January 27, 2016
Henry L. “Buddy” Gray
DALLAS (SMU) – A lifelong passion for family, teaching and research was celebrated Jan. 15 when the children of retired SMU faculty member Henry L. “Buddy” Gray and his wife, Rebecca, surprised their parents with a $1.5 million planned gift in their honor.
The gift, made by the Gray’s son, M. Scott Gray ’90, and his partner, Duane Minix, on behalf of all of the Gray’s children, will establish the Henry L. and Rebecca A. Gray Endowed Chair in Statistical Science in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
“SMU has been my life,” Buddy Gray said at a ceremony in Heroy Hall.
Scott Gray said love for his work defined his father, who frequently exclaimed: “Can you believe we get paid to do this!”
Scott Gray added that Rebecca "Becky" Gray was an equal partner with his Dad. “Mom gave as much to this institution as Dad.” Scott Gray, who served as student body president while at SMU, maintains fond memories of the University. “When I think of every organization that’s had an impact on my life, SMU is at the top of the list,” he said.
At the ceremony, Robert Gray ’87 read from a letter written by his father to his family 10 years before, which expressed gratitude and appreciation for the support of his wife, Becky, and their children while he pursued his professional passion as a mathematical sciences researcher. “Dad was excited about what he was doing every day,” Robert Gray said.
Kelly Gray Doughty thanked her parents and shared several nuggets of advice imparted by her father over the years. Among them: “Practice gratitude every day, because it’s the single most perfect prayer.”
Chair of SMU’s Department of Statistical Science Wayne Woodward, a former student of Buddy Gray, praised Gray for his devotion to research and teaching. “As a mentor and role model, I couldn’t have found a better one.”
Thomas DiPiero, dean of Dedman College, thanked the Gray family for their support and service to SMU and Buddy Gray for his contributions to the field of mathematical science, declaring Gray a “true pioneer.”
Buddy Gray worked at SMU from 1973 to 2004 in the Department of Statistical Science with a joint appointment in the Department of Mathematics as the C.F. Frensley Professor of Mathematical Science from 1973-2004. During that time he also served in several administrative roles, including as dean of Dedman College from 1989-91.
The commitment to fund the Henry L. and Rebecca A. Gray Endowed Chair in Statistical Science counts toward SMU Unbridled: The Second Century Campaign, which concluded on Dec. 31 and raised more than $1 billion to support student quality, faculty and academic excellence, and the campus experience.
“Commitments accomplished through estate and gift planning, such as the bequest intention that will establish this endowment, are vital to our fundraising success,” said Brad E. Cheves, vice president for Development and External Affairs. “These planned gifts allow our supporters to plan for their own financial security in a tax effective way, while also providing for their families and the institutions they love.”
(l. to r.) SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad E. Cheves, Becky Gray and Buddy Gray, as well as the Grays' family, friends and colleagues.