Stephen Sye '93 is the executive director of the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on identifying innovative entrepreneurial ideas.
Why do you do what you do?
I was once asked what my personal mission statement was. My response was, “To improve my community so that my children have greater opportunities than I and can become even better citizens than me.” My role at the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation puts me in a position to fulfill that statement by giving me the opportunity to identify ideas that can be put into action to benefit the people of Delaware and make our state a better place.
What are you passionate about at work?
I am most passionate about having the opportunity to improve lives. At the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation, we put bold ideas into action that put people to work. Take Zip Code Wilmington, for example. It graduates roughly 100 individuals annually with a 95 percent employment rate. Most enrollees double or triple their previous salaries, thus providing greater opportunities for themselves and their families.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Outside of work you can catch me spending time with my wife and five sons. Among them we have a one-year-old and nine-year-old so they require a significant amount of our time. And right now my 18-year-old is in his senior year of high school and wrestling season has just started, so I am helping him decide on college and hopefully capture a state title this year. My wife and I love to travel and experience new things. When I have some me time, I try to play golf or hit the gym.
What was your experience like at Tower Hill?
I was born and raised in New Jersey and started Tower Hill in the 7th Grade, so for me it took a few years to really get to know my classmates, Delaware and Hiller life. At first I felt like a fish out of water, but I met some truly amazing people in my time there who made me feel like family, and I still keep in touch with some of them today. I also had some amazing mentors like Thomas Hughes and Steve Hyde and am forever grateful for their guidance. Multa Bene Facta is a motto that I try to emulate in everyday life, and THS challenges you to be a well-rounded, high-caliber individual.
How do you feel that Tower Hill influenced your life and career?
I attribute where I am today to my Tower Hill foundation. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to attend. It has opened countless doors that may have otherwise been closed. Having the stamp of a Hiller is a badge I wear with pride. When life or work throws a challenge my way, I reflect on the challenges and tasks I overcame and accolades I accumulated during my Hiller days and gain a renewed sense of confidence knowing that successfully navigating Tower Hill School means you can successfully navigate the world.