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Gift from Alumnus and Donor Edward Gray Establishes William W. Boyer Endowed Professorship

Bill Boyer

William W. Boyer

Edward Gray

Edward C. Gray

Through the generosity and foresight of the late Edward C. Gray of Waterbury Center, Vermont, the College of Engineering has established the William W. Boyer Endowed Professorship in the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department, a distinguished position created to attract or retain outstanding faculty members to CEE.

Gray, a 1973 alumnus of the CEE department, supported the professorship with his endowment gift of $1.5 million. Gray died in 2021 and, in his will, endowed the Boyer Professorship in honor of his favorite professor’s instruction and guidance while Gray was a student here.

The purpose of the fund will be to help retain outstanding faculty who have made significant contributions to the academic reputation of the College of Engineering and to the performance of its students through activities such as nationally recognized research, appointment to professional association leadership posts, providing student experiential education opportunities, and cross-school or cross-campus collaborations.

The fund can also be used to attract outstanding faculty to the CEE department. The first recipient will be selected in Spring 2023.

Boyer was a central figure in the early development of the UMass Transportation Engineering Program in the 1950s and 1960s. Students of the program have gone on to become accomplished transportation engineers, entrepreneurs, and scholars.

Today, the College of Engineering is home to the UMass Transportation Center, which is responsible for promoting transportation research, education, and training throughout the Commonwealth.

Boyer is also credited with integrating computer applications into the transportation undergraduate and graduate curricula. In addition, he is remembered as the creator of an award-winning student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Gray was born in 1943 and brought up in Washington, D.C., and then Weston, Massachusetts. He graduated from the Noble and Greenough School, where he was the captain and star of the basketball team. After a year at Reed College, he served in the U.S. Army for four years. On his return, he decided to pursue a career in engineering and earned his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering at UMass Amherst.

After Gray graduated in 1973, he went on to earn his M.S. degree in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Illinois.

Later, Gray spent most of his career working for major engineering consulting firms in Chicago and New York. He worked on such significant construction projects as the Alaska Pipeline, the Washington, D.C., subway system, and Battery Park in New York City. (May 2022)