Doctoral learner, GCE board member wins award

Chevy Humphrey, a member of the Board of Directors for Grand Canyon Education and a doctoral learner at Grand Canyon University, was named one of this year's ATHENA Awards recipients.

By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

Chevy Humphrey’s mother told her from a young age that, as a woman of color in the professional world, she would need to perform at 200% efficiency.

Humphrey has done just that as President and CEO of the Arizona Science Center, the new CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, and a member of the Board of Directors of Grand Canyon Education. She also is completing her dissertation for a Doctor of Business Administration degree from Grand Canyon University.

Now she can add a new "200%" milestone: She's the 2020 Public Sector winner in the Greater Phoenix Chamber's ATHENA Awards, which recognize extraordinary businesswomen who demonstrate leadership, dedication to their communities, and support and mentorship of other women..

Finalists for the awards were named in August. Humphrey was joined among by the finalists by Peggy Chase, a member of the GCU Board of Trustees. Dr. Breanna Naegeli, Associate Dean of the Honors College, was a nominee.

Humphrey is the President and CEO of the Arizona Science Center.

The awards ceremony, shown via Zoom because of the pandemic, highlighted the achievements of the 11 finalists in each of the three categories. Each winner then spoke to the virtual gathering after being presented the award.

“I’m so blessed and fortunate to be among an extraordinary group of women who are past and current nominees and recipients,” Humphrey said in her speech. “It is humbling to be a part of a fearless fellowship of strong women leaders who are ATHENAs.”

Humphrey thanked the people who helped mold her -- her parents, aunts, daughter and stepchildren. 

But she especially remembered what her mother told her when she was a child:

“When someone helps you, you need to give that back 10-fold.”

Her parents had instilled in her the importance of education and striving for knowledge for not just herself, but for others as well.

“When I was younger, my parents bused me to school outside my neighborhood so that I could have a better education,” she said. “I felt bad for the other kinds in my neighborhood, that I would have this access to learning and they wouldn’t.

“I was aware that there was a need in a neighborhood, in my neighborhood, and I had a higher purpose. ... I would hold after school sessions in my garage for all my friends in the neighborhood so that I could teach them what the wealthy schools taught me.”

It was a labor of love that later translated into a career helping shape young minds through education.

“I’ve dedicated my career in this same pursuit,” Humphrey said. “This simple idea of creating an equal playing field in science learning is what my ongoing quest and passion is today. … Taking what we do at the (Arizona Science Center) outside the walls to every county in the state through our many programs and schools is what really matters.”

She concluded her speech by thanking the City of Phoenix for giving her the opportunity to even be considered for the award, describing her win as a “gift.”

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected]


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