Leading by Example (+)

Harry Gray
Photo by Verity Smith

Harry Gray, the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry, has a knack for grooming academic leaders. At last count, six protégés who have passed through his lab over the past 50 years have gone on to lead universities, and 125 are professors of chemistry at institutions worldwide.

Those colleagues who went on to lead universities are:

  • Dave Dooley (PhD ’79), president at University of Rhode Island (2009-present)
  • Greg Geoffroy (PhD ’74), president of Iowa State University
    (2001-2012)
  • Holden Thorp (PhD ’89), chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    (2008-2013) (now provost at Washington University in St. Louis)
  • T. Manoharan, vice chancellor* of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (1997-1999)
  • K. Poon, president of Hong Kong Polytechnic (1990-2008)
  • Mark Wrighton (PhD ’72), chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis (1995-present)

In addition, many of Gray’s former graduate students and postdocs are on the faculties of Harvard, Penn State, Cornell, University of Chicago, Northwestern, University of Illinois, Purdue, Berkeley, Stanford, and UC San Diego. Steve Mayo, Caltech’s Bren Professor of Biology and Chemistry and the William K. Bowes Jr. Leadership Chair of the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, was also a student of Gray’s, as were Caltech faculty members Nate Lewis (BS ’77, MS ’77), the George L. Argyros Professor and Professor of Chemistry, George Rossman (PhD ’71), the Eleanor and John R. McMillan Professor of Mineralogy, and Jay Winkler (PhD ’84).

* Madras’s vice chancellor position is equivalent to that of a university president.
‡ Manoharan was a graduate student of Gray’s while both were at Columbia University