MORGANTOWN – The National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest association of African-American lawyers and judges in the United States, has named a new and distinguished award in the honor of West Virginia University Vice President for the Division of Student Affairs Ken Gray.

The Major General Kenneth D. Gray Excellence in Jurisprudence Award will recognize a leader, jurist or practitioner who has exhibited distinctive and exemplary service to their community and or nation.

“Recognizing Major General Gray’s outstanding military record and holding the distinction of being the first African American to serve as a Flag Officer Judge Advocate in any branch of service, we could think of no better person to have named this award after,” said president of the National Bar Association Patricia Rosier.

The inaugural award was presented Nov. 7 at a luncheon at the George Washington University Law School. In addition to celebrating Gray and the recipients’ service to the country, the event celebrated and honored service members and veterans for the armed services for their sacrifices on behalf of our nation.

Gray presented the award to Rear Admiral James W. Crawford, III. Crawford currently serves as the deputy judge advocate general for the United States Navy.

“It is an honor to have the National Bar Association’s Excellence in Jurisprudence Award carry my name and it will be a privilege to present the award to Admiral Crawford,” Gray said before the ceremony.

Gray arrived at WVU after a stellar 30-year military career. In 1997, he retired from the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps where he had reached the rank of major general and was the assistant judge advocate general. He held several significant assignments during his military career and was promoted to brigadier general in 1991. He was assigned as commander of the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency and Chief Judge of the U.S. Army Court of Military Review. In 1993, he was promoted to major general and sworn in as the Assistant Judge Advocate General of the Army.

His military awards and decorations include: the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit; Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal, with two Oak Leaf Clusters; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; and Army Staff Identification Badge.

Gray, born in Excelsior, received his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State College in 1966 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant from U.S. Army ROTC. In 1969, he earned his law degree from WVU and entered active duty in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

After more than 16 years as vice president for Student Affairs, Gray will retire effective with the appointment of his successor.

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