Jackson State University alumnus Dr. Teri Quinn Gray applauded JSU for recognizing the achievements of its highest-performing students during JSU’s Honors and Awards Convocation held April 24 in the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium.
“The message is clear when it comes to scholarship and excellence. It is absolutely phenomenal that this event happens at a university where teaching and learning are most important,” Gray said.
Gray, who is the product commercialization manager and Six Sigma consultant with DuPont Crop Protection, was the keynote speaker at the Honors and Awards Convocation, which celebrated the academic achievements of 1,200 students from all five of JSU’s colleges.
A Jackson native, Gray talked about growing up around the corner from JSU’s campus, and how she used to sit on her front porch and listen to the Sonic Boom of the South’s band practice. Though she was offered a scholarship to attend Stamford University, she chose JSU at the urging of her grandmother.
“My professors, counselors and mentors had a vested interest in my success,” Gray said of her experience studying chemistry at JSU. “I was highly nurtured and constantly challenged.”
After graduating magna cum laude from Jackson State University with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Gray earned a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park, and worked as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology prior to joining DuPont in 1997.
During her address, Gray spoke about how global problems show up locally, such as how the world’s dwindling water supply affects everything from the transportation along the Mississippi River to maintaining a clean water supply in the Delta. She advised the students to think globally and act locally, and to always maintain high expectations for themselves.
Gray serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Education Delivery Institute, the Board of Trustees for the University of Delaware, and on the Committee of Distinguished Advisors to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park. Gray is also the chair of the American Chemical Society Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board and works as a consultant to the ACS Women Chemists Committee.
Gray was appointed president of the Delaware State Board of Education in 2009 and co-chair of the Delaware STEM Council in 2012. Prior to joining the State Board of Education, she served as a leader with the Delaware State Parent Teacher Association. She also served on the state PTA’s Vision 2015 Executive Leadership Academy and participated in the 2008 National PTA Emerging Minority Leaders Conference.