Professor Paul E. Gray ’54
MIT President, 1980-90
28th Annual MLK Leadership Award
Professor Paul E. Gray played a key role in establishing MIT's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration when he was chancellor in 1975.
While he was president from 1980-90, Gray was committed to increasing opportunities at all levels for minorities on campus. During his tenure in that post, he traditionally started the MLK Celebration by leading a procession from the steps of 77 Massachusetts Ave. to Kresge Auditorium to hear the keynote speaker.
At the final breakfast of his presidency in 1990, he reminded the audience that Dr. King had devoted his life--indeed, had given his life--in support of "the simple proposition that every person--black or white or brown, young or not young, female or male, Asian or Caucasian, rich or poor--brings unique qualities, talents and dignity to our world...
"It is a simple proposition, but acting on it--organizing our actions and reactions, our patterns of life, work and culture in accordance with it--is difficult indeed," he said. "All recorded history is pervaded by--indeed largely organized by--terrible examples of humanity's inhumanity to fellow beings."