The Right Honourable Herb Gray Receives Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), awarded The Right Honourable Herb Gray with the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, on Sunday, June 9, 2013 at the Graduation Ceremonies of HUC-JIR’s Cincinnati campus. 

Rabbi Ellenson stated, "The Right Honourable Herb Gray has demonstrated his faith in the values and processes of democracy throughout his distinguished career as a parliamentarian and public servant. He has applied his command of the theory and practice of the law and wise statecraft to strengthening Carleton University and its core studies in sustainability and international relations."

The Right Honourable Herb Gray was Canada’s first Jewish federal cabinet minister. He was elected to Parliament for the riding of Essex West, now Windsor West, on June 18, 1962, as a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. He was re-elected in twelve subsequent federal elections, making him the longest continuously-serving Member of Parliament in Canadian history.

Gray, who is bilingual, served in a variety of roles during his parliamentary career, as a committee chair during the Liberal government of Lester Pearson, as a Parliamentary Secretary and Cabinet Minster under Pierre Trudeau, and as a Cabinet Minister and then Opposition House Leader under John Turner. From February to December 1990, he was Leader of the Opposition. When the Liberals returned to power under Prime Minister Jean Chretien after the 1993 election, Gray was appointed Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada, now Minister of Public Safety. In 1997, he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister.

Gray retired from Parliament in 2002 and was given the title Right Honourable by the Governor General, a title normally reserved for Prime Ministers and the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court. From 2002 until 2010, he served as Canadian Chair of the International Joint Commission, a bilateral organization which deals with Canada-United States trans-boundary issues concerning water and air.

In November 2008, Carleton University announced that Gray had been appointed to a three year term as the university’s tenth Chancellor. He completed his term in 2011 and was subsequently appointed Chancellor Emeritus of the university.

Mr. Gray is a Companion of the Order of Canada and has received numerous awards from universities, governments, and community organizations.

Click here to view the National Graduation and Ordination press release.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu