Sylvia Kerckhoff

Sylvia Kerckhoff

Title: Mayor (Retired)
Company: City of Durham, North Carolina
Location: Durham, North Carolina, United States

Sylvia S. Kerckhoff, Retired Mayor at the City of Durham, North Carolina, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in local government.

Amassing more than 45 years of professional excellence, Ms. Kerckhoff commenced her career in education prior to delving into the field of local government. Teaching in Wisconsin, Tennessee and North Carolina, she spent the latter half of her career as a longtime board member and vice president of the North Carolina League of Women Voters and the League of Women Voters of Orange-Durham-Chatham. Recognizing Ms. Kerckhoff’s innate skill and passion for leadership, the boards came together and asked her to run for the Durham City Council. A member of the council for three terms from 1981 to 1997, she was subsequently elected as mayor of the City of Durham for two terms between 1989 and 1997, when she retired from her illustrious position in government. She was the first female mayor of Durham, NC.

Ms. Kerckhoff has engaged in a number of civic opportunities subsequent to her retirement, including on numerous boards for The Forest at Duke, the Downtown Durham YMCA, the Women’s Forum of North Carolina, and the United Way of the Greater Triangle. Likewise, she was co-chair of the Prepared Meal Tax and Cultural Master Plan in Durham throughout the 2000s. Previously a member of the Durham Arts Council and United Forces for Education, she has maintained affiliation with SEEDS since 1993, a non-profit garden school that enriches young Durham civilians through growing, cooking and sharing food.

As a testament to her professional success, Ms. Kerckhoff has accrued several accolades throughout her impressive career. Honored as a Distinguished Worldwide Humanitarian in 2018, she received the Civic Honor Award from the Durham Chamber of Commerce in 2015, the Legacy Award from the Durham Center for Senior Life in 2011, and the Leadership Award from Duke University in 1995, among others. Notably, she was inducted into the DeVilbiss High School Hall of Fame in 1998 and was named among the Twenty Most Powerful Women in the Triangle by the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce in 1996, having previously been called an Effective Business Leader by Business Leaders Magazine in 1994. In recognition of her exceptional achievements in government and education, Ms. Kerckhoff was selected for inclusion in myriad editions of Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women.

The proud mother of two children and four grandchildren, Ms. Kerckhoff enjoys reading, hiking, traveling and playing tennis in her spare time. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Master of Arts in Teaching from Duke University.

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