March 11, 2001 11:00 pm

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

A European emperor once said, A leader is a dealer in hope.

Two La Grande leaders who know a lot about instilling hope have been recognized by Eastern Oregon University.

Peggy Anderson and Annie Ray each has received Easterns 2001 Women of Courage and Vision award.

Anderson is EOUs athletic director and Ray is a social activist. Anderson and Ray were selected by the EOU Presidents Commission on the Status of Women.

Anderson, who has won many national awards, said the Women of Courage and Vision honor may be her most meaningful award.

Personally, this has more importance than the national recognition because it recognizes my role in providing opportunities in sports and recreation for all women, Anderson said. ...Im proud of the award because it addresses what we have done on campus.

Anderson twice has been named womens administrator of the year by the NAIAs Athletic Directors Association; in 1999 she was named small college athletic director of the year by the National Association of Athletic Administrators; and last year she was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame.

Eastern softball player JoElle Kaatz was among those who praised Anderson at an awards ceremony last week.

She (Anderson) is always willing to help anyone. She is remarkable, Kaatz said.

Tonia Burk, a member of EOUs softball and basketball teams, said, She is at almost every game, rain or shine, wherever we are. She is always coming over to give us encouragement, Burk said. What I will most remember about her is the way she helps all athletes.

Anderson has been Easterns athletic director since 1986.

Ray, former director of Shelter from the Storm, has been a social activist in La Grande for more than a decade. Her Women of Courage and Vision award salutes things such as the important role she has played in the success of Shelter From the Storm. The program provides victims of domestic violence and sexual assault with protection and support.

Ray spoke in humble tones about her honor.

I am here on the shoulders of the women who came before me, she said. Ray said this includes Pat Duffey, who played an important role in the development of Shelter From the Storm while chairperson of its board. Duffey is a retired EOU science professor who is still a member of the Shelter From the Storm Board.

Ray said Duffey and others should never be overlooked.

Look around and you will find our inspiration, Ray said.

Ray traces her interest in helping people to the fact that she grew up in Alabama during the 1950s and early 1960s during the civil rights movement. In Alabama, she witnessed racial discrimination and the courage shown by the African Americans who combatted it.

I developed a sense of the need for social justice, Ray said. My lifelong goal is to work toward this.

April Curtis, an associate professor of theater and speech at Eastern, said that Ray has a remarkable ability to heal.

Annie Ray is a healer, a healer of shattered lives, of broken hearts, of children ..., Curtis said.

Ray is the coordinator of Oregon Rural Action, a grassroots organization in Eastern Oregon promoting: social justice, agriculture and economic stability and stewardship of land, air and water.