WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2018 — The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will honor Major Gen. (Ret.) Kenneth D. Gray, a native of McDowell County, W. Va., and the first African-American general in the history of the active Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, with its 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award for his commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 3, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.
“Major Gen. Kenneth Gray has made a lasting mark by promoting racial diversity in the Army JAG Corps by expanding recruiting efforts and introducing an internship program that still gives minority and other law students an opportunity to sample life as a JAG before committing to a military career,” said Will Gunn, chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.
Gray received his B.A. degree in political science from West Virginia State College in 1966 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Reserve Officers Training Corps. In 1969, he received his J.D. from West Virginia University’s College of Law, where he was the only African-American student for the entire three years he attended.
After law school, Gray served on active duty in the JAG Corps and eventually became the Army Deputy Judge Advocate General. He is a graduate of the Judge Advocate General’s School Basic and Advanced Courses at the University of Virginia, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. Gray graduated with honors from the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Following his military career, he served as vice president for student affairs at West Virginia University in Morgantown.
The ABA Spirit of Excellence Award Luncheon will be held Saturday, Feb. 3, from noon to 2 p.m. PT at the Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
A photo of Gray is available for download here.
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