A Gathering to Honor and Celebrate the Life of Paul E. Gray


[MUSIC PLAYING] Good afternoon. I’m Rafael Reif, MIT’s
president number 17. To all of Paul’s friends and
colleagues, to the Gray family and to our beloved
Priscilla, it’s an honor to open the celebration
of Paul’s remarkable life. All of us are gathered
here because of Paul. But in a larger sense,
I must point out, that I’m here at
MIT because of him. That may be true for
many of you, too. For me, it’s because
in the 1980s, MIT was in a fierce
competition with other top academic
institutions for leadership in electrical engineering. As president, Paul
understood that MIT urgently needed to create
what we ended up calling MTL, the Microsystems
Technology Laboratories. Launching MTL had important
effect of keeping MIT at the forefront of the field. And incidentally, it kept
me here on the faculty. So I’m a direct beneficiary
of Paul’s clear vision, an exceptional ability
to get things done. As you can see from your
programs, our speakers today and the program itself
explore many dimensions of Paul’s life story. So I will not attempt
to capture it myself. Instead, I will reflect
on a few lessons he taught us all through the
eloquence of his example. We all know that Paul held
just about every job at MIT, including, finally, the
chairman of the corporation. After that, he went
back to the job he loved the most, teaching. Naturally, he returned
to his home discipline, electrical engineering. At the time the
associate department head for electrical engineering was
some microelectronics professor from Venezuela
named Rafael Reif. Paul would always
come to my office at the start of the semester,
this MIT legend, president and then chairman. And he would ask me what
I wanted him to teach. I would always say, Paul,
what would you like to teach? And he would always choose
6002, circuits and electronics. That’s the first
academic subject in electrical engineering. Paul used to say that it
was like learning to play the scales for musicians. It’s the foundation of
everything, he would say. But looking back now, I realize
what I should have said. I should have asked
Paul to teach me how he managed to live his life
with such remarkable integrity. Of course, Paul was
profoundly honest. He lived by the highest
ethical and moral standards. But integrity, I mean,
went beyond that. Paul was, as a person,
integrated, unified, of a piece, like an
integrated circuit. There was a moral unity
to his whole life, a unity of purpose and values. He knew who he was
down to the core. That gave him deep personal
confidence in every situation. And he gave everyone
else perfect confidence that he would always
do the right thing. And he always did. Over time, I had the
opportunity to ask Paul for all kinds of advice. To be a new provost
or president here, facing your first big crisis,
and to have his counsel, it was a gift. All of us who came
after him in those jobs felt incredibly
fortunate to know him. And there may never have been a
better manager of a university than Paul Gray. His memory on every issue and
his knowledge of the budget were humbling. I must tell you, though,
that the best advice he ever gave me about how to
handle being president was, don’t eat dessert. [LAUGHING] I believe the most
important thing Paul taught by his
example was how to succeed at creating change. At a place like MIT, with
such a legacy of excellence, persuading people that
things need to change it’s a non-trivial exercise. But Paul understood
this community so well. He knew how to lead MIT to
live up to its full potential. And he also had the patience
for a lot of meetings. As a result, more than
anyone I can think of, Paul shaped the
MIT we know today. When you think of the programs
and progress he helped create, it’s impossible to
imagine MIT without them. Where would we be without
our undergraduate research [INAUDIBLE] program, or Europe? How did first year students ever
manage without pass [INAUDIBLE] record. Would MIT even be MIT if we
did not welcome talented people from every background,
and did not turn outward to engage the world? Each of these developments
represented at the time, serious, startling change. But Paul helped our community
to see that each of these steps was the bright open
path to possibility. I close with one final
Paul Gray lesson. As a white male who arrived
when the Institute itself was overwhelmingly
white and male, Paul was not an
obvious candidate to lead MIT into a
new era of diversity. But as we will hear
today, he certainly did. And through that work, he proved
something extremely important, that in the life
of our community, cultural change and moral growth
are possible and imperative. In this complex, confusing
time for our nation, and therefore for our
community, may Paul be as he always was, our
guide to inventing a better future for all. Good afternoon. I’m Shirley Anne Jackson, the
18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. a member of the MIT
classes of 1968 and 1973, and a life member of
the MIT Corporation. First, I want to thank
Paul’s wife, Priscilla, all of his family, and
president Rafael Reif for inviting me to
join this celebration of the life of Paul Gray today. I admired and loved Paul
Gray, as did all of us. He was someone I turn to
throughout my career, whenever I had a difficult
decision to make, because I knew that he would
guide me towards the right end. But beyond that, I’ve always
felt an enormous sense of kinship with Paul because
we shared important moments of leadership together. When I was an
undergraduate at MIT, I was one of just two
African-American women in my class. It was a lonely,
chilly experience. And although I was
a good student, I was not entirely
accepted by my classmates, or even by some
of my professors. In the spring of
1968, I was deciding among graduate schools. And I was on the
way to the airport after a visit to the
University of Pennsylvania when I learned that the
rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot and killed
in Memphis, Tennessee. Inspired by the courage
and sacrifice of Dr. King and others in the
civil rights movement, I realized that MIT needed to
become a more welcoming place for African-Americans,
for women, for people from all
backgrounds and origins. And given that it’s outsized
influence in science and engineering, when you change
MIT, you change the world. Now at the time, there were very
few African-American faculty members or administrators
to spearhead such an effort. So a group of like-minded
students and I formed the Black Students Union. And we presented
a list of demands to the MIT administration,
only we called them proposals. [LAUGHING] Now in response, MIT
formed the task force on educational opportunity to
address the embedded issues. In its infinite wisdom,
MIT asked Paul Gray, who soon became
associate provost, to take charge of the response. You know, Paul always said that
this was his first real chance to exercise leadership
of any form at MIT. And that’s a quote. And he quickly demonstrated that
he was a true leader, exactly the right, mature person
for a turbulent time. He took what could have been
an adversarial situation, and sometimes it was, and
instantly identified our shared objectives. And although he was MIT
through and through, he immediately grasped that
MIT could and should be better. I was invited to
join the task force on educational
opportunity, which I did during my first year at
graduate school here at MIT. I had decided that
I needed to remain at MIT for graduate
school because I knew that it was important to
work to change things here. And I felt that I could
make a difference. Now until that moment, so
Paul tells me, he had told me, I feel like he’s still
here, Paul had never had the opportunity
before to get to know any African-Americans,
having grown up in an all white community, gone
to an all white high school, and served in an all
white unit of the Army. But importantly, he was
an empathetic person, who could always pull something
up from inside himself to find common ground with the
person sitting across from him. As a teenager with an intense
interest in amateur radio and electronics, he had
felt like an outsider. He had some insight,
therefore, into how difficult that could be. So he was ready to listen,
to learn, and to act. Thanks to Paul, the task force
on educational opportunity spurred a breathtaking
change at MIT. Until then, MIT had not done
much recruiting of any kind for students, but why would it? It was MIT, after all. But under Paul’s leadership,
MIT hired an assistant director of admissions who
was African-American. For the first
time, the Institute developed special recruiting
materials and a stronger financial aid package and
began visiting predominantly African-American
high schools, saying to the most talented
young men and women there, we want you at MIT. Paul also had the wisdom to
send the Black Student Union students, including me, on as
many of these recruiting trips as we could manage
amidst our studies, to prove to African-American
high schoolers that MIT was, indeed, a
realistic possibility. We had convinced Paul
that merely bringing under-represented
minorities to MIT was not enough, because
some of the high schools did not offer advanced
science and mathematics. So they would be
starting in what I had called an Olympic level
race from meters behind. They needed an introduction to
the rigorous course work of MIT and to become confident that
they could succeed here. So the task force also
initiated Project Interphase, which continues to this day. Project Interphase was an
intense six week summer program for incoming freshmen
who needed it, with classes in physics
and precalculus, among other subjects, and
a wonderful introduction to the MIT culture. I taught physics at Interphase. And although I was still
a graduate student, I was asked to run the physics
program in its second year. As you can imagine, these
were radical changes for MIT in the late 1960s. Paul was criticized, initially,
by some faculty members who thought that he was lowering
the quality of the student body. And some of my peers called
me a collaborationist for working so closely with
the white administration. Now Paul was even addressed in
a derogatory and profane fashion by some very angry
African-American students on one occasion. But Paul was always cool-headed,
even in the most heated times. And he was tough when
he knew he was right. The students Paul
helped to bring to MIT thrived and proved
not just to MIT but to the nation that
brilliance in science and engineering is
not the province of any single background,
ethnicity, or place of origin. That experience of
working with Paul taught me, first,
what leadership is. He also taught me
that I was a leader. And it led to many other
opportunities for me throughout my life
and career, for which I am immensely grateful. Paul also taught me by example
that leadership requires toughness, tenacity, and
importantly a willingness to be a bit of a
collaborationist. In other words, to
listen to others, to identify points
of intersection, and to work to turn
opponents into supporters. Paul, as all of you know,
went on to become chancellor, creating the first
formal plan to increase the presence of
women and minorities among the faculty, as
well as the student body. He then became the
14th president of MIT, and later the chair of
the MIT Corporation. And as you have heard, Paul
changed the MIT experience in many important ways
throughout his career, including modernizing the
electrical engineering curriculum for the
age of semiconductors in the early 1960s, and
championing a radical idea that President Reif referenced,
the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program in
the late 1960s at the behest of and in collaboration with
Margaret MacVicar, who also happened to be my physics
tutor early in my career in the women’s dorm. Importantly, Paul and
Priscilla, as partners, worked to make MIT a
more welcoming place in myriad ways for everyone
here, especially the students. Paul always cited increasing
the diversity of MIT as his most important
accomplishment. And as you know, when he
arrived as an undergraduate, fewer than one in
50 MIT students was a woman or an
under-represented minority. And by the end of his
tenure as president in 1990, women were more than 30%
of the incoming classes, and underrepresented
minorities, 14%. Now, Paul truly
changed the world as an educational
innovator and by paving the way for the rest
of us who continue to work to bring the full
complement of young talent into science and engineering. But it was not just the
institutional Paul Gray, but the personal Paul Gray who
was so important in my life. He was a sounding board,
mentor, supporter, and friend throughout my career. We often talked about the
importance of education for our national
well-being, especially in science and engineering, and
about pedagogical innovation. Importantly, at crucial points
of decision and opportunity in my life, I could
always turn to Paul, and did for advice and counsel. Moreover, he was my greatest
direct and personal advocate for important
positions, including the chairmanship of the US
Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the presidency of Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute. In fact, when I was
developing the Rensselaer plan, our strategic blueprint,
Paul came to the university to help to explain to
our board of trustees the crucial linkage of
research and teaching in educating young people
in science and engineering. And because of that,
it was a great honor to have Paul write the
forward to a book that was a retrospective of my
first 10 years as president of Rensselaer. So it was a great privilege to
have shared a particular period in history with Paul
Gray, and to have made something happen alongside him. And later on, my own with
his support and friendship. It was a privilege, in fact,
just to have known him. Paul was kind. He was sensible. He had moral courage. And he grew into a dear friend. And I will always
cherish the long talks and walks we had when
my husband Morris and I would visit Paul and Priscilla
in Rhode Island, often in the winter. And our hunts for
the crustaceans that Priscilla loved so much. I’m so grateful to Paul Gray
for teaching me so much, and for his incredible grace. I will miss him for
the rest of my life. I thank all of you for allowing
me to honor this great man. Priscilla and members
of the Gray family, Rafael and members
of the MIT community, distinguished guests, ladies
and gentlemen, I’m Victor Fung. I’m from Hong Kong. I am from MIT class of ’66. And Paul Gray was my thesis
advisor for my master’s thesis. I can’t tell you what a
great honor and privilege it is for me to speak at this
service for an MIT legend whose life and humanity
touched all of us. Paul Gray’s belief in
diversity and inclusion, as borne out by
Shirley Jackson’s brilliant achievements,
also benefited me when I was a 20-year-old
MIT student from Hong Kong. Indeed, some 50 years
ago, Paul wrote me a letter that has
since been a guiding light for my entire career. It was 1966 and I was doing
a thesis for my master’s in electrical engineering. In fact, I was blessed
to be the last thesis student Professor Gray
mentored before going full time into administration. It was most gracious
of him to take me on, as he was already extremely busy
as associate dean for Student Affairs. Paul set aside an hour every
week out of his very busy schedule– and if my
memory serves me correctly, it was 4 PM every Thursday– for me to come to his office so
that he could guide and review my progress. I still remember his office
was on the fourth door on the beginning of
the Infinite Corridor, as you go in on 77 Mass Ave. I
must confess, I was not always punctual, nor was my
attendance entirely reliable. I think I might have
missed one or two times. I was doing a co-op program at
General Radio during the day and then working on
my thesis at night. But keeping a dean waiting
was not the smartest thing that I’ve ever done. The thesis was about
computer-aided design of Schmitt trigger
circuits, very technical. In fact, I read the
thesis again recently and I couldn’t believe
that was what I wrote. When I finished, Paul wrote
me a five page letter. The gist was, based on
the quality and content of the work in your thesis,
I’m giving you an A. But I want you to know that I’m
giving you this A reluctantly. The way you plan and
structure your work and your interaction with me
do not deserve an A. [LAUGHING] Of course, I told my parents in
Hong Kong only about the grade. I didn’t dare tell
them about the letter. But as I started my career,
Paul’s treasured letter gave me much food for thought. I have reread it many,
many times over the years. Paul really impressed upon me
that having the bright idea is not enough. You’ve got to have
the discipline to put those ideas
into a context where they can be effective. If you wish to end up with a
final piece or a final product that is truly excellent, you
have got to execute properly. I’m sure each and
every one of you here today have been touched
by this wonderful individual at some point in
your careers and in his own very special way. That is not all that
I’ve learned from Paul. In him, I found a man whose
values resonate deeply with those of my own family,
commitment, loyalty, fairness, and I have just
indicated frankness. Paul also cared passionately
that technological change should be a force for good
in communities and societies globally. And ethos, which continues to
inspire and drive our family company, Lee and Fung, today. Long ago, on one of
Paul’s many visits to Hong Kong as
MIT president, he asked if I would consider
making a meaningful donation to this Institute. I explained that I couldn’t
at the time because I was putting every cent I had
into a buyout of the family company. But I made a commitment that
when I did have the means, I would be back. Imagine, then, what a joy it
was to see Paul and Priscilla, at last year’s ceremony,
announcing MIT’s new Make a Space at the
Metropolitan Warehouse, which my brother William and
I are honored to support. It was the last time I saw Paul. I so wanted Paul to know that
the seed he planted years ago had ripened, for reasons that
include my lifelong gratitude to him and to MIT. When he became my mentor,
Paul was only 34 years old, younger than my
children are today. Yet the serious,
proper man always seemed wiser than
his years, just as he was years ahead of his time. Paul was truly the
master who appeared when a student was ready. He helped me formulate
my life and what to make of it, for sure. I shall be keeping that
letter of his safely under lock and key for future
generations of my family. Thank you. Good afternoon. My name is Jim Taylor. I sometimes respond
to the description of the younger brother
that Paul never had and the older brother
that Virginia never had. In 1965, I was a senior at
MIT and looking for a way to finance graduate school
and avoid the Vietnam War. Providentially, Ken Wadley,
then dean of student affairs, was bringing on board a new
associate dean and needed a grunt to do some
work with respect to the freshmen curriculum. Paul Gray, an
untenured professor of electrical engineering,
became that associate dean and I was the grunt. Between us, over
the next 18 years, we did some– over
the next 18 months, we did some work around
the freshman program which resulted in some changes. But more importantly,
we established a lifelong friendship that
can never be replaced. Paul became my role model. Now, role model can
take many forms. And I’ve come to
believe that there are at least four elements
to being a role model. I call them the four F’s,
faith, fitness, family, and profession. [LAUGHING] And the
search for somebody that embodies all of
those is very difficult. Many people never find that. But I was fortunate enough to
both find it and recognize it early on. So Paul became the
standard by which I have measured much of
the remainder of my life. I won’t to say a lot about
the professional element. Paul’s 47 years at MIT, what
he called the special place, has been well documented
and will be well described by other people. But I would like to just talk
quickly about the project that we worked on together
because it was actually the first thing that Paul did
in an administrative capacity to benefit MIT. Through the mid ’60s,
the freshmen curriculum was absolutely identical
for all freshman. Chemistry, physics,
math, humanities, absolutely the same courses
taught in the same way, regardless of the high
school student preparation or regardless of
academic intention. And Paul always
asked the question, is that the way it ought to be? So we did some studies on that. We had some hypotheses to test. For example, I call these
intuitively obvious. I’m not sure why we
had to analyze them, but for example, if a student
in high school had had calculus, would they do better
in calculus and physics at MIT than if they
hadn’t had calculus. That seemed pretty
obvious, but we needed to analyze that, bring
some data to bear on it, come up with some conclusions. So we had a lot of data
on freshman classes and we had the state
of the art computing. Now, state of the
art computing in 1965 was an IBM 1402 and an IBM 84. It’s unlikely that most of you
know what those numbers mean, but it’s actually a punch
card reader and a card sorter. That is what we used
for computing support. Needless to say,
our analytical work verified that there should be
some changes in the freshman program, that it needn’t
be monolithic and totally structured the same
way for all students. And as a result of that, MIT
implemented some variations in chemistry, physics,
especially physics and math, and permitted students
to take variations depending on their academic
interests and future. What I learned from
that was not only what I would call the
obvious conclusions, but more importantly,
the way Paul approached complex problems. His clarity of thought
was incredible. His integrity,
his mutual respect for others, including
his grunt, just came through in that
project and set standards for my own professional career. I’ll mention the
faith element briefly. Paul didn’t talk
much about his faith. He simply lived it. He was a longtime member at
Hancock Church in Lexington where Priscilla still worships. They were active in
a small group Bible study for more than 50 years. They traveled together,
socialized, but mostly studied the Bible. I marveled at how he served in
key positions in key committees at his church while fulfilling
demanding jobs at MIT. Fitness, and its
companion, food, represented a wide area for
Paul and me to explore together. We played squash intensely. And I learned not to
take control of the t when Paul was behind me. I learned the significance
of the phrase, coming around. Paul taught me to
drink my coffee black, how to enjoy butter
in every nook and cranny of English muffins. We love Priscilla’s
lobster boils, lasagna, and her sticky buns. We shared Thanksgiving dinners
in the president’s house. We ate Tex-Mex in Corpus Christi
where our son, Paul’s namesake, was born more than 40 years ago. We suffered the same sweet
tooth for cookies and ice cream. When I took up
running, Paul tried to convince me
that rice at Royal east was an acceptable form of
carb loading before the Boston Marathon. He was wrong. [LAUGHING] In our early days, we
hiked the White Mountains with Virginia and Amy. In recent years, we walked
slowly around Walden Pond. But for me, Paul’s
most significant impact was through his
dedication to his family. When you got to know Paul,
you got the whole family. His parents set him off from
Livingston New Jersey to MIT and were always a bit puzzled
as to why he never left. Shortly after I started
working for Paul, I met Priscilla, his
partner in all things. Virginia was a
precocious eight-year-old pushing the boundaries. Amy was a fine arts
talent, especially creative in fabric and textiles. Andrew was Paul’s buddy, trying
out new things, including each other’s patience. And Louise was then,
and now, the pixie, the center of impish fun. Our lives have
intertwined ever since. As I witness family
life for the Grays, it followed a few
simple principles. Spend time together,
be serious, have fun, be deliberate about
creating memories. Celebrate together. Grieve together. Never compromise your integrity. Easy to say, hard to
put into practice. And it does sound
nearly perfect. While I admit I had to do a
little bit of fine tuning. I had to rescue his children
from the monotony of Mozart by introducing them to Herb
Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. You’ll hear a lot about
Paul’s legacy today. But for me, it’s
pretty personal. It sustains me in the areas
of faith, fitness, family, and profession. I’d like to think that I’m
a better person for having traveled in Paul’s wake. And I hope that’s been
passed down to some degree to my children
and grandchildren. But multiply that
by thousands, I daresay nearly everybody here. We’ve all woven a thread of
Paul Gray into our lives. That’s his lasting legacy. A year ago, in one of my visits
to see Priscilla and Paul, he wanted to make
a special breakfast on the day I was
leaving to return home. He asked the night
before what I’d like. And I said, I really
liked the omelets he made in Little Compton, with
Swiss cheese and fresh chives. That struck him as doable. So the next morning
after about an hour of scurrying around
in the kitchen, he proudly presented breakfast,
delicious blueberry pancakes. [LAUGHING] It was such
a touching moment, equal parts sweet and said. I miss Paul. [MUSIC PLAYING] It was my privilege 26 years
ago to award you your bachelor’s degree, and 25 years ago,
your master’s degree. It was soon recognized that
your first rate performance as a teacher was
matched by first rate talent as an administrator. And you were quickly co-opted
from one administrative job after another. In fact, you hardly
had the opportunity to arm the chair in
one post before you were drafted for another. [MUSIC PLAYING] It’s very nice to
have so many people from so many institutions and
so many old friends who’ve come back today to participate
in this celebration. I got to know Paul Gray when I
was beginning graduate school. But we really became close
when I became his provost. I first met him through
his deep involvement in undergraduate
education at MIT. He was a great friend,
a great colleague, but also a very
great teacher for me. I got involved as an athlete,
as a swimmer, as a rower, as a sailor. And I would often see him
and I would invite him to our competitions. And he would come. And I remember he and Priscilla
coming in to a swimming meet and just sitting down, and
staying for the whole time. He was a quietly very
brave and tenacious man, loving, and kind, and
gentle, and very focused, and always very engaged. He loved being around experts,
and taking advice from experts, and learning from experts,
and sharing with experts. He was the father who took
us hiking, biking, swimming, sailing, skating. He’s the one who
ran behind us when we were learning to ride our
bikes until we could do it on our own. And there were no
training wheels, you just figured it out. Paul began his MIT
life as a freshman. Paul came to MIT in the 1950s,
so that’s almost 70 years. That’s just simply remarkable. I cannot think of anybody else
who gave so much of his life and shared so much of his
life with this institute. He’s a very down to
earth individual, very straightforward
man, but very caring. He did so much for MIT. And he did it loyally. He did it morning,
noon, and night. He was so devoted to this
place and to the students in such a genuine way. He was never in it for himself. He was always in it for MIT. Some year ago, in a
commencement in the rain, a father was heard to
say, after the soaking I’ve taken for the last four
years, who minds a little rain? But I have to say,
this is something else. In the competitive
sport of diving, the various dives
are ranked according to the degree of difficulty. When the performances of
different divers are equal, the diver who chooses
the dive with the highest degree of difficulty wins. Now by that measure alone,
you here today are winners. You have chosen and
successfully negotiated a collegiate education having
what may be the nation’s highest degree of difficulty. You know, he always call
it this special place. And I think for him it
really was a special place and a kind of home unlike
he’d ever had before, because it satisfied
him intellectually and it satisfied him,
I think, emotionally. And when he was able to
connect his own family to it, then I think that that
was sort of a full circle. MIT is best known for the
scientists and engineers who have studied there. He was at MIT at a time when
engineering changed completely from a largely empirical
practice of making things and making them
work, to a situation where science and understanding
fundamentals effected the design and the
implementation of so many systems. This very gentle, quiet, fierce
man, I know had to do battle to get Whitehead
Institute established. People were terribly suspicious. And you know, frankly, he
wasn’t sure what it would be. Nobody was. It was an experiment
and he took the risk. MIT and the biomedical
enterprise and Kendall Square is unrivaled anywhere
in the world. And so I do credit Paul
with setting us out in that direction. So at the Whitehead, we now
have The Broad, and the Reagan, the Koch Institute, any
number of expressions of the power of biology
to transform our world. When I came to MIT, which was
in 1965, I think maybe 2% or 3% of the students were women,
fewer than that on the faculty. It was very much a
male institution. He was tremendously
committed to diversity, increasing the representation
in the faculty and the student body of women and of minorities. The number of entering
African-American students at MIT went from about
3 to 5 per year, to 57. To this day, I mean, we’re just
very proud of that momentum that Paul brought to the
table in this [INAUDIBLE].. MIT has a responsibility to
itself and to the nation, to be open, and
indeed to reach out to the most talented and
promising people, regardless of race or sex. None of us created all
the bias around us, but we certainly inherit it. And what I love
about President Gray is that he stepped
right into that. And as soon as he saw
it and understood it, he decided to actually
do something about it. [MUSIC PLAYING] During his inauguration, what he
wanted as the walking in music was Aaron Copeland’s,
Fanfare for the Common Man. And that was him, you know? He always was in touch with
his very modest beginnings in a blue collar
family where, you know, the economy was a challenge. One of his fraternity
brothers, while he was at MIT as a sophomore,
was dating a woman at Wheaton College, where
my mother was a freshman. They introduced
my parents on what turned out to be a rather
successful blind date. It was very cold. And they’re walking
across the bridge. And my mother doesn’t
have any gloves. And my father said, I’ve
got a pair of gloves. Why don’t we do this? I’ll wear the left one,
you wear the right one, and we’ll hold hands to
keep the middle ones warm. And they walked
across the bridge. And they walked off
into the future. That was the first day
of their relationship. I thought, well, that’s pretty
good for a nerd from New Jersey. A very clever use of a pair of
gloves to win the girl’s heart. It was the big blizzard
of ’78 and no cars were allowed on the
road for a week. But MIT was not
going to shut down. So we started this bus line. And one of my favorite
pictures of Paul Gray is with his big wolf
skin or beaver skin hat, you know, like a Russian hat,
out in the parking lot at MIT where the buses came
in directing traffic. I mean, he was
very much hands on. He looks incredibly happy,
actually, in the picture. He was just doing what
he could do, I think, and having fun doing it. I think he had a lot
of joy in what he did. He was a real proponent of
the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, UROP. It was dramatically
successful and found a way for undergraduates to
interact with the faculty in their research projects. This would be a way
in which students could, for the first time
perhaps in our years at MIT, come to terms with an unsolved,
real problem, something where they could make
a genuine contribution. That became an integral part
of how MIT educates students, so it was a huge thing for us. When we finished up all the
administrative and leadership roles that he had at MIT,
went back to the classroom. He loved being in the classroom. You turn the crank
on a three by three matrix and solve for the node
voltages, e sub b, e sub c, and e sub d. He was an absolutely
excellent teacher. Clarity, complete concern with
the student’s understanding, very much enjoyed
being in their company. Professor Gray was
my academic advisor when I was an
undergrad here at MIT. And I remember he was a
really warm, very friendly and giving advisor. At first, maybe
you would think it might be a little intimidating
having your advisor be the ex-president of MIT. But that turned out not
to be the case at all. Professor Gray was
extremely down to earth. He really understood
technological education and what a technological
research university is really about, and how precious it is. One of the many involvements
that the Grays had with students were
these senior dinners. We invited the whole class to
dinner, 60 or 70 at a time. All of us at MIT, we just
celebrate the opportunities to be with those students. They are so special. Every semester on Registration
Day, we would meet with him and then that evening all
of us, all of his advisees, would go out to dinner with
him, always at the Royal East. If you can imagine, there
was sort of a big table, usually in the back of the
restaurant, all filled with, I’d say, maybe about
10 or so advisees. Yours is the obligation to
help heal society where healing is required, to help strengthen
the nations where strengthening is required, and to
help bring harmony among the nations of this
world, wherever discord obtains. If you have ever seen Paul’s
official presidential portrait, it is a portrait of
Paul and Priscilla. He was the first person to
have his spouse in the picture, right? And I think that
for him that was a measure of his
devotion for her, his appreciation
for all the things that my mother may have
sacrificed in order to help him have the roles and the
opportunities that he had, and all the ways in
which she supported him. I think that that was
his way of saying, I wouldn’t have been able to
do this without Priscilla. It was extraordinary
to watch them together, how they worked together, how
they supported each other. They both had a
twinkle in their eye that would kind of ping at you. Just to know that there was
someone sort of watching over us, making sure that things,
generally, are probably going to be OK for us. So I really appreciated
that very much. He is a man of
exceptional integrity. The humanness of the
man and of Priscilla was so essential to the kind of
leadership he provided at MIT. He cared about people. A person with
tremendous integrity. A person with tremendous
wisdom, thoughtful, calm. Extraordinarily forceful
person, but also with a surprisingly
gentle personality. He was good at listening. He was good at negotiating
and meeting people part way. And he was good at imagining
what might be possible if this shifted or that changed,
or we could move forward together in this direction. As you undertake this
next stage in your lives, I wish for you a life that
is rich in opportunities to stretch your talents, your
interests, your imagination, and your vision of
this small planet as a beautiful oasis,
generating peace. And as you depart from
this special place, I wish you God speed. [MUSIC PLAYING] Well, that was a remarkable,
remarkable tribute. I’m Susan Hockfield. And I served as the
16th president of MIT. And it is a very
great but a very sad privilege to offer a
few words in celebration of the 14th president
of MIT, Paul E. Gray. I first met Paul Gray during
my initial introduction at MIT. Paul served as a member
of the presidential search committee that brought
me to the Institute. Even among the truly impressive
and distinguished committee members, Paul, by any measure,
held the deepest knowledge and the greatest breadth
of understanding of MIT. However, even among that
group, with that task at hand, he demonstrated one of
his core characteristics, doing far more
listening than speaking. In those interviews and
first conversations, I came to understand that
Paul’s patience as a listener captured the essential
trait of the greatest teachers, a remarkable skill
in leading us, his students, to discover the
answers ourselves. When I arrived on campus as
the Institute’s newly minted president, Paul became my
first and most essential guide to MIT. His love of the place, of the
people, and of our mission, shone brightly in all
he said and all he did. As my family joined
our new community, he and his beloved
Priscilla warmly adopted us, giving
Tom, Elizabeth, and me a profoundly appreciated
sense of being at home. A part of me has
always and will always see MIT through Paul’s eyes, and
through Priscilla’s eyes too. The two of them,
inseparably, led MIT in head, hand, and heart. Paul, as we’ve heard
again and again, transformed the Institute
in a host of important ways. Looking through a
particular set of lenses one can see how it was he who
paved the path that brought me to MIT, as the Institute’s
first woman and first biologist to serve as president. As President Jackson has
described so beautifully, Paul considered his work
expanding opportunities for women and minorities
to be his most important contribution. He understood
deeply that, for MIT to serve the nation and
the world most effectively, we needed to bring more of
the most talented people toward campus, no matter
their gender or phenotype. He championed admitting more
women and minority students, and bringing greater diversity
to our faculty and staff, not just in words,
but also in deeds. The number of women
students and faculty grew. And he appointed women
to important roles. Margaret MacVicar’s leadership
of the paradigm-breaking Undergraduate Research
Opportunities Program, UROP, transformed
a core tenant of the undergraduate experience. Through UROP, we
invite our students to move beyond receiving
knowledge in our classrooms, to discovering knowledge
in our laboratories. When Paul arrived
as an undergraduate, his class included
fewer than 2% women. When I arrived as MIT’s
president, over 45% of the entering
freshmen were women. Paul had primed the Institute
for a woman president. In many critically
important ways, Paul accelerated MIT’s rise
to world class excellence in biology and fostered
the remarkable development of the Kendall Square
innovation cluster. Now, you might well accuse
me of seeing the world through biology-tinted
glasses, but 2020 hindsight shows clearly that
Paul recognized early on the growing
importance and long range possibilities of the
molecular biology revolution. The biology department had
adopted this revolutionary way of studying the living world
with a kind of monomania, propelling the Institute to
national and international leadership Paul actively fostered the
department’s many offshoots. The Center for Cancer
Research was launched when Paul was chancellor. And as president, he navigated
the complex and sometimes vexed discussions that led to the
establishment of the Whitehead Institute for
Biomedical Research. In the words of Institute
Professor Phillip Sharpe, Paul made the Whitehead happen. Paul provided a new building,
of which there were not many during his presidency, for
the biology department. And perhaps more significantly,
for MIT’s definition of ourselves. He supported the adoption
of the biology requirement for all undergraduates,
setting biology on equal footing among
MIT’s canonical triumvirate of physics, man, and chemistry. Taken together, Paul
set conditions in place for the biological, biomedical,
biotech explosion at MIT and in Kendall Square. And in this way, too,
he primed the Institute for its first
biologist president. Always the teacher, Paul
orchestrated a magnificent gift to me in my first
months on campus. He gathered his class
of 54 colleagues and their newly donned
cardinal jackets to meet me. Our dinner together taught
me more about the tradition, devotion, and pride
carried by MIT alumni, than any abstract
description could have done. As the adage about teaching
goes, he didn’t tell me, he showed me. Many who attended that
dinner are here with us this afternoon. And I would say, again,
what I said that evening. Thank you, Paul, for
bringing us together in support of MIT’s core
values, the pursuit of truth, meritocracy, personal integrity,
and service to others. And let me say again, for
showing us rather than telling us these core values,
we thank you, Paul. I am Gerald Wilson. And I served as
dean of engineering while Paul was president. Each of us have memories of
our interaction with Paul Gray and how he impacted our lives
and our experience at MIT. I first saw Paul when
he was a teaching assistant in a junior
year subject I was taking. He was demonstrating
electromechanical principles on a rotating machine in a
building three lecture hall. He was an early influence
in the Department of Electrical Engineering. When electronics was
transitioning from vacuum tube devices to
semiconductor devices, he coauthored four
of the seven texts which were some of the
earliest teaching tools that enabled that transition. Later, after he
was president, he lectured a sophomore
electronics subject. I remember his demonstrating
negative feedback in a circuit and his pointing out
that negative feedback, if used carefully, could
be a positive factor in social situations as well. His style, whether teaching
in a formal classroom lecture or explaining his views on
some administrative manner, was characterized, as you heard,
by careful, methodical, and thoughtful descriptions. He was always approachable
and receptive of questions. Even in a lecture hall
with 200 students, the environment
he engendered was one of sharing what he
knew with many students engaging him after a
lecture to ask questions. He was a warm, dedicated,
and effective teacher. Early on, Paul was looked to
for his wisdom and advice. His careful, thoughtful, and
earnest approach to a question was very often reflected
in his facial expression. You could see his effort to
provide a thoughtful response to your question, even
in casual conversation. During the Vietnam War era,
there was much protesting and anger among our
students and our faculty. We had an AWOL soldier
ensconced in the student center. 300 state and city
police marched down Massachusetts Avenue
in [INAUDIBLE] to confront students
blocking employees in the instrumentation
laboratory. Students occupied the
president’s office throughout. Paul was often a calming
influence during this period. Seeking the best result
for those involved, he focused on allowing
protest without allowing it to destroy the institution. He was always approachable. He seemed to
remember everyone he had met by name, whether
a student, a researcher, a support staff, or
a faculty member. He encouraged people to call
him Paul, putting aside titles. And that is how he
was addressed by many, a measure of how he was viewed
and trusted by the community. And with that, he
engendered and nourished a sense of community
that most everyone felt, a sense of belonging to a place
that strived for excellence, a place you could trust. He was clearly a leader,
and behaved as one for whom the institution was
deserving of only his best. He would carefully
and promptly consider a proposal brought before him. Once he had made a
decision to embrace an idea brought by others,
he became their champion. Whether it was UROP to embrace
our undergraduates involvement in research, a new
building for a department or school, a micro-electronics
center, a manufacturing initiative, a project
to bring computers into the hands of students
and faculty, establishing an Institute for
biological research in the face of considerable
concern and controversy on the part of faculty, once
he was convinced that it had to be done, he put
his own effort into it by helping to develop a
strategy for a meeting with prospective donors. He was so much more than
the approving executive. He was a hands-on supporter
and builder of the initiative. One time I had won his
support for an initiative that was going to require
$18 million in funding. Months later, I had to
return to inform him that the cost was to double. I had expected a disappointed
reaction, at least, and a question of whether
we should proceed. Instead, he characterized
it as unfortunate, but then went on to help me
identify ways that could still make it happen, no
recrimination, just support and help and creatively
solving the problem. I always felt that
he had in my back. Paul had a consistent and deep
concern for the experience that MIT provided for our
undergraduate students. With Priscilla’s
strong involvement, he addressed significant
issues that affected the undergraduate environment. Early on, as you’ve
heard, he became concerned that there were so few women in
MIT’s undergraduate population. He learned that
the cause, in part, was a lack of adequate
housing for women. Women’s admissions
were restricted due to the limited space
of a women’s dormitory over in Boston. He took action and
removed that restriction. And with a gift from
Helen McCormack, provided significantly larger
dormitory space for women. Paul also addressed MIT’s lack
of a strong minority contingent in the undergraduate class. Before he was the president, he
aggressively worked with others to change our approach by
seeking out and attracting minorities, not just
waiting for them to apply. Changing our environment in this
regard had its difficulties. We had to learn how
to identify students who could succeed here. But Paul persevered and
stuck to his core beliefs that we could make MIT a
place where a diverse student body could succeed. By the time he completed
his presidency, there was a sea change
in the environment, with significantly more minority
and women undergraduates. He drove MIT to be a
welcoming and successful place for a diverse
undergraduate student body. With Priscilla, they made MIT
a more welcoming environment for our undergraduates. They held dinners at Gray House
for the entire senior class each year, hosting 70 or
more students at a time. He and Priscilla engendered
a welcoming spirit and tone that permeated the
place in ways that continue to have an everlasting
effect on the entire community. How does one summarize
the life of the man who, with so much dedication, did
so much for this institution? In that effort, I was
reminded of the spirit of a verse that is often used
in a Jewish memorial service. For the creativity, quality,
and care in his teaching, we remember him. For his leadership, guidance,
and calming influence in times of strife, we remember him. For strengthening our
sense of community, for making MIT a place of trust
and honesty, we remember him. For his encouragement, support,
and championship for the work of others, we remember him. For his friendship,
we remember him. For his commitment,
concern for, and dedication to the environment for our
students, we remember him. For his leadership,
drive, and commitment for attracting more women
and minority students, and to assuring that they
can seed succeed here, we remember him. For all of his
efforts and commitment to MIT, to which he
so fondly referred to as this special place,
we remember him. Today, we gather to honor
and celebrate my dad. And I thank all of
you for being here. This event means so much to
my mother and the Gray family. On a point of
perspective, I would like to point out,
however, that this is more than a celebration
of a life well lived. If we are to honor
my father and what he meant to this
institution, we must also recognize what this
institution meant to him. I think that today we gather
to celebrate MIT as well. We’ve heard it
several times today, my dad called MIT
this special place. And I think that all of
us here today are blessed in some special, precious way. Whether you teach, learn,
research, administrate, clean, maintain, or facilitate
the workings of the school in some non-academic
way, or just to love someone
who does, or did, I think it is hard not to
be touched by the power and promise of MIT. I grew up in a house
where we did not know the position of the Red
Sox in the AL East standings. I did not know what
the Stanley Cup was until the Globe published
that iconic photograph of Bobby Orr parallel to the ice. But I did know who had
won the Nobel prizes and what schools they worked at. [LAUGHING] Shortly after dad’s passing,
when my cell phone dinged, you know, those
noises, alert noises, with the news alert that
Doctor Rainer Weiss had won this year’s prize in
physics, along with two of his colleagues from another
school that shall not be named, I had to smile. This would have
pleased dad so much. If dad were alive and we were
in an earlier, better day, the race would
have been on to see if I could get the news
to him before he heard. Of course, I would
have lost that race. MIT always had better
communications technology. I believe that a
big part of what made MIT so special
for my dad was that it was the land of his heroes. For the Gray kids,
or the core four, as we like to call ourselves,
this aspect of my dad’s life was completely
transparent and open. These incredible people were
also the titans in our lives. I visited Doc
Edgerton in his lab. We saw her image
tonight and I think I’ve heard her name mentioned
at least three times tonight. But I used to spend weekends
doing chores with Dr. Margaret MacVicar on her farm. And in high school, I spoke
with Dr. Jerry Wiesner when I waited for dad
in the suite of offices that they shared,
almost every day. And perhaps most importantly,
our big brother, Jim Taylor, class of ’65, taught us
kids the Texas Two Step. When my family was
last all together, we gathered at Hancock
Church in remembrance of dad. On that day, Dr. Reif
flew in from welcoming his third grandchild
to this world to make sure that he was
there to sit with my mother. Dr. Jackson, another touchstone
in the tapestry of my father’s life, was also there from great
distance to be with my mother. And of course, Jim
Taylor, who had flown in upon my dad’s
passing to spend three days with my mother, had returned. It would be impossible
to adequately express the gratitude of my
family for all of you, and the countless colleagues,
friends, and students. We are profoundly
grateful for all that you have done for my dad,
both in life and in death. MIT truly is this special place. It’s its people that make it so. As I prepared to
speak today, I thought about different approaches
to these comments. Ultimately the most visceral
lesson of these past few months was what a humbling
experience it has been, humbling
to see dad go, humbling to see him
make it OK for us. Humbling to realize that my
thinking that the inevitable cannot be escaped and that I
was OK with all of this was mere arrogance. Humbling to realize that I
don’t have any wisdom except to recommit to being the best
father, husband, brother, son, colleague, and school
guide I can be. With your forbearance,
I would like to share what I
presented at Hancock Church a couple of months ago. It best contains what I want
to tell you about my dad. And I think my mom liked it. So we’re going to do it again. I once asked my dad what the
single most important decision of his career at MIT was. And as Dr. Wilson
just shared with us, when asked that question,
he said, the decision to move the women onto
campus here at MIT and get rid of that dorm was the
turning point for this school. And that closing that
dorm set MIT on its path to what it was to become. Such a simple thing,
such a powerful thing. As a kid, I learned to love
curry at the [INAUDIBLE] and tempura at the [INAUDIBLE]. At MIT events, dinners
hosted at home by my mother, and the all important wonderful
and memorable Thanksgivings with dad’s advisees,
we met people from all across America
and all around the world. Mom and dad took us to
live in northern Wales and we toured Europe
when dad had a break. My parents came
back from MIT trips to places like India,
Egypt, Mexico, China, Japan, and shared the wonder of what
they had seen and learned. The point I would
like to make is that my parents
worked diligently and intentionally to
expose us to a world that was as big as a MIT. It was clear to us that
they valued diversity in all its forms, and that
engaging with and learning from the broadest
possible group of people was something to be
treasured and valued as a source of
profound strength. As I matured, whether it
was because I was old enough to hear certain stories or
whether because I started paying attention and linking
things up that we did not really talk about as a family,
I came to understand that, based on the context and
the value system that my dad was
raised in, he would have seemed a very unlikely
champion of diversity. After my kids were
born, I decided I needed to ask
my dad about this. How had his values
in this regard varied so widely from
what he knew as a child. While splitting wood down
a Little Compton with him, I tried to nicely frame
my central question, which boiled down to, hey, dad,
how come you didn’t turn out to be a bigot? [LAUGHING] So I asked. And he put down the maul, took
off his gloves, wiped his brow, and he thought. He told me, well,
I guess it just never made any sense to me. He put his gloves back on
and we went back to work. Such a simple thing. Such a powerful thing. As a dyslexic kid
that did not learn to read until the good
folks at the Carroll School taught me to mainstream
standardized academic success was a stranger to me. I failed kindergarten. Not an easy thing to do. I got bounced out of chemistry
as a junior in high school because the whole mole
thing completely eluded me. And I only graduated
from high school because Rosemary Sauerman of
Hancock Church intensively tutored me in German
and helped me eke out a 60.25% average for the year. It was not really until
college, and more particularly graduate school, where I was
able to play to my strengths that I experienced
solid academic success and truly enjoyed school. Now juxtapose that with my dad. Clearly one of the best and most
talented minds that many of us will know in our lifetimes. He could have crushed me with
a simple ill-chosen word. He never did. To be clear, there were no
free passes in the Gray house. All report cards were
reviewed with dad and discussed in detail. But dad always
threaded that needle between exhorting
me to do my best and holding me accountable
while building my confidence and honoring my success
in the face of adversity. I am profoundly
grateful for that. I can remember MIT
events and gatherings where well-intentioned
people would ask me what I was going to
study when I went to MIT. MIT was clearly not on
my life choice menu, nor did it align with my
strengths and interests. I remember one particularly
robust grilling by an alumni of my father’s
generation, who clearly thought that the son of
Paul Gray must be a regular chip off the old block
and ready to take MIT by storm. As this gentleman talked,
out of the corner of my eye, I saw my dad. And as I focused on him, he
gave me his, I am proud of you, smile. Such a simple thing. Such a powerful thing. Dad was often asked for advice
on how to be successful. His response was consistent. He would suggest that you needed
to find what interested you most and commit
yourself to it fully, and the rest would
take care of itself. At a very real level, this was
extremely uncomfortable advice. Wouldn’t it be easier if there
were just a school to attend, a few courses to take,
or books to read. Dad’s advice was premised
on self-awareness, thinking for
yourself, as well as being accountable to yourself. My dad spent, with the
exception of his service with the army, of which
he was extremely proud, his entire career at MIT. I don’t know if you all
know this about him, but he never wrote a resume. [LAUGHING] I once asked him to look
at a resume I had written and he said, I really
don’t know much about that. You’ll have to someone else. He served MIT with
devotion and passion, and was blessed
with the opportunity to leave his mark
on the Institution at every step of his career. Clearly, each day
of his life, My dad relentlessly lived the
advice he so often gave. Such a simple thing. Such a powerful thing. Oddly, in thinking
about all the times I heard him asked
about success, I never heard anyone ask him for
advice on how to be happy. Of course, I believe he
would have given essentially the same answer, but
just extended the scope to include a spouse
and all the family, love, and power that arises
from and around the union of two people. I believe that, if asked, all
the core four would tell you that my father’s devotion
to my mother, and of course her’s to him, has
provided the foundation in the framework for the
lives that we and our kids live today. A father’s love, such a simple
thing, such a powerful thing. Thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING] My name is Larry
Bacow, class of ’72. And like many of the
people in this room, I was a student of Paul’s. However, it was not
in core six, rather, Paul helped to teach me how
to be a university president. Shortly after I was
named president of Tufts, Paul told me what my
new life would be like. Running a research
university, he said, was like trying to
drive an 18 wheeler down an icy, hilly, mountain
road with multiple hairpin turns, no guardrails,
and 1,000 foot drop offs. And if that wasn’t hard enough,
faculty have their hands on the wheel, students have
their foot on the accelerator, and alumni have their
foot on the brake. And you are responsible
for the outcome. [LAUGHING] Paul had a pithy way
of making his point. I was to receive all
sorts of good advice from him as I prepared to leave
the comfortable surroundings of MIT for the wilds of Medford. Before you meet with
anyone ask yourself whose job are you doing now. Very good advice for a
university president, right? Shirley and Susan– one
of Paul’s favorites. He used to say, you know,
you need to pat people 10 times on the back for every
time you kick them in the rear. Nothing succeeds like
a successor, very true. [LAUGHING] If you can’t get your work
done in 24 hours in a day, start working nights. And Adele’s favorite,
and Priscilla, she’s sorry she can’t
be here with me today, but her absolute favorite,
on any given night, you will have four
or five invitations. So you’re going to be
disappointing three or four different people or groups. My advice to you, at
least one night a week, disappoint all of them. I could go on. David Reismann, the Harvard
sociologist and student of higher education, used to
say that university presidents become the living, walking
logos of their institutions. In reflecting upon
this statement, I don’t think any president
of any institution ever represented the
values of a place better than Paul did here. Paul Gray was MIT. He was incredibly smart
but also incredibly modest. He was tough but caring. He took his work seriously
but never himself. He was comfortable
greeting heads of state but fundamentally
he was blue collar. He was also refreshingly
unpretentious. What other college
president adopted as their email
address a character from a Walt Kelly comic strip? [email protected] As Paul used to say, Pogo
was his favorite philosopher. Paul also had a
fabulous sense of humor. He seemed to have just the
right story for every occasion. I cannot tell you how many times
I have repeated his story about the Russian peasant encountering
an almost frozen bird. You all have heard the story,
it ends with the three lessons. I’m not going to
repeat them here. Ask me at the reception. He also had no difficulty
showing emotion. When Paul was
angry, you knew it. I recall sitting– but he
also had a softer side, and that is really what,
I think, defined Paul. I was call sitting right here
in Kresge auditorium when Paul gave a very moving
eulogy for our colleague, Jim Cullerton. Jim, as many of you may recall,
died well before his time. Paul, in that eulogy,
described how closely he worked with Jim and
Constantine [INAUDIBLE],, another one of our colleagues
who we lost well too soon. How they worked so hard to try
and hold this place together during the time of student
protests in the late 1960s. As Paul recalled
their work together, he described the three of
them as a band of brothers. And when he did
so, he choked up. He loved Jim and he
loved Constantine. And he was not afraid to say it. And he was not
afraid to show it. There was nothing
phony about Paul. He was one of the most
real people I have ever been privileged to know. A number of other
speakers have already described Paul’s
extraordinary efforts to make MIT a better place
for women and for minorities. What is less well
known on this campus is that Paul was also a
voice for gender diversity and inclusion at Priscilla’s
Alma Mater, Wheaton College. At the same time he
was president of MIT, Paul chaired the Wheaton
College Board of Trustees. To this day, I cannot imagine
how anybody could have done both jobs simultaneously. But Paul did. And as board chair,
Paul helped to bring co-education to Wheaton, a
hugely controversial decision at the time. Hugely controversial. Wheaton, however, is the
thriving, vibrant college that it is today
in no small measure to Paul’s steady and strong
leadership of that board, for his willingness to
always do the right thing, as has been said before, even
when it was very, very hard. But my enduring image
of Paul will always be of him walking
hand-in-hand with Priscilla across this campus. Priscilla, his love
of you knew no bounds. Thank you for sharing him
with us for so many years. And thank you for
all the two of you gave to what Paul, as we’ve
heard many, many times, always called,
this special place. What makes it so special
is because people like you and Paul. Thank you. And thank you for
the opportunity to be part of this very
special ceremony today. My name is Virginia. And I am deeply grateful
to President Reif for making space
in today’s ceremony and tribute for a
family perspective on and a set of stories
about my father’s life by allowing Andrew
and me to speak. Since MIT was central to
dad’s life and love and drive, it was central to ours, also. Especially as we grow
up in and around campus, meeting a wide and fascinating
swath of God’s people, and always being stretched
to learn and to grow and to include the myriad
people that our parents thought of as family, too. My mother, and all our parent’s
children, in-law children, grandchildren, and their
spouses, and great grandchild, are my father’s first family. MIT and the community
here is his second. My father lived
his life full tilt, in incredibly inclusive,
intentional, compassionate, and whole-hearted ways. Dad lived life in ways that left
no doubt about who he loved, what he cared for,
who he stood with, what he stood for, who and what
he was willing to work hard for, how he felt
about all of us, and what he hoped his life
would say after he was gone. He was passionate about
his family at home and his family in
this special place. And he loved the
connections between the two. My father squeezed so very
much out of all of his days here on earth. He was fully present to us and
his life had purpose, passion, and focus. Dad was all in. He used his time, talent,
and treasure for good. And even though we can’t
really quite yet believe that he is gone, I’m
going to share, first, on behalf of my amazing
and remarkable sisters. Amy first, and
these are her words, dad took us, especially
me and Virginia, all over the White Mountains and
Snowdonia Such happy memories on the trails,
beautiful scenery, and views from the top. There was a kind of magic
about getting up really early, driving to near the mountain,
stopping for breakfast, and then doing the climb. And since food is always
important to us Grays, the lunches and
snacks were awesome. Things we didn’t usually have,
I remember chocolate bars and juicy orange
sections in particular. The days were the start
of my deep love affair with the great outdoors. My own family made camping and
hiking a foundation of our life together. I keep thinking about
all the woodworking that Daddy has done with
all of us over the years. I remember the day
when I was little, probably eight or
nine years old, when he came home from MIT with
a glass-fronted bookcase that was being thrown out
from a library at MIT. We turned it into my doll house. We put wall partitions in
and wallpaper and painted. Of course, we even put
electricity in as well. It ran on a very large battery. I made beaded chandeliers and
we used tiny Christmas tree lights for the bulbs. It was so much fun
transforming a simple bookcase into something I wanted so
much with my father’s help. Dad worked with my husband,
Dave, on several projects at our house in Kennebunk. Together, they rebuilt
the screened in porch from the ground up to the roof. They repaired a very rotten
corner of our garage. And over a week, they
redid our kitchen, including relocating the
stove, rewiring the kitchen, building some new cupboards,
and laying new Formica on the countertop. Dave loved working with
daddy on these projects. No one had ever done that
sort of work with him before. Papa and Stephanie
built a bureau together. They started with discussing
plans and what she wanted. And then they built the whole
thing over a year’s time. Stephanie loved it. And I can attest to the
fact that the drawers still pull smoothly. It was very well
built. I also know that dad worked with
Hanna and Priscilla on woodworking projects. He loved sharing his skills
and his love of woodworking. Working with him over
the past few years, it has been very clear to me
how generous he was and is. Even as his mind
faded, he was always clear about the
organizations that he thought were important
to support and why. He was also very generous
with his time and energy, with the core four going
back to childhood, with help on homework or projects. And later, with
all of our spouses, and our children,
his grandchildren, he made himself available
and present in all our lives. And this was from a man
had lots of other people who wanted his time
and attention also. Being together and spending
time knowing each other was so important to dad. He and mom fostered the love,
friendship, and caring that happens between the 26 of us. I am deeply thankful for my
entire family and for the bonds that we share. And I’m deeply grateful to daddy
and mom for giving all of us that gift of family. Now, in Louise’s
words, Weasy, today we celebrate my dad,
grandfather to my children, a supportive and proud
father-in-law to my husband, Tim, and a leader at MIT. I want to share memories
I have of growing up with dad, Dr. Paul Gray, in our
home life and in our MIT life. There was a lot of overlap. We had family Friday
date nights, usually Regina’s pizza in the north end,
or Chinese food, or the faculty club in Cambridge, followed
by big ball bowling at MIT bowling alleys, or
swimming at the MIT pool, the old one, which
now looks very small. We loved visiting
Doc Edgerton’s lab. MIT day camp was a
part of every summer, as campers, and also many years
as counselors for some of us. All 12 grandchildren visited
mom and dad in the summer and loved being campers. Over the years, I
walked Gray Way, hand-in-hand with my
siblings, mom and dad, and the grandchildren. The Gray House was our
family home for 10 years. It was a welcoming home to
countless family gatherings, including three weddings. Amy and Dave, Andrew and
[? Yuki, ?] and me and Tim all got married there. The grandchildren
loved playing in what was known as the
Green forest, which is a space near the public
bathrooms on the bottom floor of the Gray House. Now the rug is white. It’s probably lucky
the kids have gone. We had two inaugurations to
attend, chancellor and then President, and both were held
in the truly amazing Gray courtyard. I have very many fond
memories of Gray House. I spent a lot of time there,
more than my siblings, since I am the baby. I went to Leslie University
at the other end of Cambridge. I recall coming home
one Friday afternoon to go on a date with my dad. I was unaware of the
Corporation meeting in the large living
room on the first floor. I came in singing,
anyone home who loves me? At the top of my lungs. To my surprise, and also his,
I encountered the treasurer of the Corporation at that
time in the front hall. He encouraged me to
be a little quieter. But dad came around the
corner with a giant dad hug. He introduced me
to the Corporation. He made it comfortable and
not so embarrassing for me. He always loved
having his kids around to introduce to his MIT family. His love and pride
were always tangible. I’m sure all my
siblings, our spouses, and the grandchildren
will agree that education was highly encouraged. Find your passion, what
interests you, what you are good at, and go after it. Don’t be afraid to step out
of your comfort zone, either. He encouraged the
core four to pursue our degrees and our interests. And mom and dad always
encouraged us and our partners to go after their interests. Our endeavors included higher
degrees, professional goals, and hobbies. Dad also enjoyed participating
in many of our interests with us, including fishing
with Tim and Andrew, home improvements, travel,
food, wine, hiking and biking, historical
field trips, and books on diverse topics. However, I do not
believe he ever knitted with us Gray ladies,
even though we invited him to join us many times. I want all of you to know
that my dad and mom loved the core four, the four more
spouses, and all the grands, just like his own children. And she will conclude by sharing
a classic Weasy-dad experience in really an iconic
family story. Learning to drive with dad
was an intense experience at our home. This is still Weasy. Dad was a secret
car loving junkie and he took good
care of his vehicles. He was also big on being able
to follow multi-step directions. Lastly, he taught that a
driver needs to just drive. I think I’d had some
drivers ed classes. I was still very new to driving. I chose the red BMW to
drive as a learner with dad. And we were on the Cape
on a beautiful morning. And he said, let’s go
for a drive, Louise. He didn’t call me Weasy. He called me Louise. So I think, all
right, I have this. All my safety nets are in place. The biggest of which
were the bracelets I wore on my left
arm, many of them really almost halfway up my arm. They were a tool
that Carol school taught me to help remember right
from left as a dyslexic kiddo. I got in the car. Dad said, you just
need to drive. Take off the bracelets. I tried to explain my thoughts. He said, they’re a distraction. Just take them off. Well, we did OK for a while. And then he gave me three
directions in a row to follow. Two rights and a left. Well, the last left
turned into a right drive through a wall of shrubs
into a backyard pool party. [LAUGHING] I hit the brakes,
thereby causing no damage to the guests. My father looked at me and told
me to get the hell out of here. Instead of driving down the
driveway in front of me, I backed out through the shrubs
that I had just driven through. We went home immediately. We came into the house. There was no yelling. There was no talking. It was still morning. Dad went to the
fridge and got a beer. I went to the
bathroom and threw up. After that, whenever
I went driving, dad asked if I had
my bracelets on. I did wear my bracelets. And from that point
forward, my sister Virginia, brother Andrew, and
mom taught me to drive. And as Virginia, I’ll tell
you that dad did go back that afternoon to the house
whose shrubs were damaged to make good on the damage. Lastly from Louise. From September 2014, after my
parents moved to Newbury Court till about a year ago, my dad
and I had dates almost every Tuesday. Sometimes we did errands
for the house and for mom. Sometimes we played. We loved to walk the paths
on the freedom trails. Of course, when you spend the
morning walking the trails you need to take
in some yummy food. The favorite local
destination for my dad was the Colonial Inn in Concord. Burger, fries, and
a tall Guinness. We developed the term 10 day. Dad and I had many 10 days. And just for the record,
on our Tuesday date days, he told me many times that
I was a very good driver. And now my words. My father was my hero. I looked up to him and
I wanted to be like him from the earliest
time I can remember. I was always proud
to be his daughter. He encouraged and
supported all of us. He challenged and stretched us. He loved and adored my
mother, my siblings and me unconditionally. And despite the pressures and
time involved in his work, he made himself
emotionally available to us through all the changes
and chances of this life. All the way through
my high school years, I would finish my homework
late, either with him sitting in his study or up in my room. I always had a check in
time with him before bed. He was invariably still up
and working at 11:00 or 12:00 at night. And when he woke
me up at 5:00 AM with a very loud electric buzzer
he installed in my third floor bedroom, he loved to lean on
that thing, dad, at 5:00 AM, was always shaved,
showered, and dressed. That was his work ethic. He never complained about
his hours or his work. It was just what he did. He often shared stories
about encounters that pleased or
inspired him at MIT, or a project he was working
on that excited him, or how he won a
squash game that day. Daddy was passionate about
his work and the people he worked alongside. He cared deeply for all the
people God put in his path. His principled
honesty, openness, and unwavering decency
always on display in his deeds and his words were
a life lesson and a life map for the four of us. My parents welcomed
all comers to our home and treated each
visiting student or academic like
esteemed family. I wanted to be a
doctor of medicine when I was in high school. In 1975, I graduated
high school and I went to a decent
liberal arts college and started the
pre-med curriculum. I had done well in high
school, but chemistry and math had definitely not been
my strong or long suit. And yes, you might see
an emerging theme here amongst the children. The first semester of my
freshman year was a disaster. The first failing grades I
had ever earned in my life were in that semester. I had to drop organic
chemistry and I only barely passed calculus because
I rode the Greyhound bus home every other weekend
so that dad could help me with my problem sets. He sat patiently next to me
as I worked the problems, never doing them
for me, but helping me see the process and
the ways to a solution. That year, during Christmas
vacation, dad sat down with me. And in the most tender
and loving way imaginable, he gently suggested that
I, and I quote him here, “make my studies
match my gifts.” His words. I took his advice and moved
in a different direction. It made dad smile
when I ended up working in the health
ministry for 15 years, healing work from a
different perspective. I know he was proud of me. And he was proud of my husband
and offered so much invaluable support and encouragement to
Tom as he worked on his PhD. Dad was present when Tom got
his degree in May of 2014. And I think dad was more excited
when Tom’s book was published than we were. Dad knew what effort
and commitment the degree and the book
required, and he was delighted. The fact that the book was a
history book about engineering made it kind of perfect. I want to end by reflecting
on my father’s character. His excellent, kind, and
loyal aide [INAUDIBLE] stood over his bed two days
before dad died and said, quote, “Paul goes
the extra distance.” Unquote. This was true
throughout his life. Dad was our very own
resident wise man. He could fix any broken thing,
solve any stubborn problem, dry a flood of
adolescent girl tears, pick the splinters out
of our hands and feet, comfort the lovelorn or
lonely, design an adventure or plan an amazing trip,
help with our math, science, social studies, and
English homework, and keep a watchful but low
key eye on our social lives. He fought for real people
and authentic inclusion, for equity and justice. He genuinely cared
about people and causes. And he had a sturdy,
steady, solid, no nonsense with a twinkle way about him. The first time I ever
saw my father cry was when the Reverend Dr. Martin
Luther King was assassinated. The second time was when he
had to put our first family dog down. Dad was part terrier, part
bulldog, park Teddy bear. He never expected
anything of us that he didn’t expect of himself. And his generosity
knew no limits. Dad was both strict and fair. He was often reserved,
but his natural way of listening more than he
spoke manifested a tender heart and an unparalleled knack for
connection and relationship. My father was a man who
could be trusted and relied upon in every situation
and circumstance of life. And as his
granddaughter Caroline puts it, in quote, “his
knowledge of all the things.” Despite dad’s success and
steadily advancing career, my father was a
deeply humble man. He was always more comfortable
in yard work clothes than dress up attire. And when he was
out in the world, he didn’t need to
be carefully kept and he didn’t crave
special attention. He also had a vast
appreciation for the people who work behind the
scenes to make things go. And he was fiercely loyal. Two stories demonstrate
these qualities. Amy recalls her move in day
at Wheaton College, where he had just been appointed
the chairman of the board. I quote Amy here. “Dad was named
chair of the board the summer before I entered
Wheaton as a freshman. The day we arrived on
campus to drop me off, we pulled into the parking
area closest to Stanton Hall where I lived my first year. It was not terribly close,
but we were in good company and we were managing. A security officer recognized
dad and said, Dr. Gray, you can pull right up in
front of the building. It will be much easier
to unload from there. Dad, without a single
pause, said, thank you. But we are fine where we are
with all the other families. Today, I am the father
of an incoming student.” Now I quote Martha Millican,
Weasy’s childhood BFF who is here today. “Paul Gray has been a part of
my life for a very long time. He was so very gentle and
kind to me growing up. My dad wasn’t around very
much and doctor and mom G took me in as one of their own. And boy, could they cook. In the early years, Paul would
come pick me up in the morning so Weasy and I could go to
school together, hand-in-hand. I remember him being concerned
that such little people shouldn’t walk so far alone. I knew I was a lucky girl. I was often included in
Gray family vacations. Overnights at Sheffield road
had two young girls staying up way too late with vast
amount of giggling. Overnights at the
president’s house were always filled
with adventure, lots of doors, more good food,
and the all important girl time. After I graduated
from college, I worked for Wellington
Management and MIT was one of our firm’s first
large institutionalist– was our firm’s largest
institutional client. Whenever Dr. Gray was
coming to Wellington for one of the frequent
investment management meetings, there would be a
buzz in the building. I was not involved in
managing MIT’s money, but each and every time that
Paul entered the offices, he would make a point of
finding me and giving me one of those wonderful bear hugs. He always made time
to check on me. And everybody wondered
why the president of MIT was finding Martha, sometimes
bearing flowers or taking her out to dinner. I knew it was because
I was a lucky girl and he was a lovely man.” There is a view out
there of the world that says that whoever we are
is accentuated by our aging. I believe that this
is largely true. Watching what disease
did to our Father over the past seven years is
one of the cruelest things that I have ever witnessed. However, as Alzheimer’s disease
slowly robbed and stripped our father of his brilliance,
competence, intellect, vast knowledge, problem solving
skills, woodworking gifts, and love of reading,
writing, and teaching, the essential
daddy or Paul still remained with his
dignity intact. The man who loved
people, who was humble to his very core,
the joyful, gentle man, the Teddy bearish
man who trusted God, who lit up whenever
his wife, a child, including his in-law
children, or a grandchild walked into the room. The friendly, hospitable,
and open gentleman who gave hugs or struck out his
hand, whether or not he could remember the person
standing in front of him. The sweet and affectionate
father, dedicated mentor, and colleague devoted to his
colleagues and his school. This man was with us to
the very end of his life. Maybe it is impolitic
to say this here at MIT, which is an
international leader of scientific research, and is
at the forefront of all things tech, but I’m going
to say it anyway. My father was a man of faith. He knew God’s grace and
he knew Jesus’ name. He always thought
that the arguments between sacred scripture and
science were a silly tangent. Dad perceived the
spark of the divine in the work of scientists and
engineers across the Institute, and in the best of
human collaboration and concentrated effort to
discover, invent, learn, teach, share, and advance anew. Dad saw the hand of God at work. Because he worshiped
a loving God and was a keen observer of
human beings and behaviors, he also knew that sometimes
we sabotage ourselves. Larry pointed out
his email address. We have met the enemy and he
is us, Pogo, his favorite tag line. Dad knew and understood
that to be human is to experience a
million Good Friday moments, moments of sadness,
challenge, betrayal, hardship, suffering, and pain. But dad also knew a Resurrection
Jesus, the Lord of love, and light, and love– love, light, and life. The Lord, who revealed by
his living and his dying, and by rising again that death
does not have the last word. Darkness does not prevail. Love always wins. There are risks to
being human, accidents and illness and tragedy unfold. Bodies get old and
disease happens. Beloved ones die and
the world seems to shift and we wonder if we
can move forward. But the truth of my father’s
faith is that love never dies. Relationship changes
but does not end. We carry our deceased loved
ones forward in our hearts in the way we live, and
remember, and celebrate. We don’t say goodbye. We say, until we meet again. I saw God over and over again
in these last painful years of my father’s life. I saw God in the care and love
our mother extended to dad every waking minute,
every single day. I saw it in the
care and love that this extraordinary
community of MIT extended to dad and mom and
us as dad’s health failed. God was in the small,
intermittent moments of connection and spark,
joy and recognition that dad savored right
to the end of his life. The last week of his life, as
we waited and watched and sat vigil, now looks a lot like
a parting gift from dad. The gift of connection and
love between our mother, the core four,
the four more, and the extended and beloved tribe
of grandchildren who are more like siblings than cousins. Memories and stories,
tears and laughter, good food prepared and shared,
favorite stories read aloud, and lots of hugs and
hand-holding prepared all of us to let go. It takes a village
to raise a child. It turns out it
also takes a village to help an elder die with
dignity and in comfort, and to help the bereaved
family move forward. You are all key
parts of our village. Thank you for all you have
done to support my father and mother and our family on
this final leg of my father’s journey. Thank you for the gift of
your presence and esteem, for the gift of your
love and devotion. Thank you for showing us
love over and over in ways that will sustain us and carry
us forward in the days to come. May our cherished father
and your cherished leader rest in peace. And may we honor him,
Paul, dad, Dr. Gray. May we honor him and
his legacy by our love, by our character
and our compassion, by our courage and
our conviction, by our willingness to
do good in the world, by always telling the
truth, and by our commitment to family, community,
honest, hard work, and all of God’s people. Amen. I’m Bob Millar, the 11th
chairman of MIT’s Corporation. Paul’s roots at MIT run
deep and they run wide. He came here in 1950. That was the same
year I was born. And from that point forward,
whether as an undergraduate or a graduate student, or a
professor, or a chancellor, or associate provost, president,
chairman, advisor, or mentor, Paul has, had been an integral,
active, and important part of MIT’s fabric. In fact, his presence
here spanned almost half of MIT’s entire existence. And while that statistic
alone is amazing, it doesn’t begin to
reflect all that Paul meant to us through his
friendship and his leadership, his wisdom, his foresight,
his energy, and his youth. There are some here who may
not have had the joy of knowing Paul personally. And there are and will
be many, many more in the future who will
be denied that honor. Nonetheless, we
are and ever will be the common beneficiaries
of his good work and his good life. That is, I believe,
what it means to have done so much
to build and nourish this great institution of MIT. We’re grateful
that Paul’s family continues to be part of MIT. And it’s an honor to
acknowledge and thank– and to thank them. Paul’s wife, Priscilla,
his son, Andrew, and his daughter, Virginia. I’d like to thank Rafael,
Shirley, Victor, Jim, Susan, Gerald, Andrew, Larry, Virginia,
for their poignant reflections, as well as Marcus and David
for the beautiful music. I’d also like to thank the
MIT police and the MIT ROTC for their presentations
of the flags. I’d like to invite all of
you to join Paul’s family in the Kresge oval
for a reception at the conclusion
of this service. And I think it’s now,
I want to introduce the MIT Chorallaries
who will sing the school song in Paul’s honor. And I’d like to thank the
students for being here. And invite everyone to join with
them during the second verse. Thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING] All rise, all ye of MIT,
and all your fellowship. The future beckons unto thee. And life is full and rich. Arise and raise
your glass on high, tonight shall ever
be a memory that will never die for ye of MIT. Thy sons and daughters, MIT,
return from far and wide. And gather here once more to
be renourished by thy side. And as we raise
our glasses on high to pledge our love
for thee, we join all those of days gone
by in praise of MIT. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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