Honoring Dottie Ray

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Dottie Ray 2
Dorothy “Dottie” Ray pioneered the way for women in broadcast journalism. She hosted
“The Dottie Ray Show” for over 50 years on KXIC. (The Daily Iowan)

During her time at UI, Ray (BA ’44/MA ’45) served as the editor-in-chief of The Daily Iowan, leading the first all-female staff and eventually returned to the School of Journalism and Mass Communications as an adjunct faculty member. Ray pioneered the way for women in broadcast journalism, hosting “The Dottie Ray Show” on KXIC for more than 50 years.

In addition to her groundbreaking work in journalism, Ray was also a philanthropist committed to her work with Habitat for Humanity. In honor of her extensive contributions, the Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity (IVHFH) and SJMC hosted a Dottie Ray appreciation week, called “She Built the Future.” There was a panel discussion of her achievements and a screening of a documentary that covered her life, Stay Tuned: The Dottie Ray Story.  The week ended with a Women Build, a program that focuses on houses planned and built by women, to honor Ray’s legacy.

Honoring a Legacy

This year, the IVHFH house on 2682 Pinto Lane in Iowa City will benefit a woman named Samantha and her two sons. The family is excited for the stability the home will bring them. Construction manager for IVHFH, Chris Shipley, said they started the project in mid-August. 

“We hope to finish before Christmas so their family has a place to spend the holidays,” she said.

Several UI journalism students were recruited to help volunteer throughout the week and at the construction site. Freshman Brooklyn Draisey said she felt motivated to help after learning of Ray’s achievements and her connection to SJMC. 

University of Iowa students volunteered to help with Women Build Week to continue the legacy of philanthropic work. (Amy Luong)
University of Iowa students volunteered to help with Women Build Week to continue the legacy
of philanthropic work. (Amy Luong)

“I heard about this opportunity to give back through the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communications emails,” said Draisey. “It feels good to help Samantha and her family. I hope I can give back like Dottie did for them.”

Ray’s legacy continues on as an example in the community and to a family who now has a house to call home.