Linda's GIA Award

November 12, 2004

GIA Gemologist Wins Outstanding Distance Education Graduate Award

Linda McMurray of Gobles, Mich., a graduate of GIA's G.G. diploma program, has been selected as the Institute's 2005 Outstanding Distance Education Graduate of the Year. McMurray, who previously owned a small Jersey dairy farm with her husband, completed the program last July with an excellent academic record after just six months of study.

Presented annually by the Distance Education Training Council (DETC), the award is given to one exceptional GIA Distance Education student who has achieved extraordinary standards of academic and personal excellence. DETC is the national organization that sets standards for and accredits GIA's Distance Education courses and programs.

When McMurray's husband, Ron, became severely ill, Linda found it necessary to seek a career in which she could work independently. She decided to return to her love of gems and jewelry, and she chose GIA's Distance Education program because of its flexibility and comprehensive curriculum.

Linda McMurray, GIA Award
Linda McMurray, G.G. has been chosen as GIA's 2005 DETC Outstanding Graduate of the Year!


Armed with her G.G. diploma, McMurray now owns a successful jewelry business, Best Cut Gems, and teaches gem faceting to clients. Now that her husband's health has improved, she also uses her education to identify and appraise heirlooms for people who cannot afford paid appraisal services. Institute officials attribute her success to her vision for a career in the industry, her determination, and to her love of gems and jewelry.

'Linda is GIA's outstanding graduate because she exemplifies the attributes that the Institute embraces, both in its students and in professionals throughout the industry," said GIA Vice President of Education Brook Ellis. 'She has a passion for gems and jewelry, a strong work ethic, and she is very considerate of others."

Being her own boss and living her passion every day is a dream come true, McMurray said. 'I am able to make an income doing what I enjoy, and I can improve my personal salary according to my ambitions. GIA's training provided me with the knowledge, skills, and contacts that have enhanced my business, and the Graduate Gemologist diploma has increased my level of self-confidence and my opportunities for income."

- featured in "The Loupe"  GIA's World News Magazine