Scholarship Story: A College Dream 20 Years in the Making

A College Dream 20 Years in the Making

Trading in his military uniform for a backpack and books, Kevin Gray, a retired combat veteran of the U.S. armed forces is taking on a new assignment: to pursue a higher education.

Kevin Gray has spent a lifetime battling his way through life’s unexpected obstacles in pursuit of a better future for his son. After 20 years of service in the U.S., Army, Kevin Gray made his way back home after his retirement in 2010. Not long after his return to civilian life, Kevin found himself haunted by his unrealized goal of obtaining a college education. The veteran and single father embarked on a new journey as a full time student at Auburn University, with support in part from the El Niguel Country Club Scholarship fund. Kevin credits his travels in the army for providing him with first hand experiences that have enriched his education. His culturally enriched, real-world experiences have fueled Kevin’s ambitious academic outlook, which resulted in a 3.8 GPA; however, his road to gaining a diploma has not come without challenges.

During his time as a combat soldier, Kevin was greatly influenced by the expectations that that the military required. Although he loved his job and time in the Army, Kevin–like many other soldiers–knew that his career came with a price. Because of missed birthdays, holidays, and an unsteady family life, he experienced the hardships that a military life entails. After enduring the challenges of a career in the Army for 20 years Kevin learned that approaching situations with a grateful and positive outlook had become his key to success when faced with challenges in the pursuit of a higher education. Kevin has excelled in college and took on a certificate program in Emergency Management. He plans to attend a master’s program or pursue a career in the aerospace sector.