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VOL. 128 | NO. 90 | Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Rhodes Honors Gray for Outstanding Research

By Kate Simone

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Dr. Patrick Gray, an associate professor in Rhodes College’s department of religious studies, has received the college’s Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Research. Gray’s research centers on biblical studies, specifically the history and literature of early Christianity and the Greco-Roman context.


Education and work experience: I graduated from Oglethorpe University and worked in Japan before starting graduate school at Emory University. After receiving my Ph.D. from Emory, I moved to Memphis, where I’ve taught at Rhodes College since 2002.

Family: My wife, Alex, and I have three children: Lily, 12; Joe, 10; and Dominic, 4.

Favorite quote: “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” – Lou Gehrig

Favorite movie: “The Blues Brothers”

The sports team(s) you root for: Atlanta Braves

What’s playing on your stereo right now? “Memories of You” by The Modern Jazz Quartet

Activities you enjoy outside of work: Playing basketball, eating sushi

What talent do you wish you had? I wish I could play the piano.

Who has had the greatest influence on you? As I get older, I realize more and more how much my parents have influenced me, and I wish I’d let them influence me even more than they have. They set a good example by working hard their entire lives, they taught me the importance of frugality, and they instilled a love of books and learning.

How did you become interested in your current research agenda? My most recent book, “Opening Paul’s Letters: A Reader’s Guide to Genre and Interpretation,” looks at the conventions of letter writing in ancient Greece and Rome and how this helps us understand the New Testament. The constant flux of communications technologies was one of the impulses for this research. Email, text messages and Facebook pokes are not simply letters in electronic form. They have different forms and serve varying purposes. Misunderstanding the medium often leads to misunderstanding the message.

Where would you like to focus future research? My next book is on the arguments people have had about Saint Paul over the last 19 centuries.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? My greatest accomplishment is getting my black belt when I was in junior high school.

What do you most enjoy about your work? Rhodes College attracts lots of amazing students. Not only are they smart, but they are enthusiastic about reading authors like Plato and Aristotle, and the Bible as well. Few things are as gratifying as spending my days talking about important ideas with students who have a desire to learn.

If you could give one piece of advice to young people, what would it be? You can’t have it all, at least not all at the same time. Life is a series of trade-offs.


Dr. Thomas Bryant, associate professor in the Rhodes College department of music, has received the school’s Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching. The award is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated teaching excellence over the past three years, based on assessments from students and colleagues, use of creative teaching, and the ability to motivate students to continue learning. Bryant joined Rhodes in 1987.


Scot Lenoir has been appointed to the board of the Shelby County Healthcare Corp., the organization that governs and operates The Regional Medical Center at Memphis. Lenoir is chairman of Evolve Bank & Trust.

Luke Yancy IV has been promoted to senior vice president of the commercial banking group at Iberiabank. Yancy joined Iberiabank in 2011 as a vice president and relationship manager in commercial banking.

Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis has named its 2013 Legends Awards honorees: Dr. Rosie Phillips Bingham, Kathy Buckman Gibson, Carolyn Chism Hardy, Hazel G. Moore, Dr. Barbara U. Prescott and Rachel Shankman.


Cong “Connie” Ding has joined Stites & Harbison PLLC, working with clients in Memphis and Nashville. Ding counsels foreign and domestic clients on patent prosecution in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and life sciences.

Anne Richards has joined Trustmark Bank as regional manager for mortgage production for West Tennessee and North Mississippi. Richards has more than 40 years’ experience in the mortgage industry and will be responsible for expanding Trustmark’s mortgage division brand in the local market.


Mike Glover has joined the Memphis office of Pickering Firm Inc. as a plumbing technician. Glover brings 30 years’ experience to the firm.

Penny Jones has joined European Wax Center’s new Cordova location as manager. Jones previously managed the company’s East Memphis location. Amanda Floyd has joined as manager of the East Memphis center. Floyd previously held a management position at Dillard’s.

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173