A gift from Kirby Gray, a 1945 electrical engineering bachelor’s degree graduate, established both the Kirby Gray Chair in Engineering and John Ryder Professorship in Engineering in 2009.
The Kirby Gray Chair in Engineering will be awarded to a leading faculty member in electrical, computer, or industrial engineering. The recipient of this chair will be recruited to Iowa State because of his or her success at creating knowledge or discoveries that will lead to new businesses and jobs in Iowa. The Iowa legislature shares these goals and matched the Kirby funds with an additional $500,000.
Gray, originally from northwest Iowa, entered Iowa State in 1942 and joined the wartime Navy V-12 program the following year. After completing midshipman training at Columbia University and graduating from Iowa State, he was stationed at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands of the South Pacific. Gray continued pursuing education upon returning to the United States, earning his business administration degree at Morningside College, attending the Iowa State graduate college for general engineering, and studying accounting at Northwestern University.
As a professional, Gray’s career took him across the country, working in Illinois, Texas, Colorado, and Minnesota. His job responsibilities were varied, reflecting his extensive educational experiences, and included positions in industrial engineering, cost accounting, financial reporting, and quality control; working with administrative, manual, and machine business systems; and auditing financial and computer information systems. He retired in 1986 and traveled for 10 years before joining the Green Hills retirement community in Ames, Iowa. He passed away in August 2008.
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