Stories of Excellence–Dr. Peggy Gray
Mitchell College alumna Dr. Peggy Gray is a lifelong learner. An Iredell County native and active community member, Dr. Gray has seen many changes throughout the years in K-12 and higher education, and she has seen many changed by education. Having devoted her life to educating–whether herself, her children, or young minds in her community–Dr. Gray is a true example of how learning is a journey that sometimes takes us to unexpected places.
Dr. Gray first came to Mitchell in 1957. At the time, she never imagined she would go on to earn her doctorate degree. Excelling in her studies, Dr. Gray enjoyed interacting with her professors and developing friendships. “I’ve always tried to learn what was available,” she said. “You can learn something from every teacher.” Dr. Gray graduated with her general diploma and went on to attend Catawba College majoring in home economics. She earned her master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She then decided to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Like many current Mitchell students, Dr. Gray juggled personal and professional commitments while she was a student. As a mother of four, she balanced a career as a teacher, managed the family farm “Gray House Farms,” and continued her studies. Yet the challenges were worth the rewards to Dr. Gray. One of her favorite moments on her educational journey was when she and her son Andy graduated on the same day, with doctorate and bachelor’s degrees, respectively. After achieving her advanced degrees, Dr. Gray stepped into an administrative role and served as principal for three different schools. She took pride in caring for her students and teachers, implementing new educational policies and advocating for an education-first philosophy. After 31 years, she retired from the school system.
As a lifelong student and educator, Dr. Gray has practical advice for Mitchell and other college students, “College students need to focus on strengths instead of weaknesses. If you focus on your strengths,” she said, “it creates a shorter path for you to have personal gains.”
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