Gray’s Way: A Recommended Path
Black Issues is to be commended for the excellent interview and article regarding the exceptional accomplishments of the United Negro College Fund’s chief executive officer, Bill Gray that appeared in your Sept. 30, 1999, edition.
Gray’s accomplishments as a fund-raiser, public policy advocate and coalition builder for minorities in higher education is unequaled. Notwithstanding the views of his detractors, his record of accomplishment speaks for itself. I do, however, want to correct two misstatements in the article.
First, Bill Gray’s work in implementing several federal initiatives — e.g. U.S. Department of Defense Infrastructure, the Tertiary Education Linkages Project with the South African Historically Disadvantaged Institutions, the Institute for International Public Policy, etc. — all underscore his willingness and ability to work with others in the higher education community. UNCF and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education’s legitimate disagreement with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities with regards to the modifications HACU sought to make in the Title III was both misunderstood and overblown.
Second, your article states that Dr. Frederick Humphries, president of Florida A&M “advocated a plan to increase funding for a second group of nine public and two private schools.” This simply is not true. During a meeting held in New Orleans on Dec. 8, 1997, that was attended by 14 of the 16 then eligible historically Black colleges and Universities graduate and professional schools, Humphries’ approach to section 326 funding was rejected on a series of 13 to 1 votes without regard to sector or academic discipline.
Again, my congratulations on a solid story about Bill Gray’s leadership role in advancing minority access to higher education and the institutional interests of UNCF colleges and universities, in particular, and America’s historically Black colleges and universities, in general.
William A. Blakey
Dean Blakey & Moskowitz
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