Dr. R. Richard Ray Jr., a long-time member of the Hope College faculty who is the dean for the social sciences and a professor of kinesiology at Hope, has been appointed the college's new provost.

 Dr. R. Richard Ray Jr., a long-time member of the Hope College faculty who is the dean for the social sciences and a professor of kinesiology at Hope, has been appointed the college's new provost.

Ray will succeed Dr. James Boelkins, who is retiring at the end of the school year after serving as provost since 2002.  The appointment, made after a nationwide search, was announced following the May 6-7 meeting of the college's Board of Trustees.

"In his 28 years at Hope, Rich Ray has provided outstanding leadership as a member of the faculty and administration while also earning the highest acclaim nationally for his service and scholarship within his discipline of athletic training," said Dr. James E. Bultman, president of Hope College.  "I'm confident he will lead us to new levels of distinction as our chief academic officer."

Ray has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1982, and has been dean for the social sciences since 2008.  He chaired the department of kinesiology at Hope from 2003 until his appointment as dean.  For several years, he was the college's head athletic trainer, and he developed the academic program in athletic training at Hope.

"Hope College has a unique place in the higher education community. The ability to offer outstanding, nationally recognized academic programs while simultaneously helping students to develop spiritually is a rare combination--one that makes Hope College a terrific value at a time when so many undergraduate colleges look the same," Ray said.

"I count it a distinct privilege to be able to serve Hope College as its next provost," he said.  "Following the examples provided by Jim Boelkins and provost emeritus Jack Nyenhuis, I pledge my very best efforts to partner with the faculty--one of the brightest and most committed groups of people anywhere--to provide an academic program that transforms our students for lives of leadership and service in a global society."

Under Ray's leadership, the college's athletic training program grew into a full major. Hope was one of the first Michigan colleges to have its athletic training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

In addition to his other service to Hope, he led the college's successful effort to seek re-accreditation in 2004 by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Ray has been extensively involved in the discipline of athletic training at the regional and national level.  He was co-chair of the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) Education Task Force, was president of the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers' Association (GLATA) from 1990 to 1992, and is also a member and former president of the Michigan Athletic Trainers' Society.  He is former editor of the professional journal "Athletic Therapy Today" and served as associate editor of the "Journal of Athletic Training."

Ray has received multiple honors through the years in recognition of his service to his profession and teaching.  In June 2006, he was elected to the NATA Hall of Fame, the highest honor in the athletic training profession.

In March of this year, he received the Golden Pinnacle Award from GLATA during the association's Winter Meeting, held in Detroit.  GLATA had previously presented him with an "Outstanding Educator Award" in March 2004 and a "Distinguished Service Award" in March 2002.

In June 2001, he received the "Sayers 'Bud' Miller Distinguished Educator Award" from NATA. In May of 1999, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Michigan Athletic Trainers' Society, which had presented him with its "Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award" in 1995. In September 2009, he received the Career Achievement Award from the Kinesiology Alumni Society of the University of Michigan.

Ray has a wide range of research interests, and has received several grants to support his work. He is the editor or author of the books "Management Strategies in Athletic Training" (2005, 2000, 1994), "Counseling in Sports Medicine" (1999) and "Case Studies in Athletic Training Administration" (1995), all published by Human Kinetics.  He has written numerous articles in scientific publications, and has presented papers at professional conferences.

He is a 1979 graduate of the University of Michigan and completed his master's and doctorate from Western Michigan University in 1980 and 1990 respectively.

Prior to joining the Hope faculty, Ray was an assistant athletic trainer at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., for two years.  While pursuing his master's degree he served as head athletic trainer at Kalamazoo College and as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Western Michigan University.

His wife, Carol, is a member of the college's Health Center staff.  They have three grown children, all of whom attended Hope:  Richard, a 2004 graduate; Sarah, a 2007 graduate; and Matthew, who is graduating this year.