T H E M E S S E N G E R , W I N T E R 2 0 1 3
Honoring JohnDelton
Gray: 1919–2012
by Terry Reese, Gray Family Chair for Innovative Library Services
ow do you size up the measure of a man? Is it
through his accomplishments, his renown, the
wealth and success achieved? It’s a question I’ve
been pondering as I reflect on the passing of Mr. John
Gray. By any one of these measures, Mr. Gray was success-
ful many times over, but in attending his memorial service
and speaking with his family, I came to realize that he was
so much more than his accomplishments and everyone he
and his wife Betty touched, were better for it.
OSU Libraries has been a long time beneficiary of the
Gray family. Not only was John an OSU alumnus, but he
and his wife Betty Gray had a special relationship with the
OSU Libraries. They supported the OSU Libraries build-
ing campaign, funded the Oregon Explorer Land Use
Portal and endowed the Gray Family Chair for Innovative
Library Services, a position that I now hold. But Mr.
Gray’s involvement in the state went far beyond OSU. Mr.
Gray served as a long-time trustee at Reed College, en-
dowed the John Gray Endowed Chair for Cancer Research
at OHSU, and, created the Gray Family Foundation to
support environmental literacy to ensure that the philan-
thropic work started by him and his wife would benefit
future generations of Oregonians. At the OSU Libraries,
the Gray Family Chair has been a touch-stone for innova-
tion. The original vision for this endowed position came
from John and Betty Gray who sought to create a position
that would move the OSU Libraries forward, and position
the OSU Libraries to lead in the new emerging digital
landscape. The Grays saw the encroachment of technology
into what has largely been an analog profession, and un-
derstood the need for a bridge across the past, present, and
future of the library profession.
Within my role as the Gray Family Chair, I’ve dedicated
a good deal of my time to working for the underserved
John Gray at an event September 2011. (Photo courtesy of the Oregon Community
Giving to OSU Libraries
and Press
If you are thinking of giving a gift please contact
Kevin Heaney at
or at
and unserved people of Oregon. In 2009, while attending
a meeting at the Oregon State Library, the then State
Librarian Jim Scheppke talked about the growing popula-
tion of underserved residents in the state. Nearly 20% of
Oregonians fell outside of library districts and were unable
to access resources purchased for them on their behalf by
the State Library. Since access to these materials has tradi-
tionally been managed through the state’s public library
system, residents living outside of the system were essen-
tially frozen out. The State Library was looking for partners
with ideas and, OSU Libraries stepped up to help create
the Libraries of Oregon
help underserved residents connect with libraries, advocate
on their behalf, and make access to state-licensed materials
available to the user. It is work that I believe that John and
Betty Gray would have been proud of and would have
actively supported.
The generosity of John and Betty Gray will live on
through their family, their foundation, and the many lives
that they have touched. And like so many people in Or-
egon, I’d like to thank them for their vision and their
passion for people and their unwavering support for the
next generation.
1,2,3,4,5,6 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16