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A Ray of Hope

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

On Apr. 23, 2013, the School of Information Sciences honored Rich and Jane Ray for their gift of $104,000 in scholarship funding. This is the largest single gift to date for the School.  The gift established the Jane Moulton Ray Endowed Scholarship for Information Science beginning with the 2013 fall semester.

The scholarships will be awarded based on financial need with a preference to those who were first-generation undergraduate students or are 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 were able to attend the ceremony to express their gratitude to the Rays for their generosity. 

O’Connor is graduating from UT in May with a bachelor’s degree in history and with a minor in IS&T. Fox is also a history major from Crossville earning her degree from Tennessee Tech University.  She worked in a library housed in a temporary trailer in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  She has experienced first-hand the dramatic and important role libraries can play in the community. 

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

Two of the four recipients have 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 Dr. Cortez.  “They were instrumental in the establishment of the Carmen Moulton Scholarship in 1995 which honors Jane Ray’s mother. Many students for years to come will now have the opportunity to earn their graduate degrees from the University of Tennessee thanks to the Rays.”