Portrait of Donald Gray

In Memorium

Emeritus Professor Donald Gray (1936-2022)

Portrait of Donald Gray
Emeritus Professor Donald H Gray

CEE emeritus faculty member Donald Gray passed away on November 30, 2022. Prof. Gray received all of his degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. He earned a B.S. in Geological Engineering (1959), M.S. in Petroleum Engineering (1961), and PhD in Civil  Engineering (1966). While at Berkeley, he was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the Order of the Golden Bear. He was appointed an Assistant Professor in U-M CEE in 1966, and was promoted to full Professor in 1975. Prof. Gray was appointed to the U-M Board-in-Control of Intercollegiate Athletics and also served on the Board of the Nichols Arboretum, including a term as president. 

Prof. Gray’s specialty areas were geotechnical engineering and slope stability. He taught graduate and undergraduate courses on engineering property of soils, soil and site   improvement, engineering geology, foundation engineering, and biotechnical slope protection. His principal research interests were in the areas of slope stability, earth reinforcement, and soil bioengineering.

Prior to his career in academia, Prof. Gray’s industrial experience included a position as petroleum engineer with Mobil International Oil Company from 1959-1960. He was also employed as a research engineer with Chevron Research Company from 1963-1966. He served as a consultant to both private and  government agencies, including British Petroleum Exploration  Ltd, US Corps of Engineers, US National Park Service, Ford Motor Co. and EBASCO Engineering Corp. Prof. Gray was a principal author of two books on biotechnical slope stabilization and the author of more than 100 papers and technical articles in journals and proceedings.

In 2001, Prof. Gray retired from active teaching at U-M. He continued to participate in workshops and professional short courses, and enjoyed working as an expert witness in legal cases. He received the Ralph Peck Award and presented the award lecture at the 2013  Geo-Congress. The award recognizes outstanding contributions by individuals to the geotechnical engineering profession. 

Prof. Gray was born in San Salvador, El Salvador, on December 14, 1936, to British parents. His family moved to the United States in 1948 and settled in the San Francisco area. Prof. Gray is survived by his wife, Marcelle Gray; sons Ian Gray and Colin Gray; step-daughters, Eileen Storer-Smith and Jeannie Thrall; and grandchildren Calvin, Spencer and Eliza Thrall, Luther Smith, and Eva Gray. Ian, Colin and Jeannie attended and graduated from U-M. Grandson Luther Smith is currently a student at U-M CEE.


Portrait of Mason Hinawi
Mason Hinawi

Marketing Communications Specialist
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering