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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI vice provost receives RI Black Heritage Society Award

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

PROVIDENCE, R. I. -- February 13, 2004 -- John McCray, the University of Rhode Island vice provost for urban affairs at the Alan Shawn Feinstein Campus in Providence will be honored with the "George T. Downing Award for Education and Politics" by the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society. McCray will be presented with the award during the Society's 25th Annual Ball held on Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Westin Hotel in Providence.

In being selected for the award, McCray is recognized for his "direct and positive contributions in education." McCray was among the recipients profiled earlier this month by WJAR TV 10 in recognition of the award and his role in the Rhode Island community.

"We're very proud of the work Dr. McCray has done with students on both our Kingston and Providence campuses and in the state community as a whole. He has inspired students to rise above the limitations others might try to impose on them, to aspire to excellence and not to let anyone turn them around," said URI President Robert L. Carothers.

Throughout his years at URI, McCray has supported creative programs that have encouraged students to research, study and explore the cultural, economic, and business development of nations largely populated by groups identified as minorities in the U.S. Through one such program, URI and Rhode Island College students spent their summer studying in Belize or Cape Verde. In another program, arranged in collaboration with the University College of Belize, students lived with host families and studied the history, people and culture of Belize, with an emphasis on the country's African roots.

"We place race as being important in human interaction," McCray said recently during the profile interview with Channel 10. "The fact is that it's not that important unless we want to make it important. We all have the same anxieties, the same hopes, the same wills. If we realize that then the world's going to be much better for all of us."

"The work that Dr. McCray has done as a higher education administrator shows that individuals, people around us in all walks of life, do indeed make history," said Fayneese Miller, the Society's Ball Theme Committee chair. The Society celebrates the theme of "Creative Survival" at this year's ball.

With more than 30 years of administrative experience, McCray was appointed as URI's vice provost for urban affairs in December 2000. His personal as well as professional commitment to urban programs and the City of Providence has fostered his leadership in academic and service programs to meet the needs of urban populations at the campus.

Prior to his current position, McCray served as URI's vice president for the Division of Student Affairs. Based on the Kingston Campus, this division includes the offices of Student Life, Multicultural Student Services, Career Services, the Women's Center, Disabled Student Services and the University's auxiliary operations that include housing, dining, health and other services for students.

Before joining URI, McCray was vice president for student affairs at the State University of New York College at Brockport and dean for Student Services at the University of Michigan-Flint. He was also an assistant professor of naval science at the University of Rochester.

He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from the University of Michigan, a master of business administration from the William E. Simon School of Business Administration, University of Rochester, and his doctorate from Wayne State University in Detroit. McCray is also a graduate of Harvard University's Institute of Educational Management.

A resident of Providence, McCray has served as treasurer and chairman of the Finance Committee of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority and is a founding member and past president of the Board of the Minority Investment Development Corporation. He is also a member of the City of Providence Park Commission and is a former commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves.