William H. Gray, III

 William H. Gray, III is the Chairman of The Amani Group, an Advisory and Consulting firm. He recently retired from his position as president and chief executive officer of The College Fund/UNCF. He served in that capacity from September 11, l991 to June 1, 2004.

 

As head of America's oldest and most successful minority higher education assistance organization, Mr. Gray led the United Negro College Fund to new fundraising records, while cutting costs and expanding programs and services.

During Mr. Gray's 12 1/2-year tenure, he raised $2.3 of the $3 billion raised by UNCF in its 60-year history.

Among the historic initiatives launched under Mr. Gray's leadership are: the development of the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute to compile and analyze data on a host of issues affecting African American students from kindergarten through graduate school; the successful completion of a $280 million capital campaign; the successful completion of an $80 million Technology Enhancement Capital Campaign (TECC) to bolster the technology infrastructures of UNCF's member colleges and universities.

Prior to his selection as president of UNCF, Mr. Gray served in the U.S. Congress and was a staunch supporter of education. As the first African American to chair the House Budget Committee, Mr. Gray was a leading advocate for strengthening America's educational systems. As chairman of the Democratic Caucus and later as Majority Whip, Mr. Gray was the highest-ranking African American ever to serve in Congress.

Elected to the House of Representatives in 1978, Mr. Gray left his mark on Congress in many other areas. He played a key role in implementing economic sanctions against South Africa as the author of the 1985 and 1986 sanction bills. As Budget Committee Chairman for four years, Mr. Gray earned a reputation as a consensus builder and was chief point man in budget negotiations between Congress and the Reagan Administration.

Mr. Gray has also served as special advisor to the President on Haiti in May 1994. In that role, which concluded in September 1994, Mr. Gray assisted the President in developing and carrying out policy to restore democracy to Haiti. In1995, Mr. Gray received the Medal of Honor from Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The heir to a legacy of education leaders, his father, the late Dr. William H. Gray, Jr. served as president of two black colleges, Florida A&M University and Florida Memorial College. His mother was a dean of a Black college and his grandfather was a professor at a Black college, as was his sister.

Mr. Gray's own background in education is extensive. He has been a faculty member and professor of history and religion at St. Peter's College, Jersey City State College, Montclair State College, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Temple University.

Hailing from a family of ministers as well as educators, Mr. Gray has been pastor of the nearly 7,000-member Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia for more than 25 years, as were his father and grandfather before him. He has been in the ministry since 1964, when he became pastor of Union Baptist Church of Montclair, New Jersey.

Mr. Gray attended Franklin and Marshall College, where he earned a B.A. in History. He received a master's degree in Divinity from Drew Theological Seminary, and a master's degree in Church History from Princeton Theological Seminary.

He is the recipient of many awards such as the prestigious Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom of Worship Medal and was listed in the December 1999 issue of Ebony Magazine as one of the 100 "Most Important Blacks in the World in the 20th Century." He has also been awarded more than 80 honorary degrees from America's leading colleges and universities.

Mr. Gray is married to the former Andrea Dash. They have three sons, William H. Gray IV, Justin and Andrew.