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Chairman of the Board, Pan American World Airways

Honorary Doctor of Science



Background information is taken from a University of Detroit press release in University archive files. Capt. Gray, a member of the University of Detroit's College of Engineering Class of 1928, was elected Chairman of the Board of Pan American World Airways in 1968, succeeding Juan T. Trippe, the man who had hired him as a Pan Am's 10th pilot in 1929. Capt. Gray had studied aeronautical engineering at U. of D. and had flown the famous Ford Tri-Motors for Ford Motor Co. before joining Pan Am. His first assignment as a Pan Am pilot was to fly the then treacherous jungle and mountain route over Central American. He qualified as the airline's first Master of Ocean Flying Boats, the highest Pan Am rating in 1934. After a short assignment in Pan Am's new passenger service across the Pacific, Capt Gray was assigned to the Atlantic in 1937. He conducted the first survey flights to Bermuda, Ireland, Southampton, the Azores, Lisbon and Marseilles. He was in command of the Yankee Clipper on the first passenger flight across the Atlantic in 1939. In 1947, Capt. Gray gave up the flight deck for an administrator's desk. He has been an officer of the company since 1949 when he was elected a vice president in charge of the Pacific-Alaska Division and, in 1952 he became executive vice president in charge of the Atlantic Division. It was while holding these positions that Capt. Gray mapped out the routes which Pan Am pioneered across the Atlantic and Pacific. Capt. Gray was elected a member of the Board of Director in 1959 and, later that year, he became executive vice president of the Overseas Division, formed by the merger of the Atlantic and Pacific-Alaska Divisions. In 1964, he was named president of Pan Am, a position he held until being elected Chairman of the Board in 1968.

University of Detroit

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