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Ramon A. Alvarez '62 has returned to his roots--and Shepherd University is happy to have him back.

As the new president of the Shepherd University Foundation and continuing president of the Scarborough Society, Ray is eager to put his ideas and energy to work. Recently, Ray reflected on his student days at Shepherd, and his love for Shepherd shines through in all he remembers.

Ray's path through Shepherd wasn't easy. After his freshman year in 1958, his mother's terminal illness and the family's mounting debt left no money for him to return to school. He moved back home to Charles Town and went to Professor Charles Printz '40 to tell him that he needed to work to support the family and couldn't afford the tuition of some $30 a semester. Charlie encouraged him to register for classes, which didn't require any payment, and that in the meantime he would search for needed funds. Those funds came from the Alumni Association (the Foundation had not been established at that time) in the amount of $100. Ray eagerly returned to school and completed his degree in 1962, while working three jobs to provide for his family. He credits his sister, Helene, for her sacrifices to work and fulfill their goal of keeping the family of five together.

Thanks to Charlie Printz's connections, Ray landed his first job out of school and then went on to become a successful senior executive with Honeywell, one of the world's preeminent switch and sensor manufacturers. He and his high school sweetheart Mary married and moved to the midwest (first Minneapolis, then Chicago) where they lived for many years and raised their son and daughter. He retired in 1998, after 30 years with the company.

Throughout his years at Honeywell, often rubbing shoulders with Ivy League grads, Ray recalls that he never felt he had received a second-class education. "I was blessed to be taught by the likes of James Hafer, Harry Klug, Ruth Scarborough, Charles Printz--outstanding teachers who inspired students to excellence. I felt I got a quality education at Shepherd, which prepared me for a successful career."

Very much aware of the generosity of past generations, Ray feels a strong sense of obligation to pay back to the school that was generous to him. He recalled that his first donation matched the $100 that he received when he was in need. He and Mary started a scholarship in memory of his parents. He remembers his father, a Spanish immigrant who got his start in the United States as a coal miner in West Virginia, as a shy, optimistic, well-liked "character" in the community and his mother as an advocate for education for her children.

The Alavarezes have also established a scholarship in memory of Ray's beloved sister, Helene Bazzrea.

In 2000 Ray and Mary returned to the Eastern Panhandle to build a home near Shepherdstown. One of the factors that influenced their decision was Ray's interest in becoming reconnected with the University, particularly the Foundation, whose mission he strongly supports.

Sharon Henderson

Ramon A. "Ray" Alvarez '62

Newly elected Foundation President Ray Alvarez '62 (r.) with outgoing president James M. Davis '59.

Click on the images above to view a larger image.


Shepherd University Foundation

Davis Steps Down as Foundation President

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