2021 Presidential Distinguished Leadership Award
May 8, 2021
Ray Cole is President and Chief Operating Officer of Citadel Communications Company. He is a native of Kingsley where his Midwest values and work ethic were shaped at an early age while working in his father’s grocery store.
Ray went on to attend Briar Cliff where he graduated with honors. While at Briar Cliff, Ray completed an internship with KCAU-TV. This opportunity propelled him into a career in broadcasting totaling more than 40 years. In his role for Citadel, Ray was responsible for the oversight of ABC affiliates in Lincoln (NE), Providence (RI), Des Moines (IA), Rock Island (IL), and Sioux City (IA). Currently, he oversees the station in Sarasota (FL).
Ray continues to entertain, inspire, and inform audiences across the country with his experiences over the course of a Hall of Fame broadcasting career spanning five decades. His themes of character, leadership, teamwork, and citizenship are punctuated by personal anecdotes involving celebrities from television, sports, entertainment, and politics.
He has received the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award, inducted into the Iowa Broadcasters Association in 2015, named Broadcaster of the year from the Iowa Broadcasters Association in 2008, and Distinguished Alumnus of the Year from Briar Cliff University in 2006.
Ray’s love for Briar Cliff continues today through his support of scholarships for students. He also has many family connections to Briar Cliff, including Sr. Jeannette Homan and Sr. Edward Pottebaum. As a 1977 graduate, Ray also served Briar Cliff as a Board of Trustee from 2003-2004.
He continues to support his communities and those in need. His charitable work includes serving the V Foundation, Coaches Against Cancer Movement, the Variety-Children’s Charity Telethon, All-Star Evening for Character Counts, Blank Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees, and much more.
It is our pleasure to present the 2021 Presidential Distinguished Leadership Award to Ray Cole.