William Herbert Gray III (born August 20, 1941) served as president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund (1991–2004). He was an influential member of the United States House of Representatives in the 1980s serving as the Majority Whip until his resignation. As an African-American, he was the fourth highest ranking member of the House at the time of his resignation and a minister in Philadelphia. He is currently co-founder of the government lobbying and advisory firm, Gray Loeffler LLC, headquartered in Washington D.C
He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but grew up in St. Augustine, Florida, where his father was president of Florida Normal (later Florida Memorial) College, and in North Philadelphia where he graduated from Simon Gratz High School. He attended Franklin and Marshall College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1963. He went on to obtain a master’s in divinity from Drew Theological Seminary in 1966 and a similar degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1970. Gray received a L.H.D. from Bates College in 1994.
In 1972, he succeeded his father as the senior minister at Bright Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia. He was elected as a Democrat to represent Philadelphia in the United States House of Representatives in 1978. He represented Pennsylvania’s 2nd congressional district in the House of Representatives from 1978 until his resignation on September 11, 1991. He was the first African-American to chair the House Budget Committee and also the first to serve as the Majority Whip (1989–1991). As chairman of the Committee on Budget, Gray introduced H.R. 1460, an anti-Apartheid bill that prohibited loans and new investment in South Africa and enforced sanctions on imports and exports with South Africa. This bill was an instrumental precursor to the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (H.R. 4868).
Gray resigned from Congress in 1991 to serve as President of the United Negro College Fund from 1991 to 2004. He served as a special adviser to the President and Secretary of State for Haitian affairs in 1994. He was named to the PoliticsPA list of “Pennsylvania’s Top Political Activists.”
Outside of politics he is also a businessman who has been a Director at Dell from 2000. He is also a director of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Prudential Financial Inc., Rockwell International Corporation, Visteon Corporation and Pfizer. He retired from Bright Hope Baptist Church in 2007 and was succeeded by Kevin R. Johnson, former Assistant Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. He currently works for the firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in Washington, DC.
He is married to the former Andrea Dash; they have three sons, William IV, Justin and Andrew. Gray is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.