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United Negro College Fund president to speak Oct. 17 (Released: 9/28/95)

by Mark J. Roy, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- A former congressman who assisted in the U.S. effort to restore democracy to Haiti will deliver an address as part of the University of Connecticut's commemoration of human rights and the 50th anniversary of the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

William. H. Gray III, a former U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania who now heads the United Negro College Fund, joins President Clinton, U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright and Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel as a leading participant in the four-day program Oct. 15 - 18. The program, which will begin with the dedication of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center Oct. 15, will launch a year-long observance with the theme Fifty Years After Nuremberg: Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

Gray, who is president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund, will discuss human rights issues Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. in the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre.

Clinton appointed Gray as a temporary, unpaid special advisor to the President on Haiti in May 1994. In that role, which concluded in September 1994, Gray assisted the President in developing and carrying out a policy to restore democracy in Haiti. He received the Medal of Honor from Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide earlier this year.

Gray served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1978 to 1991. As chair of the Democratic Caucus and later as Majority Whip, he was the highest ranking African-American ever to serve in Congress. Gray was an advocate for historically black colleges and universities through his support of set-aside programs at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He also was a co-sponsor of the Black College Act, which provides formula-driven federal funds for the enhancement of programs, faculty and facilities at historically black universities and colleges.

As the first African-American to chair the House Budget Committee, Gray was a leading advocate for strengthening America's educational system. Gray also played a key role in implementing economic sanctions against South Africa as the author of the 1985 and 1986 sanctions bills. As budget committee chair for four years, Gray earned a reputation as a consensus-builder and was chief point person in budget negotiations between Congress and the Reagan administration.

As head of the nation's oldest and most successful black higher education assistance organization, Gray has led the United Negro College Fund to new fund-raising records while cutting costs and expanding programs and services. About a third of the nearly $1 billion raised in the organization's 50-year history has been collected during Gray's tenure.

Gray's father served as president of two black colleges: Florida A&M University and Florida Memorial College. His mother was a dean at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. His grandfather was a college professor, as is his sister.

Hailing from a family of ministers as well as educators, Gray has been pastor of the 5,000- member Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia for more than 20 years, where his father and grandfather also served. He earned a bachelor's degree at Franklin and Marshall College, a master's degree in divinity from Drew Theological Seminary, and a master's in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has been awarded more than 50 honorary degrees from American colleges and universities.

Gray lives in Vienna, Va., with his wife, Andrea. They have three sons.

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