William Gray, originally from Roseboro, N.C., attended Cape Fear Community College from 2004 to 2007, where he earned associate degrees in accounting, general education and arts. Gray began studying at CFCC through a study release program while incarcerated at New Hanover Correctional Center. Gray served eight years at the facility after he was involved in a drunk driving accident. Since then, he has become an outspoken proponent for alcohol awarenes. He believes people must not let mistakes define them as individuals, and said he always strove to “rise above” his circumstances by concentrating on his education and future. Carol Cullum, CFCC Vice President of Student Development, described Gray as focused, driven, and a true “inspiration to others.” Gray, who attributes his success to God, is dedicated to motivating others. He continues to give testimonials in churches and warn young adults about the consequences of drinking and driving.
While attending Cape Fear Community College, Gray said he never felt like “just another student ID number,” explaining that individuals such as “teachers up to administrators, were all really good people.” Gray built long-lasting relationships with faculty and staff at the college, including President Eric McKeithan, who Gray considers to be a mentor. McKeithan described Gray as an outstanding student making up for lost time. “I’m extremely proud of him,” he said, “William is a classic case of someone who deserves a second chance.”
Gray now attends Campbell University on a full, presidential scholarship. He is majoring in accounting, with a minor in financial planning. Upon earning his undergraduate degree, he intends to become a certified public accountant. Gray also plans to attend graduate school at Campbell, where he will study trust and investment management.
Although New Hanover Correctional Center is in the process of re-evaluating the study release program, Cape Fear Community College works with local correctional facilities to offer educational opportunities for inmates.