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Mike Ray Retires after 30 Years at Penn State

7/16/2014 —

About 45 members of the Penn State Mont Alto campus community gathered in the Heritage Room of The Mill to congratulate Mike Ray, supervisor of maintenance and operations, on his retirement. He leaves Penn State University after 30 years of employment, twenty-one years at the Mont Alto campus and nine years at Penn State Harrisburg.

“During Mike’s tenure, and with his supervision, the Mont Alto campus has been painted, landscaped, renovated, remodeled, upgraded, plowed, mowed, modernized and generally kept safe and beautiful for all of our employees and students,” according to Director of Development Randall Ackerman in an invitation to the campus.  “His corporate memory, wealth of knowledge and experience will be greatly missed.”

Chancellor Francis Achampong thanked Ray for his dedication and service to The University and a few individuals shared thoughts and reflections about his many years at the campus.

Ackerman said Mike introduced him to the game of golf and had served as his personal golf coach, as well as participated in several tournaments together.

Coordinator of Student Activities Donna Rhodes, said she once asked Ray to put a life-sized race car in the Heritage room for an event. Although he could not pull that off, she credited him with the ability to “make almost anything happen. He always finds a way,” she said. “Thank you for all of your expertise and creative ingenuity for our campus.”

Director of Finance and Business Ron Swope, said “Nobody else understands buildings and skill trades like Mike does. He has made my job easy – most days – and he has been a delight to work with.”

In turn, Mike thanked the crowd. “I just want to thank everybody, especially those who shouldn’t be here this time of year,” he said referring to the many faculty members who came to wish him well.

Ray received several gifts, including a Nittany Lion shrine, a mirror made from the wood of a 275-year-old white oak removed from in front of the campus’ bookstore, a cutout of Conklin Hall, and many cards. An avid golfer, he was also given a toy golf bag and then was surprised and thrilled to receive a Penn State golf bag.

“It has been a strange way to spend a life -- taking care of a campus,” said Ray. “Like I tell my children, it is not what you have but what you leave behind, and I hope that I am leaving behind something better. Thank you! ”

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