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C. Boyden Gray (1943-2023)

The American Academy in Berlin mourns the loss of longtime trustee and friend C. Boyden Gray (pictured right in the above 2008 photo), who passed away on May 21, 2023, at his home in Washington, DC. He was 80 years old.

Gray was an American lawyer and diplomat who served as White House Counsel from 1989 to 1993 and as United States Ambassador to the European Union from 2006 to 2007. He was a founding partner of the Washington, DC-based law firm Boyden Gray & Associates LLP. Born in Winston-Salem, NC, in 1943, he dedicated his life to shaping the legal and political landscape of the United States. Throughout his career he was widely respected for his intellect, integrity, and commitment to public service.

Gray graduated from Harvard University in 1964 and then attended the University of North Carolina Law School. After clerking for Chief Justice Earl Warren, he joined the firm of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering (now Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr) in 1968. He became a partner in 1976.

His passion for public policy led him to serve in various government roles, most prominently as White House Counsel under President George H.W. Bush. Gray’s legal acumen and astute understanding of policy matters made him a trusted advisor to numerous administrations. He was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in 1993.

Gray’s influence extended beyond the White House. He was instrumental in shaping various aspects of US regulatory framework in the areas of administrative law and constitutional interpretation, as well as in helping to shape the 1990 Clean Air Act. He served as United States Ambassador to the European Union beginning in January 2006, appointed by President George W. Bush. Thereafter he served as Special Envoy for European Affairs and Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy at the Mission of the United States to the European Union, nominated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January 2008. He was appointed as Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy in March 2008.

An Academy trustee since 2008, Gray was dedicated to the Academy’s mission and always generous with his time, guidance, and support. He will be very missed and we will always remain grateful for his service to our institution.

In addition to the Academy, Gray was a member of the board of directors at the Atlantic Council, The European Institute, FreedomWorks, and America Abroad Media, as well as a member of the Federalist Society, Harvard University’s Committee on University Development, the Board of Trustees of the Washington Scholarship Fund, St. Mark’s School, and National Cathedral School.

The trustees of the American Academy in Berlin extend their condolences to Gray’s family and friends.

Photo: Robert Kimmett and C. Boyden Gray at the 2008 Kissinger Prize honoring George H.W. Bush. Photographer: Annette Hornischer

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