Stanford Communications Director Emeritus Elaine Ray received the 2024 Alexander-Green News and Documentary Award as she was inducted into the Black Legends Hall of Fame Silicon Valley on Feb. 17. (Image credit: Black Legends of Silicon Valley)

Whether at The Boston Globe, Essence Magazine, or Stanford University, Communications Director Emeritus Elaine C. Ray has remained committed to community, justice, diversity, creativity, and lifelong learning.

On Feb. 17, Ray was honored for that commitment with the Alexander-Green News and Documentary Award as she was inducted into the Black Legends Hall of Fame Silicon Valley, which honors the contributions of African Americans to Silicon Valley and beyond.

At The Boston Globe, Ray’s editorial writing affected policy changes in city and state education reform, child welfare, domestic violence, and community development. Her work took her across the world, including to Haiti during a coup, as well as to South Africa when Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as president.

Ray said working at Essence in New York felt “glamorous,” particularly when she was a travel editor with assignments in places like Brazil, Nairobi, Scandinavia, Scotland, and Trinidad.

In 1995, she came to Stanford as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow – an experience she describes as “life-changing.” She joined the Stanford News Service as a writer before becoming editor of the Stanford Report, director of the News Service, and director of campus communications. Ray’s career at Stanford spanned more than 20 years, and in 2004, she received the Amy J. Blue Award. After serving as communications director for the Office of Student Affairs, Ray retired to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing at the University of Iowa’s renowned Writers’ Workshop.

“I tried to bring excellence and learning to every job that I had, and every job was different,” Ray said. “I approach life with an open heart and an open mind, as if there is an adventure around every corner. When I find myself at a crossroads, I aim to choose the path of ethics and integrity.”

Ray was also honored for her community service. She serves as vice president of the board at the Pear Theatre in Mountain View, which amplifies diverse voices in the performing arts. Ray also previously served as a board member and president of the Foundation for a College Education, an East Palo Alto organization focused on increasing college access and success. In 2005, Ray co-founded the Parent Network for Students of Color, an advocacy group for students in the Palo Alto Unified School District that has since become Parent Advocates for Student Success. In 1998, Ray was also a founding board member of the Girls’ Middle School, which supports high-achieving girls from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Ray accepted the award on behalf of her father, Ebenezer Ray, a journalist for Harlem’s New York Age and the Pittsburgh Courier, “whose commitment to truth-telling is in my blood,” she said.

In a time when journalists are disparaged, attacked, and killed for their work, “our democracy requires a free press to ensure that our political leaders and public institutions act in our interests and to make sure our tax dollars are used to support, protect, and uplift all of us and particularly those most in need,” Ray said.

Further, “communities of color deserve to be covered in a more full and nuanced way,” Ray said. “Our achievements and the issues we face should all be part of the story that’s told.”