Mrs. Julia Elizabeth “Beth” Rey (far right) and
her children, Makenzie Rey and George Rey, V, announce the creation of the George
Henry Rey, IV, Teaching is Advising Memorial Scholarship.
On Jan. 11, Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) was joined by Mrs. Julia Elizabeth “Beth" Rey, Makenzie Rey, George Rey, V, and their loved ones to announce the creation of the George Henry Rey, IV, Teaching is Advising Memorial Scholarship. The event was held in the Student Services building on the College's Gloucester campus, where George spent the past two decades of his 34-year-long career dedicated to supporting student success.
“This was George's home. We're sitting here in his house," remarked RCSJ president, Frederick Keating, as he welcomed attendees. “On behalf of our student body, I would like to say thank you to the Rey family. Thank you for loaning George to us for all those years to guide and assist the many students who have walked these halls."
When George Henry Rey, IV, passed away on January 31, 2023, the Rey household lost a dedicated husband, cherished friend, and loving father. His loss continued to reverberate throughout his second home at RCSJ, where he had worked to provide advising support to countless students. George made it his personal mission to guide students in making well-informed academic choices that aligned with their individual career goals and personal values.
“He valued the importance of an affordable college education and always advocated on behalf of his students. He was a voice of reason for every student who sought his guidance," remembered RCSJ director of academic advisement and retention, Shawn Rutter, who worked alongside George for ten years. “When it comes to our wonderful team of advisors here, George was a mentor to many and a friend to us all. He motivated us as a team and inspired us to continue to hone the art of advising."
A brief glance at comments left by former students on his Legacy.com profile demonstrates the breath of George's impact:
“. . . He was by far the best advisor I had ever had the pleasure of meeting . . . we had talked for hours about the importance of education. He was deeply passionate to help those in the pursuit of higher learning. He left with me words of wisdom that I still think about. . ." (Sean Troy)
“. . . I have the best memories having him as my advisor, he helped me find what I truly want to do in life. I thank him for all the patience and advice he's given me. . ." (Christiana KutuAkoi)
“. . .George played a vital role in where I am in my academic success today. I´m glad I got to share some of my art with him. . ." (Sarah Emmi)
Through the George Henry Rey, IV, Teaching is Advising Memorial Scholarship, George's mission continues far into the future. One, $500 transfer scholarship will be made available annually to a full-time, RCSJ–Gloucester student planning to transfer into any of Rowan University's School of Education programs upon earning their associate degree. To apply, students must have a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher and submit an essay describing how they plan to use their education to make an impact of their own.
As Beth Rey stood at the podium to address an audience full of family and friends, she shared how she met George some thirty years ago through her first job at Salem County College. Rey, who has worked for Rowan University for the past 17 years, described how a relationship between two respected colleagues with a shared passion for higher education blossomed into a lifelong partnership.
“He's my husband, he's my best friend, and the father of my children, but he was also a colleague before that. We definitely had a special bond," said Rey. “In our household – although we had much to talk about besides work – there was more than one heated debate over transfer policies, [course] articulations, whose campus was better . . ."
Following her husband's death, Rey described an outpouring of love from RCSJ and Rowan University. Both institutions independently took up a collection of funds for the Rey family, which was delivered along with heartfelt condolences. As things began to settle down, Rey and her children decided to take those funds, add money of their own, and endow a scholarship that would allow George to continue his mission of helping students for years to come.
“This place was his heart . . . He was so excited to come to campus and see each one of you and, especially, his students," reflected Rey. “When we started to think about the best way to honor George's legacy, creating a scholarship just made sense . . . To further keep his legacy going we wanted to endow that scholarship, so we added to it; but this scholarship is not just from my family – it's from all of you. So, thank you for your contributions because you helped to make this happen today."
To learn more about the George Henry Rey, IV, Teaching is Advising Memorial Scholarship and other scholarship opportunities enabled by generous donors, visit RCSJ.edu/Scholarships.