R. Wayne Gray Memorial Scholarship Fund to Benefit COA Graduates


The R. Wayne Gray Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established at the Outer Banks Community Foundation. R. Wayne Gray (“Mr. Gray” to his many students) was a well-known Wanchese native, poet, historian, restaurateur, and educator who passed away in August 2020; the fund has been created by Mr. Gray’s wife, Nancy, and their three children, Keil Samson, Rheana Watts, and Beach Gray. The memorial scholarship fund will assist Dare County residents who graduate from College of The Albemarle and who plan to continue their education at a four-year college or university.

Mr. Gray taught English at College of The Albemarle (COA) from 2008 to 2018. It was his third career, after first teaching at Dare County schools and then owning and operating Queen Anne’s Revenge restaurant in Wanchese. While at CoA, Gray led the International Club and the Literary Club, guiding his students to publish two collections of locally researched articles on Outer Banks history. Mr. Gray also helped several students continue their education after COA, which led to transfers and four-year degrees from Yale, Mount Holyoke, and other colleges and universities.

The first scholarships will be awarded from the fund in 2022.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer a scholarship opportunity for students who are graduates of College of The Albemarle and who want to pursue a four-year degree,” said Interim Executive Director Bob Muller. “We see this as an important step forward in assisting students who otherwise might struggle to find funding in their third and fourth years of college, and we couldn’t be more grateful to the Grays for their passion for education, forward thinking, and generosity.”

The First Annual R. Wayne Gray Memorial Scholarship Fried Shrimp Dinner will take place on Friday, August 13, from 4 to 7 pm, at Bethany United Methodist Church, 101 Old Wharf Rd, Wanchese. The drive-through dinner will feature plenty of fried shrimp and locally sourced menu items reminiscent of Queen Anne’s Revenge, including Posh Squash, red potatoes, and zucchini muffins. Proceeds from the event will benefit the new scholarship fund.

The new R. Wayne Gray Memorial Scholarship Fund is one of more than 200 funds managed by the Outer Banks Community Foundation. Anyone may contribute to any established fund by simply going to obcf.org/donate and selecting a fund from a drop-down list, or by including a fund name with a check or other type of donation. Funds can be established with as little as a $1,000 initial investment. The Community Foundation accepts a variety of assets, including gifts from IRAs, beneficiary designations, property, stock, and more. If you are interested in learning about how funds might help you honor a loved one, or create your own legacy, call the Community Foundation at 252-261-8839.

Are you interested in establishing and naming a fund to meet local needs and perpetuate a legacy of giving back to the Outer Banks? Your Community Foundation offers a variety of fund types, including scholarships, donor-advised, and field of interest, to match personal preferences in philanthropy. Find out more here, and reach out to us at 252-261-8839 if we can help you get started.