Dr. Daniel Ray’s Mission to Create Community and Build Partnerships
Dr. Daniel Ray is on a mission that took root during his time at Nashville State. As the director of Community and Corporate Education for St. Johns River State College in Florida, Ray is using what he learned at Nashville State to bring together academia with the needs of businesses and employers.
“This was the foundation,” Ray said. It was here where he “learned to learn. What makes me who I am today as an educator.”
It is Ray’s holistic approach to education that has led to one program bringing local businesses from the community to the St. Johns River State College campus for lunch and learn events. Lunch and learns being an informal opportunity for students and business leaders to meet and continue the lifelong process of education and collaboration.
In addition to his community partnership role, Ray is working to guide St. Johns River State College and students in the use of artificial intelligence ethically and positively.
“We’re teaching them what they need to be successful out there,” Ray said.
But it all comes back to Nashville State for Ray. Here he saw the importance of creating relationships with instructors who care in an environment focused on helping students succeed on campus and beyond.
Whether it was an instructor taking the extra time to get to know him, or impromptu music sessions with teachers and a diverse student body, he learned the value of community at Nashville State.
“You can take that knowledge and do something greater,” Ray commented.
The significance of Nashville State has stayed with Ray throughout his academic career, even dedicating his doctoral dissertation to the College and personally influential instructors like Associate Professor David Edgington.
Ray credits this foundation as one of the keys to his success. “Had I not gone to a community college I never would have chased my Ph.D.”
In addition to completing his Ph.D. in organizational leadership, Dr. Ray went on to pursue graduate degrees, including multiple master’s and now is pursuing his second Ph.D.
That success brings him full circle to where he now focuses on building those community relationships at his college and, hopefully, one day beyond there.
“Nashville State is my model,” Ray said. “At the right institution, you can go anywhere else.”