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Elmon T. Gray Papers

Identifier: MS-0504
Misc. Personal papers, including various subject files, some photographs, and many certificates/commendations. Topics include childhood/boy scouts; Navy service; political career (1 scrapbook, 1971); and service to VMI; cadet class notebooks for organic chemistry. This collection does not include any significant correspondence, either personal or professional.


  • 1931 - 2010

Conditions Governing Access

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Conditions Governing Use

Manuscript collections in the VMI Archives are made available for educational and research use. The VMI Archives should be cited as the source. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright holders. Materials from our collections may not be redistributed, published or reproduced without permission from the VMI Archives. Contact the VMI Archives for additional information.


4 boxes

4 cubic feet

Biographical / Historical

Elmon T. Gray (VMI Class of 1946; b. 1925 d. 2011) entered VMI in 1942, left in 1944 to serve in the U.S. Navy, and returned to graduate in 1947. He joined his family's business, Gray Lumber Co., based in Waverly, VA. He also served on numerous corporate boards, including Virginia Electric and Power Company, First and Merchants National Bank, James River Bankshares Ltd. and Universal Corp. In 1972, Gray became a member of the Senate of Virginia, filling the same seat his father had held. During two decades of senatorial service, he was a member of many key committees and was widely respected by colleagues of both parties. As the longtime chairman of the Senate’s Education and Health Committee, he was one of the leaders in the effort that markedly improved higher education throughout Virginia. He also was instrumental in the creation of the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington. In March 2009, VMI recognized his service to the Commonwealth by presenting him the Harry F. Byrd Jr. ’35 Public Service Award. Gray had a great love of Virginia history. This led to his service as a trustee of the Virginia Historical Society, the Historic Petersburg Foundation, and the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation. Within the VMI family, Gray was known for his exceptional devotion to VMI. He served as the president of the Board of Visitors from 1964 to 1966 and as the president of the VMI Alumni Association from 1971 to 1973. He was one of the lead contributors and co-general chairmen of The VMI Campaign, the first capital campaign on VMI’s behalf, which ran from 1978 to 1990. Many of the endowments that support VMI’s educational excellence were established during this time. In 1980, the Institute’s Board of Visitors awarded him VMI’s highest honor, the New Market Medal. He was presented with the VMI Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award and the VMI Keydet Club’s Spirit of VMI Award in 1977 and 1991, respectively. In 2007, the Institute further honored him by naming its renovated baseball field Gray-Minor Stadium. G. Gilmer Minor III ’63 was the other honoree.

Physical Location

Manuscripts Stacks; and oversized manuscripts stacks shelf

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450