Janice L. Gray has successfully navigated through many challenges in her life and has never forgotten her alma mater East Central University in the process.
From working her way through ECU while raising three children to managing a firm of certified public accountants, Gray exemplifies caring and determination.
Because of her drive toward excellence, Gray will be honored with ECU’s Distinguished Alumni Award on May, 11, at an Evening of Honors of Recognition. She will also address graduates at one of ECU’s two commencement ceremonies on May 12.
“Receiving the East Central University 2018 Distinguished Alumni is one of the highlights of my career,” said Gray. “I feel very humbled to join the ranks of past honorees who have made contributions in their various professions and stations in life, many who have been colleagues and fellow classmates of mine and some who I continue to call friends today.”
ECU President Katricia G. Pierson refers to Gray’s story as an inspiration.
“Janice’s rise to overcome many obstacles should be an inspiration to anyone,” said Pierson. “Her drive to be successful on a professional level, while leading and maintaining a healthy personal and family life, is a fantastic example of perseverance. Additionally, she has never forgotten ECU, which helped in building her solid foundation.”
Gray’s journey began at ECU as she worked toward a degree while being employed at the Horne & Co. (CPA firm) in Ada. At the same time, she parented her three children. She ultimately married her husband Rodney Gray in 1978. They established a home in Norman so Rodney could pursue a career in public accounting and attend law school.
Janice, with her children in tow, made daily trips to Ada where she served as chief financial officer of Prepaid Legal, Inc., until she and Rodney established their own CPA firm in Norman.
She has been elected to be chair of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Gray is only the fifth woman to be chair in its 100-year existence. The NASBA is an $80 million cash flow not-for-profit entity through which all candidates for the CPA must take applications.
As chair, she will represent NASBA and the 55 jurisdictions of accounting (states and territories) before the accounting regulatory authorities of all civilized nations, including Eastern Europe and Asia.
In the past, Gray has been appointed to various senior committees for both the NASB and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and, at times, have served both simultaneously.
“The significance of simultaneous service is that not many people can accomplish such service jointly as being a regulator (NASBA) and a committee member of senior committees of the AICPA,” said Dr. Carlos E. Johnson, former head of the ECU School of Business and retired partner of KPMG LLP, an international certified public accountant firm. “It’s not an easy task. Janice has accomplished the task in an exemplary manner, being recognized by both organizations.”
Johnson nominated Gray for the ECU Distinguished Alumni Award.
Gray’s firm – Gray, Blodgett & Company, PLLC - has offered employment opportunities to graduates of ECU’s Department of Accounting. Additionally, she has served as mentor to students and faculty and has made substantial contributions through the ECU Foundation, Inc., to provide scholarships to students and various other university programs.
“It is an honor to be recognized with this award from the university that provided me a solid education and foundation,” Gray said. “This education enabled me to work and contribute to a profession which has provided me with many opportunities and allowed me to obtain success that I might not otherwise have attained.”
NOTE: Tickets and sponsorships are still available for ECU’s Evening of Honors and Recognition. For more information or to register, contact Kacy Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 580-559-5587 or go online at alumni.ecok.edu/event/EOH2018.