Hayden_Ray AwardCharacter Counts! and The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center helped us honor recipients of the Ray Exemplar Award, the organization’s most prestigious award. It is given to one individual each year for his/her good character and positive representation of Iowa values. Four Hawkeyes have been award recipients and although they have already been formally recognized, including Hayden Fry, who was the 2007 recipient, we had the great opportunity to display their commemorative plaques at FRYfest.

The four plaques were on display inside the tradeshow before being moved to their permanent display locations.

About the Organization

Formerly named Character Counts in Iowa, The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University is dedicated to improving civility and developing ethical leaders throughout the world. Built on the cornerstone of the Six Pillars of Character Counts!, The Ray Center helps create strong, vibrant communities that value positive, healthy relationships and respectful behavior. Through public awareness and research-based programming, The Ray Center provides character and leadership development strategies from Character Counts! and Excellence with Integrity.

About the Award

The Pillar of Character Award was presented to Governor Ray in 2003 for his visionary leadership and inspiration to meet The Ray Center’s mission and acknowledge the exemplary character he has demonstrated. The Award was then named in his honor as the founder and birch chairman of The Ray Center.

The Ray Exemplar Award is presented to individuals who consistently demonstrate good character as a visible role model. The Award is presented each year at An All-Star Evening. Visit the Ray Center’s website for more information on the program.


2016 Casey Blake
2015 Sandy Hatfield Clubb
2014 Dan Gable
2013 Fred Hoiberg
2012 Aaron Kampman
2011 Ed Thomas (posthumously)
2010 Dallas Clark
2009 Shawn Johnson
2008 Dr. Tom Davis
2007 Hayden Fry
2001 Norman Borlaug