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The one and only: Jo-Anne Ray recognized for 25 years of service to SFU publishing program

November 16, 2020

By Tessa Perkins Deneault

Jo-Anne Ray joined SFU’s publishing program in 1995 as its first staff member. Twenty-five years later, she remains the program’s sole staff person. A one-woman powerhouse who manages the program’s administration, budget and student advising, Ray’s greatest asset may be her intimate knowledge and memory of the program right from its inception. 

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows Ray that she received a 2019 SFU Staff Achievement Award for Lifetime Achievement recognizing her dedication to SFU and the publishing program. 

“It’s really nice and validating to be thought of by colleagues for such an honour,” she says.

After graduating from SFU in 1988 with a BA in history, Ray returned as a staff member in 1989, working first in Continuing Studies until she was hired by Rowland Lorimer as a program assistant for the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing (CCSP—now the Canadian Institute for Studies in Publishing). 

Her role has evolved alongside the publishing program. Initially, she split her time between Canadian Studies and the CCSP until the Master of Publishing was established. As the program grew, and a minor in publishing was added, so did Ray’s responsibilities grow. And when she needed to spend more time at home with her son, she was able to adjust her role to half time. 

“It’s a small, dynamic program, and a supportive work environment. I feel very supported and valued.” 

Along with all her responsibilities in the publishing program, Ray is well-known by APSA staff members as the chair of its salary and benefits committee since 2014. She has been volunteering with APSA off and on since 1995, first as an Area Representative for Harbour Centre. She later became more involved with bargaining and negotiations. She says it’s important to stay informed and give back to the community.  

“SFU has been, next to getting married and having a kid, a formative part of my adult life. I never regretted staying at SFU.” 

Ray says she has no immediate plans for retirement. When that day does come, though, the publishing program will have big shoes to fill.