Home Official News Releases RaySociety Honors Instructors, Enjoys Music of WWII Era

RaySociety Honors Instructors, Enjoys Music of WWII Era

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CONTACT: Lisa Lacher, 515-271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu

Former Iowa Gov. Robert Ray and former first lady Billie Ray presented RaySociety-Drake University hats and certificates to this year’s RaySociety instructors at the group’s recent year-end celebration.

The white hats with blue lettering showed how Drake University and the RaySociety have formed a partnership in offering educational opportunities to people of retirement age. The RaySociety is named for Drake graduates Robert Ray, who also served as the University’s president, and Billie Ray, a former schoolteacher.

This year the RaySociety grew to more than 418 members and enrollment in classes exceeded 700.

Don Byers, president of the RaySociety, commended the instructors for their willingness to share their talents and let others bask in their knowledge.

“These people step forward and are not compensated and share their enthusiasm for education and knowledge,” said Byers, a Drake alumnus. “I thought it was special that Gov. Ray could present the awards.”

Drake University President David Maxwell also congratulated members for completing the year’s courses.

“The traditional student refers to someone who is 18 to 24 years old. These students are now in the minority. More people over 25 years old are in higher education,” Maxwell said. “Drake University is not just focused on the education of undergraduates, it has a strong commitment to stay with people throughout their lives.”

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The spring semester classes ended Thursday with a 16-piece band playing music from the World War II era. The performance was the conclusion of the course WWII: Iowans in the Greatest Generation Speak. Don Moon, a founding member of the RaySociety, said he was pleased with the afternoon.

“The music session turned out to be unbelievable,” he said. “I’m thrilled that all of the members are Iowa veterans.”

In addition to the instructors and students, three retiring committee chairs were recognized: Judy Conlin, events chair; Betty Durden, finance chair; and Nancy Nichols, social chair. New committee chairs are Julie Ericson, events, and Patricia Sink, social. A new finance chair has yet to be determined.

Six directors were elected for three-year terms, expiring in 2010: Julie Ericson, Betty Grandquist, Pat Moran, Sandy O’Brien, Pat Sink and Jim Wise.

Although RaySociety classes will not resume until fall, several social events for members are planned for the summer. Tours of the Fort Des Moines Museum led by Caesar Smith, manager of the museum, will begin at 10 a.m. June 19, 20 and 21. Retired Des Moines teacher Jerald LaBlanc will conduct tours of the historic Woodland Cemetery at 10 a.m. July 10, 11 and 12.

For more information about the RaySociety, or to RSVP for a summer social event, contact Rena Wilson at 271-2120 or by e-mail at rena.wilson@drake.edu.