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Head of United Negro College Fund to deliver Redding lecture March 11

William H. Gray III
12:53 p.m., Feb. 26, 2004--William H. Gray III, former U.S. representative and current president and chief executive officer of the College Fund/United Negro College Fund, will give UD’s annual Louis L. Redding Diversity Lecture at 4 p.m., Thursday, March 11, in the Trabant University Center Theatre.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Lorenzo Redding Diversity Award also will be presented at this time. The lecture and award honor the late outstanding civil rights attorney, who was the first African American to be admitted to the Delaware bar.

Gray has served as head of the College Fund/United Negro College Fund since 1991 and, during his 13-year tenure, has raised more than half of the $1.6 billion raised during the institution’s 56-year history.

The first African American to chair the U.S. House Budget Committee, Gray was a leading advocate for strengthening America’s educational systems.

As majority whip, Gray was the highest-ranking African American ever to serve in Congress and played a key role in implementing economic sanctions against South Africa as the author of the 1985 and 1986 sanction bills. Gray also earned a reputation as a consensus builder and was chief point man in budget negotiations between Congress and the Regan administration.

Besides experience as a fundraiser and politician, Gray also has been professor of religion at St. Peter’s College, Jersey State College, Montclair State College, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Temple University.

Gray also has been pastor of the 5,000-member Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia for more than 25 years, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

Gray’s legacy of leadership can be traced to his grandfather, who was a college professor. His father, the late William H. Gray, served as president of Florida A & M and Florida Memorial College, and his mother was a college dean.

After receiving his undergraduate degree from Franklin and Marshal College, Gray earned a master’s degree in divinity from Drew Theological Seminary and a master’s in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Gray has won many honors, including the prestigious Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom of Worship Medal and recognition in the December 1999 issue of Ebony Magazine as one of the “100 Most Important Blacks in the World in the 20th Century.” Gray also is the recipient of more than 65 honorary degrees from America’s leading colleges and universities.

The event is sponsored by UD’s Commission to Promote Racial and Cultural Diversity.

For more information, call 831-2991.

Article by Jerry Rhodes

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