The William Carey University Alumni Association recently inducted four outstanding graduates into its Hall of Fame. The alumni were Tony Gray (class of ’78), Paul Sousa (class of ’62), Donna Wheeler (class of ’65), and Rear Admiral Richard C. Vinci (class of ’66).
A graduate of the Winters School of Music, Gray has spent over 28 years as a missionary to Brazil teaching and working in the areas of music, missions and church planting. Twenty-two of those years were with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and presently he is serving his sixth year with Pioneer Missions. He was strategy coordinator for Mission and Ministry Implementation throughout Brazil with the Brazilian Baptist Home Mission Board, finance chairman for the South Brazil Mission and a founding member of the Brazilian Baptist Church Music Association. Gray was also a founding member of the Espirito Santo State Baptist Church Music Association.
Sousa, who played for the Crusader basketball team and graduated with a B.A. in physical education, has been heavily involved with the public school system in the Mobile, Ala., area for years. He taught algebra and coached basketball at Clark Middle School and Montgomery High School before becoming head principal of Murphy High School in 1987. In 1992, he became superintendent of Mobile County Public Schools. In 1998, he was named Superintendent of the Year, primarily for his achievement of retiring the school’s debt of $30 million.
After Wheeler received a degree in secretarial science from WCU, she devoted herself to the college through positions in student affairs, admissions and the president’s office before becoming alumni director in 1989. She gave more than 40 years of service and the alumni building now bears her name. In 2006, she completed a pictorial history of Carey for the centennial celebration. Wheeler taught pre-schoolers for more than 25 years at her local church. She is a member of Hestians, a local women’s organization, and she served as first vice-president in 2007.
Vinci credits Carey’s science department and the late Dr. Rose West for preparing him for acceptance into Louisiana State University School of Dentistry. During his past 42 years of active duty, Vinci has served in a number of commands including Second Dental Battalion, First Dental Battalion at Naval Dental Command, Commanding Officer of Naval Dental Center, Navy Medical Inspector General and Chief of Navy Dental Corps. Currently, he is serving at the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery in Washington, D.C., as deputy.