Donor Spotlight – Judy Gray

Judy Gray

Judy Gray

How does one describe a whirling dervish like Judy Gray? Seemingly retired from college teaching for the last 20 years, but busier than ever, Judy has devoted a substantial amount of her time to supporting South Seattle College in a hundred different ways over the years. Judy retired from the Business Department at South Seattle College in 2004 after teaching such subjects as Accounting, Business Math, Business English, Business Communications, and Professional Development for almost 30 years. She was there at the beginning, became a fixture on campus, knows everyone, and everyone loves her!

A Seattle native, Judy graduated from Ballard High School. She attended Washington State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Office Administration Education (with distinction), then started her teaching career in the Seattle Public Schools (SPS), including Lincoln and Rainier Beach high schools. She returned to WSU to earn a Master of Arts in the Teaching of Business, followed by a return to SPS and Nathan Hale High School. Following SPS, she landed at South Seattle College as an instructor in the Business Department and never left. Well, she left but joined the South Seattle College Foundation as a board member and became the Scholarship Chair.

The thing about Judy is that she has participated in so many ways at South over her years there. It is better to ask her what she hasn’t done. This is just part of the list of her extra-curricular activities at the college:  Curriculum and Instruction Committee, Coordination of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, Accreditation Steering Committee member and Standard VII Co-Chair, District Faculty Development Coordinator, Faculty Retreat Committee,  SCCFT Campus Co-President and District Treasurer, Institutional Directions Taskforce, College Council, Chancellor’s Planning Advisory Committee, Faculty Development Committee, Washington State Board for Community College Education Faculty Development Steering Committee, President’s Awards Committee……I could go on and on here, but suffice it to say, Judy has been and is still one very busy woman.

Besides teaching and participating in various committees at South, Judy has been involved in other organizations outside of education, such as the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society, where she served as President, Vice President, and Treasurer for the local chapter, as well as numerous positions at the regional and state level. She is a regular fixture at the Leif Erickson Lodge, Sons of Norway, where she worked in the office part-time.

Since her formal retirement from teaching at South Seattle College, Judy has been very active as the indefatigable Chair of the Scholarship Committee for the Board of the South Seattle College Foundation.  Scholarships are a mission-critical area comprising much of the support the Foundation provides South Seattle College. Scholarship Chair is an intense and time-consuming position with many deadlines during the year: planning for the Scholarship Applications, reviewing student applications, awarding scholarships, and the dozens of communications to follow up with the scholarship awards and administration process.

Judy is a natural in front of a group. She has been the Master of Ceremonies for at least eleven different events at the College, including commencements, retirement/farewell events for key people, Convocation Days, College President’s Day, and several Gifts from the Earth dinners sponsored by the SSC Foundation, etc. She has also earned too many awards to list for her achievements in teaching.

Judy has funded a scholarship endowment at the Foundation, which will continue in perpetuity funding scholarships for Business Students at South. She also donates funds for current scholarships via the Adopt-A-Student program fund. There must be thousands of students she has taught, helped, funded, or supported in their post-high school education process. What a way to spend a life – making a massive difference in the lives of young people!

As if all of this is not enough, Judy loves spending time at and renovating her beach cottage on Whidbey Island that she, her family, and her late husband, Don, enjoyed for many years – ever since her parents purchased it when she was four years old. Another labor of love.

It is hard to think of anyone on the South Seattle College Foundation board who has done more for and with South Seattle College and the Foundation that supports it over the decades than Judy. She is loved by everyone who knows her. True retirement? No way. The SSCF board has informed Judy that she can never retire from the Board and as the Scholarship Chair. *wink* The whirling dervish just keeps on spinning!

We thank Judy for her tremendous personal influence and commitment to South Seattle College, the students it serves, and the Seattle college community.