Photo caption: Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Barbara K. Barnes presents William H. Gray, III with the President’s Award for serving as the speaker for FAMU’s 120th Founders’ Day Convocation.
Tallahassee, FL. – Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumni, faculty, staff, alumni and the community celebrated FAMU’s Founders’ Day Convocation. This year’s celebration commemorate FAMU’s 120th anniversary.
Convocation speaker William H. Gray, III, who is the son of former President William H. Gray, Jr., the fifth president of FAMU, said he was honored and delighted to be at FAMU. He spoke about the importance of celebrating FAMU’s former presidents.
“I am happy to be here as we paused to remember FAMU’s 120th anniversary,” said Gray. “Today, you need to look back at the true meaning of this institution. You are heirs of a legacy. You stand on the shoulders of those who wanted to achieve and did achieve. You came to FAMU as you are and FAMU can help you to become who you what to be.”
The audience applauded as Gray gave advice on how the FAMU family should continue to reflect on the past and how each person must keep looking forward. Political science major Vincent Evans said he felt that Founders’ Day was truly great.
“It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces return back to FAMU to celebrate the history of FAMU,” said Evans. “FAMU is truly returning back to the hallmark of excellence and caring.”
In closing, Gray encouraged FAMU students to remember to always give back to FAMU.
“No matter where you end up in life always remember you have an obligation to give back to FAMU,” said Gray. “Today, you have the opportunity to rise to the occasion. Always remember to reach back and help someone else.”
Gray is the founder and chairman of the Amani Group, a business advisory firm. Prior to founding the firm, Gray was the president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the nation’s largest and oldest minority education assistance organization.
Before joining UNCF, he represented the Second District of Pennsylvania as a Congressman from 1979 to 1991. During his tenure, he was secretary and vice-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was also the first African American to serve as Majority Whip of the House of Representatives, chair of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, and chair of the Democratic Caucus. After leaving Congress, he served as the special advisor to the President and to the Secretary of State on Haiti during the Clinton Administration.
Gray has served as an active Baptist minister of churches in Montclair, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He recently retired after 35 years as pastor of the Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College. He earned a master’s degree in divinity from Drew Theological Seminary and a master’s degree in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.
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