M.A. Ray has been at the front desk helping physical therapy (PT) students and faculty since 1996, but her career at UNMC has spanned 41 years.
M.A.’s first four years were in Family Medicine. She moved on to the Chancellor’s office for 13 years, supporting successive vice chancellors James Griesen, PhD, and William Berndt, PhD, then left the university for a year to work with her sister. When she came back, she landed in the division of physical therapy education.
In 1996, Pat Hageman, PhD, was the PT program director. She said, “M.A. is known as the smiling face of the program, where all who enter find a warm welcome and friendly assistance. We’ll miss her!” Dr. Hageman, however, was recovering from an accident during M.A’s interview and hiring.
“That interview was painful,” M.A. said. “HR had just implemented group, behavioral interviews, so it was all these faculty asking me questions, sort of chaotic.”
CAHP executive associate dean Greg Karst, PhD, remembers the interview. He was the PT faculty member in charge of hiring for the position at the time. Afterward, he called M.A. back and said, “If you think you can work for these crazy people, you’ve got the job.”
She took it!
“We’re so glad she did,” said Kyle Meyer, PhD, dean of the college of allied health professions. “M.A. has been a tremendous asset to the PT program, and the CAHP for over twenty years. Her steadfast contributions have contributed to our growth and advancement.”
The past 22 years have indeed brought a lot of change and M.A. has kept up with it all. Over 900 PT students have graduated from the program in that time. Faculty, staff, and directors have come and gone, the School became a College and began the shared services model for staff. Her job morphed and technology took a few duties off her plate and added various others.
“I’ve been here way longer than I envisioned,” she said, “but it’s hard to imagine not working here. I’m still wrapping my head around that. I’ll really miss the people I work with and the students. We just have the most amazing faculty.”
M.A. didn’t want a lot of hoopla at her leaving, so the division gave her a humble send-off. Her plans for retirement include taking some down time, visiting family, and playing with grandkids.
Sounds pretty awesome and we wish her the best!