Coalinga man tabbed as West Hills College Alumnus of the Year

From West Hills College
Ray Hodges, WHC Alumnus of the Year
Ray Hodges, WHC Alumnus of the Year
Photo Courtesy of West Hills College

Ray Hodges, a big supporter of education and the community, has been chosen as West Hills College Coalinga’s 2015 Alumnus of the Year.

 “We are honored to recognize Mr. Hodges with West Hills College Coalinga’s most esteemed award, the Alumnus of the Year,” said WHCC President Carole Goldsmith. “His invaluable contributions to the city of Avenal in education, business and civic engagement place him among WHCC’s most respected alumni.”

 Hodges, who graduated with a degree in education from what was then known as Coalinga College in 1956, is a former educator and taught for 36 years at Avenal Elementary School. He was also self-employed in the floral and gift retail business for 28 years, opening a floral shop in 1985.

 “Ray’s accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Hodges’ friend Bill Morris in his letter nominating him for the honor. “Just how has Ray been able to achieve so much in his life? Simple-he cares about people.”

 Hodges went on to California State University, Fresno after graduation and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in General Elementary Education in 1958 and Master’s Degree in Counseling in 1966 from the school.

 Hodges has fond memories of his time in Coalinga.

 “This is a great honor,” he said. “It was a great experience being a student. We were the last group on the old campus and I had good experiences with the professors.”

 He’s earned many accolades in the community of Avenal. He has in the past been named Citizen of the Year and Volunteer of the Year and received the Milton O. Wilen Award from the Reef-Sunset Unified School District.

 He was the 2007 Grand Marshall of the Avenal Old Timer’s celebration and has been a member of the organization’s committee. He has also been a member of the Avenal Chamber of Commerce and business association, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee for Avenal State Prison, and the M-2 Inmate Visitation Program.

 Hodges will be honored during the WHCC commencement ceremony May 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the WHCC gymnasium.

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