Congratulations and fond farewell to Doretha Ray, Human Resources Generalist for ESSIE, who is retiring from the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering after an impressive 36 years and nine months. The College’s Office of Marketing and Communications caught up with her to collect a few parting thoughts.
What aspect of your work made you the most proud?
There was no one moment; working at UF was always quite an experience- challenging and fun. I always showed up and did the best I could. I wanted to make sure that everyone got paid on time, and that everyone got processed quickly. I enjoyed my job, and I never looked at it as being something personal, it was never just about me. We always worked as a team, and it was great.
What or who inspires you?
When I first came to the College of Engineering, Patricia Howard was the Director of Civil Engineering at the time. It was scary, I was applying for a position that I was not familiar with. I started my job in ESSIE, and people told me that I could do good work but it would be challenging not having any experience with those systems. I told them I was willing to learn if they were willing to teach. She had faith in me and believed in me, and I learned a lot from our conversations.
What is your favorite place on campus?
My favorite place on campus is the stadium, I like to go there for walks. My favorite time on campus is the first day of school, especially the Fall semester. I like the rush of it, the excitement. There are new kids coming in, people from all different countries, I loved getting to meet and find out a little bit about them.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I love working in my yard and picking up projects around the house. I love spending time with my family, my grandkids and kids, we like to go on trips and have dinners together. I have a son and daughter, and five grandkids. I love having them all around, they are so fun. Some of the kids don’t live near me and I look forward now to having more time to visit with them.
What are some of your plans for retirement?
I really don’t think there’s such a thing as retirement, I will be working around the house, and another house that I own that I want to renovate and catching up on projects. I think I will be even busier at home!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I wore many hats at the school – I serviced ESSIE, ISE, EBS, and the College. A big part of my day was seeing all the friends I passed in the hallways, all the smiles and hellos kept me going. I would love to deeply thank all my coworkers, faculty, and students. I feel like ‘thank you’ is not saying enough, I wish I could describe what they all mean to me. It has been amazing, I wouldn’t have changed anything. It was awesome working in the college, and that is why I stayed so long.