Dr. Mary Teddy Wray, 2014 ATHENA Recipient
On March 7, powerful and influential women gathered for the Women’s Leadership Breakfast and 13th Annual ATHENA Award presentation hosted by Harford Community College’s Continuing Education & Training Division. You would have to search to find a local charitable organization or foundation that has not benefited from the work and generosity of the accomplished women honored as the ATHENA finalists. Honored as finalists are Mary Ann Bogarty, Julie Chmura, Ronnie Davis, Claudia Holman, Carolyn Kustanbauter, Patrice Ricciardi, Monica Worrell, and Dr. Mary Teddy Wray.
Excitement built through the introductions of each of the highly influential, accomplished and generous finalists. When the presentation began for this year’s Award Recipient, it was clear that the honor was well deserved. Dr. Wray truly encompasses the three tenets of the ATHENA Award. She provides valuable service to the community, demonstrates professional excellence, and promotes leadership opportunities for women in business and community.
Known as “Dr. Teddy” to her patients at Laurel Bush Family Dentistry, the 2014 Award recipient has donated countless hours and dollars helping local organizations with commitment, monetary support and sponsorship. Her support of local and regional charities is well documented over the last 18 years. Recent contributions include creating a new fundraiser last year for Harford Friends School, the Dazzle and Denim dinner dance, which raised over $23,000 for this excellent school where her son attends. (This year’s event is May 3; sponsorship and tickets are available through the school’s website.) First as a board member, and now a trustee of the Center for the Arts in Harford County, Dr. Wray contributed both time and energy to participate as a dancer in Dancing for the Arts, and was recognized as the top fundraiser for the 2010 event. Dr. Wray was honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Maryland Chapter, at the Harford County Celebration of Philanthropy on April 10. She was recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser, along with Patricia D. & M. Scot Kaufman as Outstanding Philanthropists and Saxon’s Diamond Centers as Outstanding Business Philanthropist.
Her passionate support of women and children has led her to lead committees, sponsor, mentor and participate in too many to mention, but includes FCCAU, now a Welcome One emergency shelter, Greater Excellence in Education Foundation (GEEF), SARC, where she serves on the board, and Harford Family House. Her commitment extends to donated dental services to those less fortunate, including regional Medicaid recipients. Her commitment to support health related causes started while she was a dental student. She supports Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation and the Children’s Hospital at Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Wray’s journey began when she was 17, leaving her family behind to attend Mater Dei College, a high school in Ogdensburg, N.Y., where she was determined to make the most of the opportunity. Her personal philosophy is an extension of the school’s “4 Pillars: Faith, Community, Service, Learning.” She dedicated herself to academic excellence, graduated cum laude and began her pursuit of higher education. All through college and post-graduate studies, she worked to afford tuition and living expenses, having no family financial support. Armed with a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University, she pursued and received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Georgetown University. After working at Johns Hopkins Health System in Baltimore, she opened her first solo practice in Towson in 1994 before eventually settling in Harford County, where she operates Laurel Bush Family Dentistry. Her work earned her recognition by the “Daily Record” as a Healthcare Hero finalist in 2011.
Her commitment to mentoring young women is evident at her practice. The room erupted with cheers when she was introduced, buoyed by staff, friends and her son. She has paid tuition for six female employees to aid in the advancement of their careers. She is a partner with the Harford Community College dental program and welcomes students as interns in her practice. She has served as a host for several foreign exchange students, one an AmeriCorps intern who is now pursuing a master’s degree in Oregon. Her passion for mentoring children often takes her to schools ranging from Pre-K to high school where she talks to young people about the importance of education. I95