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Edward John Ray

Edward John Ray was appointed as the fourteenth president of Oregon State University during the summer of 2003.  Ray expanded dual enrollments between the university and all of the state's community colleges, oversaw the largest capital campaign in OSU history, and led OSU during an historic building boom on the Corvallis, Bend and Newport campuses.

Ed Ray, became Oregon State University’s 14th president on July 31, 2003 and stepped down on June 30, 2020 after serving for nearly 17 years. After his departure as president, Ray remained a part of the OSU community as an economics professor.

Born on September 10, 1944 in New York City, Ray grew up in the borough of Queens and received his bachelor's degree in mathematics (minoring in economics and theatre) in 1966 from Queen's College, a branch of the City University of New York. Ray earned a master’s degree in 1969 and a PhD two years later, both in economics, from Stanford University.

Prior to coming to OSU, Ray enjoyed a lengthy tenure at Ohio State University. After six years as a teaching faculty member in economics, Ray became the chair of the department; the youngest person to do so in the history of the school. Ray remained in that position for nearly 16 years before assuming the position of Chief Information Officer. for the university Later, from 1997-2003, Ray served as Executive Vice President and Provost of Ohio State University.

A centerpiece of Ray's presidency was the Campaign for OSU, which generated over $1 billion in private donations. These funds were used to renovate 28 university buildings, endow 79 faculty positions, and create over 600 scholarships for students. Also during Ray’s tenure, the OSU student population nearly doubled, many of the university's academic units were restructured and the INTO-OSU international student initiative program was initiated.

For much of his presidency, Ray was joined by his wife of forty-four years, Beth, in conducting university business. Formerly the assistant dean of advising for the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State, First Lady Beth Ray passed away in 2014.

Related Resources: President's Office Records, Memorabilia Collection, OralHistory Interviews.

Photograph of Edward John Ray.

Edward John Ray, September 24, 2005.

Ed Ray, Beth Ray and Linus Pauling Jr.

Ed Ray, Beth Ray and Linus Pauling Jr., May 5, 2008

Ed Ray

Ed Ray on his 70th birthday, 2015