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Who are Mary and John Gray?

Mary (Hahn) and John Gray

The two namesakes of the present Lamar Library have been considered the "First Family" of the university for as long as anyone can remember. In fact, John Gray (d. 2002) and Mary Hahn (d. 1996) were among the 125 students that comprised the original enrollment of South Park Junior College in 1923. They had known each other in high school and would later marry.

From 1932 to 1939, Dr. Gray served as Head Coach, Athletic Director and Dean of Men at what was then called Lamar College. In 1941, John Gray became President of Lamar College. During his presidency, Dr. Gray oversaw many of the land negotiations which led to the current location of the campus. In 1952, one year after seeing the institution became a four-year school under the name of Lamar State College of Technology, Dr. Gray left to go into the banking field.

However, in 1972, after the institution had been granted university status as Lamar University, then-President Frank Thomas decided to step down and return to the classroom. Dr. Gray, who had retired from banking, was asked to fill in "temporarily" as president for a second time. This temporary appointment would last four years and carry him into his seventieth year. The majority of those years had revolved around Lamar University in all of its incarnations.

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