Broadcast Pioneers Member Gordon Gray
Broadcast Pioneers Luncheon
The Bala Golf Club, Philadelphia
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Broadcast Pioneer Gordon Gray lived a long meaningful life. Dr. Gray presided over the expansion of Temple University’s Radio, Television and Film department from 1967 to 1979. Thanks to Dr. Gray’s leadership Temple’s RTF was the biggest department of its kind in the 1980s.
Gordon L. Gray was born in Hampton Iowa and for 87 years until his passing in 2011 he compiled a remarkable record in academia. His connection to broadcast journalism began in 1948 when he became a radio newsman and later a broadcast coordinator for NBC-TV.
His academic career is a long record of accomplishment: a bachelor’s degree in Theater at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa (1948), a masters and doctorate from Northwestern University (1951 & 1957), associate professor of TV and radio at Michigan State University, Fullbright Scholar at Leeds University, England (1965-1966), then on to Philadelphia to head Temple’s RTF department. His dissertation was entitled, "Television and the National Nominating Convention of 1952."
A friend described Dr. Gray as a gentleman in speech manner and dress. He always wore a shirt, tie and jacket at school. In an University PR piece issued October 29, 2978, Dr. Gray said:
In 1967, there were 100 undergraduate majors. This year there are 1200. During this time there was very little increase in the number of jobs in radio and television.... Our students get a lot of hands-on hardware experience, but knowing how to use the equipment is not all. The camera and the microphone are to RTF students as paint and brushes are to an art student.
His passions were antiques and New Orleans Jazz, which included an annual trip to the Big Easy to renew his love for the music. Decades ago, he served as a vice-president of the Broadcast Pioneers.
Former President (1985-1986) and Chairman of the Board (1986-1987) of Broadcast Pioneers, Robert Smith, who was the Dean of Temple's School of Communications and Theater from 1978 to 1996 said:
Temple grew because Gordon was able to recruit outstanding people, really strong faculty members from other universities. And that was because he didn't try to be a star. He enjoyed setting the stage so that others could perform to their very best. He and his wife had a passion for antiques. Each room in their homes was decorated like a museum. They loved English 19th-century furnishings.
Dr. Gray passed away on October 26, 2011 from pancratic cancer at the Bodwell Hospice in Brunswick, Maine. Dr. Gray was survived by his wife, Barbara and the couple's two sons, David and Jonathan.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Gerry Wilkinson
Bio written by Broadcast Pioneers member Dick Sheeran
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