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James Gray

James Gray

Just thirty miles away from my hometown of Meridian, MS you will find a small institution of higher learning by the name of, The University of West Alabama (UWA). Though I’ve lived this close to the university for years, it was not until 2010 that I finally discovered what a wonderful place this can be. Throughout my life I've always wanted to be an educator but never knew what path I wanted to take to achieve this goal.  In 2010, I enrolled in UWA’s Master’s degree program, studying in the area of College Student Development. Upon completion of my Master’s Degree, I was on a track to become a leader in higher education.  Since my enrollment as a graduate student, UWA has been my second home and has provided opportunities for me that I never would have imagined. I have been employed at UWA since 2013 serving as an Employment Specialist/Counselor for a 2.3-million-dollar grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and currently carrying out the duties of Admissions Counselor, representing UWA in the northeast territory of Alabama. I can definitely say that UWA has placed me on an educational and career pathway to “DO SOMETHING THAT MATTERS!” My ultimate goal is to inspire all that crosses my path to “DO SOMETHING THAT MATTERS?”  

Favorite Place on Campus: 

My favorite place on campus is Lake LU. Not only during stressful days but peaceful days can be spent on the banks of the lake fishing and enjoying the serene and beautiful 54-acre lake. I can recall many hours spent at the lake during my lunch hour meditating and relaxing, then returning back to work refreshed and ready to get back to doing something that matters. 

Favorite UWA Tradition: 

Recently I attended UWA'S annual Moon Fest, also known as Mid-Autumn Day. This day is one of the most important traditional festivals in China and many other Asian countries. Based on the Luna Calendar, people celebrate Moon Festival on the 15th day of the eighth month. UWA’s International Programs sponsors this event and it is filled with Chinese culture and good food!

What do you love the most about UWA: 

What I love most about UWA is the small tight knit community.  Everyone you encounter is very friendly and helpful. Once you visit the campus you will understand why “there’s something about this place.”

Piece of Advice for Prospective Students: 

My advice for prospective students is to use your time wisely and take advantage of the college experience to become the most amazing version of yourself.  You can think of college as an incubation period, where you can develop your skills and character. You are likely never again to have as many resources, like minded peers, free hours and opportunities as you do in college, so I advise you to please use your time wisely.


James Gray
jgray@uwa.edu