Dr. Christophe and Pensal McCray

Dr. and Mrs. McCray have devoted over 25 years to helping minority youth pursue higher education while also raising their own children to be successful and responsible adults. They instilled solid values of respect, love, integrity and service in their five children and never accepted excuses for poor performance. Dr. McCray tells the story of how he “gently” corrected one of his daughters who was not working up to her ability in a high school class. He explained to her that he would be happy to come to school daily to help her and, by the way, would be wearing his colorful “clown” pants to school.  Needless to say, she made sure she didn’t need dad’s help to succeed. Today, that young lady is a college professor who has earned a doctorate.  Two of her sisters are medical doctors and one of her brothers has a Ph.D. A younger brother is involved in teaching and coaching.

Mrs. McCray, with her husband’s support, founded the Ethnic College Counseling Center over twenty years ago. They decided that the information they learned while helping their own children prepare for college would also be helpful to others. The ECCC has helped over 500 youth find scholarships, summer college programs and four year universities. Mrs. McCray has a cadre of volunteers who provide bi-weekly workshops, tutoring and mentoring for ECCC students. Every two years, she takes a group of students on a tour of historically Black colleges and universities, often tracing the path of the Underground Railroad.  

Both Dr. and Mrs. McCray are devout in their faith and set the highest example by their behavior. They are members of Park Hill United Methodist Church. Both Dr. and Mrs. McCray keep God as the center of their family life and demonstrate their commitment to the values and standards of their faith. Mrs. McCray exhibits a quiet strength that commands respect from all who know her. She is quick to remind both students and parents of the standards and expectations she has for all students.  Her ECCC students are expected to dress for success, present themselves respectfully and challenge themselves to reach for academic, social and moral excellence.  

Dr. and Mrs. McCray are extraordinary parents because they have set an example of steadfast, consistent parenting and raised five exemplary children. Anyone who has had the benefit of the McCray’s wise counsel knows their ability to motivate and guide others to success.  Several students who completed the ECCC program ten years ago have come back, after college, to volunteer with the program.  Dr. and Mrs. McCray have continued their parenting, grandparenting and community service despite significant health challenges. Mrs. McCray suffered severe heart problems on one of the ECCC college tours. Despite pleas from friends, family and others to “slow down,” she continued her leadership role with ECCC and has continued to organize and lead the tours.  Dr. McCray is facing the challenges of kidney failure and cancer, but continues to encourage and support Mrs. McCray’s work.

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