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National Bar Assoc. Names award after WVU VP

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The National Bar Association, which is 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 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 his or her 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 Patricia Rosier, president of the National Bar Association. 

The inaugural award was presented Nov. 7 at a luncheon at the George Washington University Law School. 

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

The event celebrated and honored both Gray's and the Crawford's service to the country as well as the sacrifices service members and veterans for the armed services provide on behalf of the nation.

"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.

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

He announced in mid-August he would retire after more than 16 years as vice president for student affairs once his successor is appointed.

Gray had a 30-year military career before arriving at WVU, and in 1997 he retired from the U.S. Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps. He had reached the rank of major general and was the assistant judge advocate general there. Gray also had several significant assignments during his military career and was promoted to brigadier general in 1991 and was assigned as commander of the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency and Chief Judge of the U.S. Army Court of Military Review.

He was promoted to major general and sworn in as the Assistant Judge Advocate General of the Army in 1993.

Gray's 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.

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