The Dominican Sisters and St. Pius X High School Foundation are deeply honored and proud to celebrate Randa and Ray Gilliam by presenting them with the 2019 Del Sarto Humanitarian Award.
Randa was born in Ruston, Louisiana, and was raised in Bellaire. Ray is a native Texan also raised in Bellaire. Randa went to Bellaire High School and was a member of the marching band, where Ray went Marion High School and was on the football and baseball teams. They first met at the Bellaire Pool, where it was love at first sight for Ray! And so began a 51 year journey that has taken Randa and Ray from Bellaire High School, to a wedding aisle in 1971, to various Air Force bases (Ray served six years), to the birth of their children (Peter, Paul ‘98 and Charlotte ‘99) and grandchildren (Peter’s children are Mary Andrew, Thomas, and William; Charlotte’s children are Jacob, Emma, and Levi), to the halls of St. Pius X High School.
Ray is a true entrepreneur. His various business ventures include being a successful Manager for a Farmers Insurance group that consisted of over thirty-three agencies and founding Prime Institutional Group, an investment banking firm specializing in collateralized mortgage obligation securities. He also has been a long-time supporter of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo serving on the Wine Committee and two Calf Scramble Committees. He and Randa often purchase several calves for the scramblers every year and several steers at the auction. At this year’s Rodeo, they purchased the champion wine at the Wine Auction.
Despite running several businesses and supporting the Houston community, Ray has served in a variety of leadership roles at SPX. He was the treasurer of the Booster Club, served six years as a School Board member and currently serves on the SPX Foundation Board of Trustees. As a member of the SPX School Board Facilities Committee, Ray was instrumental in replacing the windows in the Hudson Gym, upgrading the lights in the Herzstein Gym, replacing the window air conditioning units in the classrooms with a quiet, efficient mini-split air conditioning system, equipping the classrooms with energy efficient windows, upgrading the baseball score board, and revamping the weight room and supplying state-of-the-art equipment for the SPX athletes.
There is a saying that “behind every great man is a great woman”. Randa has been a source of quiet strength and inspiration for her family -- her input and support have been invaluable contributions to the many successes of Ray and her children. Randa also has been a big supporter of SPX – she was often seen working in the football, baseball and volleyball concession stands, feeding the football team before the Friday night lights were turned on, and cheering on Charlotte and Paul when they took the volleyball court, football field or baseball diamond.
One of Ray and Randa’s special gifts to St. Pius X High School is the Paul A. Gilliam ’98 Learning Center. Their son Paul benefitted from the nurturing component of the challenging curriculum at SPX that became the Learning for Success Program. Prior to his passing in 2010 at the young age of 30, Paul started his own energy audit business after graduating from college and married his high school sweetheart, Crissy Zarzana. The Learning Center is a lasting legacy to Randa and Ray’s love for Paul and SPX that will benefit students at the corner of Shepherd and West Donovan for many years.
Randa and Ray are devout Catholics who, as evidenced in their support of St. Pius X, believe in the importance of Catholic education. Their generous support of the SPX financial aid program has enabled many students to receive the benefits of a Catholic education at SPX. They also are grooming future Panthers, as several of their grandchildren attend St. Rose of Lima Elementary School!
The St. Pius X Foundation, the Dominican Sisters and the entire SPX community are humbled, honored and blessed to be the recipients of Randa and Ray’s generosity and compassion. Thank you, Randa and Ray, for all you have done and continue to do for St. Pius X High School!