The MIT Awards Convocation honors students, faculty, staff and community members who have made outstanding contributions to the shared life of the Institute. The nearly 30 awards given at the convocation are named for some of MIT's most influential figures. "The People Behind the Awards" series showcases an award's namesake.
The MIT Public Service Center (PSC) promotes service and leadership in the MIT community, Boston and the world. Each year, the PSC honors its co-founder, Priscilla King Gray, with an award commemorating her contribution of service to the community.
The Priscilla King Gray Award was established by the Undergraduate Association and the Public Service Center, and recognizes an undergraduate for their public service at MIT and its surrounding communities.
“The award recognizes MIT undergraduates who are exceptionally committed to public service, or more simply, are 'like Priscilla,’” says Sally Susnowitz, assistant dean and director of the PSC. “The Priscilla King Gray Award is important to the PSC because it is a regular and lasting reminder of how Priscilla's dedication to public service brought the PSC into existence and how MIT students continue this legacy.”
“The Award is a way of reaching out and giving these extraordinary young people the recognition and pat on the back which they deserve,” Gray says. “I am very proud of them.”
Gray is the wife of Paul Gray '54, SM '55, ScD '60, MIT’s 14th president from 1980 to 1990. Her legacy at MIT is one of service and volunteerism that continues to inspire students and faculty to give back to their community. She remains dedicated to her many causes, and is a champion for service in Boston and at MIT.
“It has been a privilege for me to be part of the MIT Public Service Center and to watch the MIT students take part in all the various kinds of public service imaginable here in our own country and around the globe,” Gray says. “Their enthusiasm and energy are inspiring and their intelligence and creative abilities are a gift to all they help.”
Gray says her interest in volunteering began at home through the example of her mother, who was invovled in various causes around the community. When Gray came to MIT, she took this idea of service to a whole new level. She was involved in many causes, both at MIT and around the Boston community. She was a dedicated volunteer at Children’s Hospital, and rarely missed a Wednesday working there. She taught crewel embroidery, provided service and guidance to the MIT community, and raised four children of her own.
Gray played an integral role in shaping the MIT Women’s League, and was a co-founder of the MIT Public Service Center in 1988. This year, the Public Service Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary, making the Priscilla Gray Award particularly significant in honoring the woman who was so instrumental in its establishment. She has remained an advocate for the MIT Public Service Center during her time at MIT and after.
She is an honorary member of the MIT Alumni Association and was presented with its Bronze Beaver Award in 1990 in recognition of her service.
Nominations for the 2013 MIT Awards Convocation are open through March 15. Visit the MIT Awards Convocation website to learn more and to nominate a student for the Priscilla King Gray Award. The Awards Convocation ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 25, at 4:00 pm in 10-250.