Unaware of what college had in store for him, Tom Grey (’88) walked into his first test as a Gonzaga freshman feeling uneasy and nervous. Calculus was not his strong suit. After receiving a less-than-mediocre grade on the test, he sought out classmate Steve Mings (’88), thinking Steve could have potentially earned a similar grade. Tom approached Steve at his dorm to talk about the test and upon entering the room he saw the test pinned to the bulletin board with a giant “A” circled on the front. Tom thought to himself, “Well, okay, I’m going to hang out and study with Steve!”
Tom and Steve’s friendship was nearly cut short. Freshman year, Steve received an academic scholarship that, unbeknownst to him, did not extend all four years. Unable to afford college without it, he took his concern to Gonzaga’s financial aid department. He was awarded the Jack D. Miklos Memorial Scholarship, which allowed his college experience and his friendship with Tom to continue. Tom and Steve’s one-year relationship quickly turned into four.
As roommates they learned a lot about each other and appreciated the selflessness of their relationship.
“Tom was a great roommate”, Steve said. “He’s just really considerate. As you go through life, you get to different levels of friendship with people and sometimes you get somebody that you trust – I’d give my life for the guy and I feel like he’s the same way.”
“I would say that my experience at Gonzaga was a great, amazing experience,” Tom said. “I really enjoyed Gonzaga and value the education I got there; but also, I made a lot of really amazing friends – Steve being one of them.” GU has been their common experience and is a memory they will always share.
“It’s where we grew up,” Steve said, “you’re a kid when you go there – at least I felt like I was at 18 – and an adult when you leave”.
Thirty years after that first calculus test, Steve lives in Boise, Idaho and Tom lives in San Francisco, Calif. They still make a priority to see each other a couple times each year – including making trips to support the Zags at the WCC tournament in Las Vegas.
Tom remembers, “Steve always says this: we value our friendships because friends are hard to come by. It takes work to continue friendships, but if you value it, you’ll get a lot out of it. If you value it, it’s something you’ll enjoy through your entire life.”
Gonzaga not only gave Tom and Steve an education, but it also gave them a home – a home where they grew as individuals and as friends. A place they will always share together as best friends.
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