomas spent the rest of his career at the Roosevelt Hospital as a trustee, chief of vascular surgery and an associate clinical professor of surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Caroline earned her bachelor’s degree from New York University in 1977.