Alumni Shelly Schroer and Michael Gray were recently awarded Outstanding Alumni for 2021. Schroer received her MBA in 2002 while Michael Gray graduated in 2003 with a political science degree. Schroer is currently a Chief Financial Officer for Common Spirit health and Gray is a house attorney for Watco.
The two alumni were recognized at different events last weekend. From dinner with President Scott, to meetings with their departments and to talk to faculty and staff, to the public reception at the Alumni Center. Then they rode in the homecoming parade and were presented and recognized during half-time of the homecoming game.
“They’re very different individuals, and (by that) I mean they come from different walks of life,” said John Bartlow, director of Alumni and Constituent Relations. “You know one is a CFO for a large hospital system in California with a business degree, and the other had a political science degree, is a lawyer, and he’s been a local politician, so (they are) very different individuals. The common thread that we found with them and what we usually find with these award winners is that these are folks who just had great experiences with the faculty at Pitt State and have gone on to do some really excellent things. It’s great for us to be able to have an opportunity to give back to them by giving them this award.”
Schroer and Gray were chosen in December of 2019 by a nomination committee. Due to COVID-19, the reception was pushed back to this fall, leaving no award winners for the year 2020.
“We weren’t able to do it last year because of COVID, so I think everything was that much sweeter this year (for the recipients),” Bartlow said. “We were supposed to honor these individuals last homecoming and so they’ve been waiting for nearly a year and a half to actually get this.”
“Oh, I was completely honored,” Schroer said. “There are so many distinguished people who have won this award, and to be recognized by other people for the career accomplishments that you worked so hard for, it’s just phenomenal. It’s nice to be recognized in your career, for you to come (be) recognized in your growth from the place that gave you the degree that helped you get where you are.”
Schroer and Gray give credit to PSU and its academics for what they have been able to do with their careers.
“I look back on now and appreciate, the fact that I did not feel like a number,” Gray said. “I felt like I was engaged with professors and that they really were concerned about how well I did and, when I had questions or concerns, I very rarely felt like they did not provide the time to be able to address those issues. I think that this isn’t always the case with some of the larger universities, and I think that was one thing I appreciate most about Pitt State.”