FLORENCE, S.C. – The James Bryan Gray Chair in Microbiology and the Mamie Cole Gray Chair in Mathematics have been established at Francis Marion University.
The chairs were established by Martin D. Gray of La Jolla, Calif., in honor of his parents, who reside in Florence.
Each chair will be endowed in the amount of $150,000. The purpose of the chairs is to honor current or future faculty members for their academic excellence, integrity and professionalism in their field.
The microbiology chair will be awarded to a faculty member in the Department of Biology and the mathematics chair will be awarded to a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics. The awarding of the chairs may also be used as a recruiting incentive for new faculty members in the respective departments. The chairs are expected to be awarded in August 2004.
Florence natives James and Mamie Gray worked and lived in Washington, D.C., and Boston before returning to their hometown to retire approximately 15 years ago. James, a bacteriologist, worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and was also an entrepreneur. Mamie was a middle-school mathematics teacher and currently volunteers at Carolinas Hospital System.
Their son, Martin, is an electrical engineer who has also donated money to his alma mater, the California Institute of Technology. “I came to realize how much further money would go at FMU and how much more it’s needed,” he said. “Endowing these chairs is my small way of doing what my parents have always spent time doing – supporting education. I wanted to support the community my mother and father were born in, which has also given so much to me.”
#26 / 9-15-03