Finding love at CSUB: Gary and Lakesha Ray

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As Valentine's Day approaches, we're sharing the stories of CSUB alumni who met and fell in love on campus. Today we tell the story of Gary and Lakesha Ray of Bakersfield.

Do you have a story to share? Email cbedell1@csub.edu and if you do share, be entered into a drawing for a date night on us at the Alumni Association.

Lakesha and Gary Ray hung out with the same large group of friends when they started at CSUB in 1995, but It was a near-miss with a frisbee that really brought them together.

Lakesha, a West High grad, and Gary, a Stockdale High alum, were with friends outside the Student Union when a frisbee being thrown around by fraternity members came right at Lakesha’s head.

“He caught it,” Lakesha remembered. “And that’s the first real memory I have of Gary being in my same group.”

It was such a good memory that Lakesha started thinking about how to get Gary’s phone number. It eventually occurred to her that a mutual friend had it.

Lakesha called the number and Gary’s brother picked up.

“He grilled me for like 15 to 20 minutes, wondering who I was, why I was calling his brother,” she said, chuckling.

“’Well, we met on campus and I really want to talk to him,’” Lakesha told him.

Lakesha and Gary eventually connected and courted. He’d pick her up and drive her to school. They took science classes together. Between classes they hung out at Dorothy Donahoe Hall and the Student Union, where they visited the pub and played pool.

“I wasn’t quite 18 when we met. He had just turned 18. Even though we were in college, it was like this high school romance,” Lakesha said.

They’d spend so much time on the phone together that Gary would end up falling asleep, Lakesha maintains.

“She always jokes now that when we first started talking, I’d fall asleep and then call her back saying I wasn’t asleep,” Gary said.

He clearly was sleeping, Lakesha says now.

“I’d call your name four or five times and you wouldn’t answer!” she shot back, laughing.

Whatever the case, the two have been together ever since.

They walked at commencement together in 2000 (she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, he a bachelor’s degree in chemistry) and got married the previous year. Lakesha went on to earn a master’s degree in educational counseling in 2003 and a PhD in counseling in 2013. Gary earned a master’s degree in public administration in 2007.

The Rays have two kids, a 14-year-old daughter, Kaleigh, and 10-year-old son, Isaiah.  Lakesha is a school counselor at Stonecreek Junior High and adjunct professor at CSUB. Gary works for the Kern County Public Works Department doing groundwater and air monitoring at local landfills.

They periodically bring their kids to campus, whether for educational events or basketball games.

“They like coming here,” Lakesha said. “They like hearing about their father and I.”