Sarah D. McKay Presented With National Stanley S. Kresge Award
Dr. Sarah D. McKay (center) with Dr. Anne Kerr, President of Florida Southern College, and Dr. Thomas Yow, President of the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation
LAKELAND, Fla. (Sept. 29, 2009) — Florida Southern College honored Dr. Sarah D. McKay at a Sept. 25 dinner where she was presented with the 2009 Stanley S. Kresge Award, a national award given by the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. Dr. McKay serves on FSC's Board of Trustees, and the College nominated her for the award.
The Stanley S. Kresge Award is the foundation's highest national award, given annually to a person who embodies two characteristics of Stanley S. Kresge: dedicated membership in the United Methodist Church and unselfish support of United Methodist-related education.
At the dinner, Thomas Yow, president and CEO of the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation, headquartered in Nashville, presented a medallion and certificate of recognition for outstanding volunteer service and leadership to Dr. McKay. In addition, the foundation established an endowed permanent scholarship for FSC students in Dr. McKay's name with a gift of $20,000.
A native of Lakeland, Dr. McKay graduated from Wesleyan Conservatory in Macon, Georgia, and later pursued graduate work in art at the University of South Florida. She was married to the late L. Kirk McKay, Jr., a successful businessman and civic leader. She has three grown children − Paula McKay Mims 87, Mona McKay Williamson, and L. Kirk McKay III − as well as four grandchildren. She is president of McKay Enterprises. She also is a lifelong member of College Heights United Methodist Church, where she has served on the Board of Directors.
A member of the College's Board of Trustees since 1996, she has served as Board Secretary and as a member of both the Executive and Trusteeship Committees. In 2003, she was elected Chairman of the Board, and her leadership was critical to the completion of the College's comprehensive and ambitious strategic plan. In 2005, the College honored her with an honorary doctor of public service.
A longtime supporter of Florida Southern and its programs, she has contributed financially to a number of institutional priorities, including programmatic support for the Center for Florida History and the Festival of Fine Arts; scholarships for African-American students; and operating support for the Annual Fund.
In February of this year, the College dedicated the Sarah D. and L. Kirk McKay, Jr., Archives Center, which houses the archival collections of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. Dr. McKay provided the lead gift for the new facility.
She has served on numerous community boards, including the Polk Museum of Art, Downtown Lakeland Partnership, Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland, and United Way of Greater Lakeland. The late Gov. Lawton Chiles awarded Dr. McKay with the Floridas Finest Recognition Award. In 2007, the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce presented her with the George Jenkins Award, the highest honor the Chamber bestows annually. In 2009, the Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland selected Dr. McKay to receive its prestigious Legacy Award, recognizing her outstanding civic leadership.