Bridge Leader Interview: Paul E. Gray (2002)
Interviewee: Paul Gray
Interviewer: Clarence G. Williams
Date: April 3, 2002
About the Interviewee
Paul Edward Gray '54, SM '55, ScD '60 (1932-2016) was MIT's 14th president from 1980 to 1990.
Assistant Professor, 1960-1964
Associate Professor, 1964-1967
Professor in 1967
MIT Class of 1922 Professor of Electrical Engineering, 1968-1971
Associate Dean for Student Affairs, 1965-1967
Associate Provost, 1969-1970
Dean of the School of Engineering, 1970-1971
President of MIT, 1980-1990
Chairman of the MIT Corporation, 1990-1997
Programs at MIT that Gray helped to establish: Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the Leaders for Manufacturing Program, and the affiliation with the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.
Gray was chairman of the Task Force on Educational Opportunity, 1968-1973, and encouraged curriculum reforms in the 1980s that strengthened the humanities, social sciences, and biology in the undergraduate curriculum.
The Bridge Leadership Program
The Bridge Leadership Program was developed by Clarence G. Williams at MIT.
This program provides perspectives and developments of new insights based on the concept “Bridge Leadership” that emerged in Technology and the Dream: Reflections on the Black Experience at MIT, 1941-1999 (MIT Press, 2001). The concept developed from the investigator’s view as an important element in the educational experiences of black students and faculty members at MIT. It defined a small core of mostly non-black faculty and administrators who worked diligently, along with the limited number of underrepresented faculty and students, to bridge divisions at the university based on race. While this book focused on the black experience, a new phase of the “bridge leadership” concept was broadened over the past nine years to include not only race but culture and ethnicity as well. The project has developed through interaction beyond MIT with over sixty former and current presidents, senior faculty and administrators at 17 major universities and educational institutions. What has surfaced from interviews and fact findings from these institutions (see lists of “bridge leaders” and “bridge leader targets”) is a core of identifiable characteristics associated with “bridge leader” professionals, both faculty and administrators who work to transform their campuses into a more welcoming, nurturing environment for minorities and other individuals from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.