Memorial Scholarship Fund Established for Educator Ray Reyes

Katherine Sosa

Ray Reyes, former associate dean of the EOPS program passed away late last year, and just this year a scholarship was formed in his honor.

The purpose of the scholarship is “to carry on his wonderful work… for disadvantaged students,”said Sarkis Ghazarian, a GCC counselor and creator of the scholarship.

Ray Reyes was an educator who fought for disadvantaged and low-income students, always trying to lend a hand. Reyes passed away Dec. 26, 2007 from a heart attack at 66.

“He was very knowledgeable, and if anybody had problems he had an answer for anything,” said Nelly Lopez, who worked with Reyes for many years in the Extended Opportunity Program and Services office (EOPS). Many students went to him for answers others couldn’t answer.

Reyes worked as an educator for more than 30 years at colleges and universities, including Ventura Community College, GCC, Saddleback College, ELAC, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Northridge.

In 1959 Reyes graduated from Cathedral High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies in 1963, from Cal State Los Angeles, earned his master’s degree in education from California Lutheran College in 1973 and a master’s degree in Latin American studies from Cal State L.A.

Reyes helped to establish the first Chicano studies course at Los Angeles Trade Tech College, and taught over the years at schools such as Cathedral High School, Ventura College and GCC. He worked with teachers Imaco Tsuyuki and Carlos Ugalde to organize the first ethnic studies classes at GCC.

He taught courses on Mexican cultures, Chicana Chicano history, and immigration rights. The trips he went on with students, friends, and family for classes and annual trips to Mexico were great learning experiences states Lopez.

“More importantly, he brought smiles and laughter to numerous people during his routine interaction with them,” said Reyes’ grandchildren during the program. Nelly Lopez said “he was very casual and had an infectious laugh.”

In remembrance of Reyes, Ghazarian had the idea to start a scholarship fund “to honor Ray for all the work he did while he was alive to help open the doors to the world of education for all low income and educationally disadvantaged students.”

“He was a man who practiced in his work and life what he believed in and what he thought was the right thing to do for people. He is a great role model for all of us,” Ghazarian said.

Friends, family, colleagues and students of Reyes remembered him during a memorial ceremony held in Diamond Bar on Jan. 5.

The scholarship started in February. The Reyes family will determine the scholarship criteria that students must meet.

Anyone interested in helping to carry on Reyes’ work can make a contribution to the scholarship fund by sending a check to the Glendale College Foundation. In the memo section of the check note the Ray Reyes Memorial Scholarship.

For more information call 818-240-1000 ext. 5199

Mail donations to:
Glendale College Foundation
1500 N. Verdugo Road
Glendale, CA. 91208

In Loving Memory of
Ray Reyes