Esther D. Bray


Distinguished Alumni Service Award (1994)
B.S., 1925; M.A., 1927


Esther Debra Bray championed the importance of education in the attainment of political freedom and economic advancement; as a beloved teacher, education policy maker, public servant, and civic leader. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana University, she began her career as a high school teacher. As a faculty member of the IU School of Business (and for a time its only woman member), she became widely recognized as an authority in secretarial science and practice and as an advocate for creating more significant roles for women, particularly in business.

Appointed to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in 1971, she was a charter member and served for many years as its secretary, devoting herself to the development of all of Indiana's colleges and universities. As a commission member, she used the keen insight gained from her 44 years as a teacher, her broad participation in community and state activities, and her experience as the wife of an Indiana Congressman. Her leadership of the Indiana Girls State and the Girls Nation spanned more than two decades and was a major contribution to the lives of thousands of young women. Esther Bray's professional, public, and private life all combine to reflect a consistent picture of intelligence, service, and dignity of character.