William Dudley Gray
In Botany at SIUC from 1964 to 1970
William Gray, a native of Jeffersonville Indiana, graduated with distinction as a Rector Scholar from DePauw University (Greencastle, Indiana) in 1933 with an A.B. degree. He continued on doing graduate work at DePauw and then went to the University of Pennsylvania where he received his Ph.D. in 1938. In 1938-39 he was a National Research Council fellow at the University of Wisconsin. He served as an instructor of Botany at Swathmore College (Pennsylvania) as well as Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). He attained the rank of Associate Professor at Iowa State College. In 1960 he joined the faculty of Ohio State University and during his 17 years there attained the rank of Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. He received the Outstanding Alumni Award from DePauw University in 1965. He was also a Fulbright lecturer at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
Dr. Gray's area was Mycology, specifically focusing his studies on the use of fungi for producing protein and alcohol tolerance of yeast. He worked as a consultant in microbiology with the Biospecialties branch of the Aeromedical Laboratories at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. For two years he served as associate chief, then chief of the Biological Laboratory, U.S. Quartermaster Depot in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He received national and international attention from his work that developed methods to use waste plant products to culture fungi that are processed as high-protein food supplements for humans or domesticated animals. His goal was to implement these technologies to reduce world food shortages.
In addition to students who completed doctoral degrees under his supervision, Dr. Gray sponsored international researchers, such as Devinder S. Chahal (Assistant professor at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India) whose studies involved growing fungi on wood pulp supplemented with inorganic nitrogen to produce protein (see Daily Egyptian July 27, 1965). This work lead to him being named to the joint AIBS and NASA council on space age research, formed to investigate basic biological questions associated with manned earth orbit and space missions.
Dr. Gray spent six years in the Botany Department at SIU before accepting a position at Northern Illinois University that began September 8, 1970. He died in 1990.