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A Ray of Hope

The Rays, First four scholarship winners, Drs. Cortez and Wirth

On Apr. 23, the School of Information Sciences held a ceremony to honor Rich and Jane Ray for their gift of $104,000 to establish the Jane Moulton Ray Endowed Scholarship for Information Science. This is the largest single gift to date for the School.  Beginning with the fall 2013 semester, the scholarship will be awarded based on financial need with a preference given to those who are first-generation undergraduate students or first-generation graduate students.  Students who graduated from high schools in Monroe or Cocke County, Tenn., are also given preference. 

Rich Ray established the scholarship to honor his wife Jane who graduated from the School of Information Sciences in 1988.  She is a retired Knox County School librarian.

The first recipients of the scholarship are Bridgette Johnson, Matthew O’Connor, Casey Fox and Rebecca Baker.  All four attended the ceremony to thank the Rays for their generosity. 

O’Connor graduated from UTK in May with a bachelor’s degree in history and with a minor in information studies & technology. Fox is from Crossville and earned a history degree from Tennessee Tech University.  She worked in a library housed in a temporary trailer in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  She has experienced firsthand the dramatic and important role libraries can play in a community. 

Johnson graduated from East Tennessee State University in Kingsport with a bachelor’s degree in English.  Baker earned her degree in sociology from Maryville College.  She works as a paraprofessional librarian in Blount County. 

Two of the four recipients earned their undergraduate degrees while providing care and support for disabled family members.  All of them would be challenged to find the resources to pay for their master’s program if it were not for the assistance offered by this scholarship. 

“We are indebted to the Rays for once again supporting the School,” said SIS Professor and Director Ed Cortez.  “They were instrumental in establishing the Carmen Moulton Scholarship in 1995 which honors Jane Ray’s mother. Thanks to the generosity of the Rays, many students will have the opportunity to earn an information science graduate degree for years to come.”