CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s First Lady, Beth Ray, will be celebrated Monday, Jan. 13, in a ceremony renaming the OSU Student Success Center in her honor. It will now be called The Beth Ray Center for Academic Support.
The rededication ceremony begins with a reception at 4:30 p.m., followed by a program at 5 p.m. The center is located just south of the parking structure on 26th Street, in the center of campus.
Ray, who is currently battling advanced small cell carcinoma, an incurable cancer, is a greatly loved member of the OSU community, and the push to rename the center in her honor was largely driven by student enthusiasm. After the idea was proposed by OSU Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis, the Oregon State Student Athlete Advisory Committee unanimously supported the idea of changing the name of the center to honor Ray, and the student government organization ASOSU also supported the plan. Support for the re-naming was also provided by the university’s building naming committee and the OSU Faculty Senate and was authorized by Oregon University System Interim Chancellor Melody Rose.
Ray is seen by many students as a mentor and supporter, making the building, which is oriented toward student support, a natural extension of her interest in student success.
“The Beth Ray Center for Academic Support will serve as an essential place where all students can gather throughout the day and evenings to receive personal assistance along their path to graduation,” said Provost and Vice President Sabah Randhawa.
Ray said she was both surprised and excited about the news of the building renaming, and pleased that the honor focused on student support. A former business law professor, academic counselor and assistant dean for academic advising, Ray, 67, has been been teaching and mentoring students for many years.
“Most of my career involves working with students,” Ray said.
In her 10 years at OSU, Ray has seen many of the students she’s mentored go on to graduate and thrive. She keeps in contact with a number of them, taking the opportunity to have lunch and visit when they’re in the area. And each year a whole new crop of students arrives on campus in need of support and advice.
“I would tell freshmen to talk to their professors and advisors, and if they have a problem to share it,” she said. “Most people try to hide their problems, but you shouldn’t feel bad about asking people questions.”
Jaimee Kirkpatrick, executive assistant to Head Men’s Basketball Coach Craig Robinson, was one of the students Ray took under her wing as an OSU student. She said through many challenges and successes, the Rays were always there to support and guide her.
“Beth Ray holds an even more special place in my heart as she was one of the only female adults that took care of me as I went through some major surgeries during my time as a student at Oregon State,” Kirkpatrick said. “While my parents were living in Alaska, Beth took over and comforted, encouraged, and supported me through some very significant challenges in my life to date.”
The $14 million Student Success Center opened in 2012, and houses programs that provide both the general student population and student-athletes with a range of academic support services. Hundreds of students are served every day in the building. The facility includes classrooms, a computer lab, study lounge and commons area as well as academic counseling and advising offices, meeting rooms and tutorial spaces.