Among the nation's most respected and influential leaders, the Honorable William H. Gray retired in 2004 after serving for thirteen years as president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the nation's oldest and most successful higher education assistance organization for African Americans. During Gray's tenure, the UNCF raised more than $1.5 billion and significantly increased the number of scholarship programs sponsored by the consortium of thirty-nine private, accredited, historically black colleges and universities.
Gray was elected to the Congress in 1978 and served twelve years in office, during which he was the first African American to chair the House Budget Committee. As chairman of the Democratic Caucus and later as the first African American Majority Whip, Gray held the number three position in the House leadership. Gray also served under Clinton as the Special Advisor to the President and to the Secretary of State on Haiti. His political engagement has also included involvement with the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care and the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
Gray served as a trustee to University of Virginia's Darden Graduate School of Business Administration as well as the Chairman Emeritus of Gray Global Advisors. Gray's career also included leadership positions in Dell, Inc., JPMorgan Chase, and Pfizer.
The son of clergymen, Gray was also Senior Minister of Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia for over three decades.
William H. Gray III died on July 1, 2013.