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Economics students, alumni weigh in about Professor Wayne Gray

We asked current and former students about longtime Economics Professor Wayne Gray, who plans to retire in spring 2025. Below are excerpts of their comments.

“The thing that sets Professor Gray apart is his unwavering commitment to ensuring that his students learn. And so that makes him thoughtful. It makes him concerned about what bothers us and propels him to find unique solutions. He doesn’t just care about the output, but the process. I think that’s amazing.

“Professor Gray is such a fun person to have as an instructor. He likes to joke and say that he’s been at Clark forever, and honestly, I think we’re all better off for it. He makes this community a better place.”

— Dawn Chinagorom-Abiakalam ’24, double major in economics and mathematics

“I feel a great sense of gratitude for all that Dr. Gray taught me during my undergraduate career at Clark. His emphasis on critical thinking and always digging for the ‘why’ are things that will stick with me forever. Dr. Gray is one of the rare professors who is able to couple his vast industry knowledge with an unmistakable gift for teaching. Without ever overcomplicating things, he would provide the exact level of detail needed to address student questions, despite having the industry expertise to discuss topics ad nauseam. All of these factors in conjunction with his charming teaching style meant that students left his classes with not only a profound respect for him as a teacher, but also a true admiration for him as a person.”

— Zander Donowitz ’22, MBA ’23, an account coordinator at Rokt, a New York-based company focusing on ecommerce technology

“I once I went to his office to talk about the progress I made on my dissertation. We talked about things and he gave me his feedback, and in the end, he said, ‘I want you to take a break for a couple days,’ and then he paused and made sure he had my full attention and said, ‘I don’t want you to get sick.’ He must have observed how exhausted I was physically and mentally. I consider myself very lucky to have him as a professor and to be among the few who can proudly call him my advisor.”

— Michael Endale, Ph.D. ’23, who had Professor Gray as his dissertation advisor and was Gray’s research assistant in 2017

The first thing I like about Dr. Gray as a professor and mentor is that he treats every single student as a true academic and economist. He makes everyone feel as though the work they are doing is important and valuable, which is a notable characteristic of his teaching style. He is a professor who never makes anyone’s thoughts, questions, or concerns seem little or unimportant. He was able to balance discipline and get us to move along with our research while also making sure no one was too anxious or stressed.

“Dr. Gray made sure to always celebrate our accomplishments and acknowledged all the work we put in, which led me to be even more proud of my work in the end.”

— Shorena Giorgadze ’23, who works in finance at a private asset management firm in New York City and was an economics honors student advised by Professor Gray

“Professor Gray has a passion for teaching and is so empathetic; he loves helping students. His classes were so organized that I got all my work done while enjoying it. Professor Gray always got back to all student concerns extremely quickly. Even at midnight or very early in the morning, there were so many moments when I wondered how he could respond very quickly. His passion is evident in this behavior, which further inspired me to choose him as my Ph.D. advisor.”

— Rabia Manzoor, a research assistant for Professor Gray, her dissertation advisor

“Throughout my academic journey, Professor Gray has always provided me with valuable guidance while allowing me to explore my own research path. His expertise and his support have been instrumental in the development of my research interests. Professor Gray always makes time to discuss research ideas, and I have noticed that he is always happy to offer constructive feedback. Professor Gray is not only an exceptional advisor but also a role model. He is a source of inspiration to me.”

— Pavlina Ziso ’24, an economics major who has Professor Gray as her academic advisor and has worked as his research assistant

Fund to support symposium, scholarships

The Professor Wayne Gray Fund will support both an academic symposium at Clark in spring 2025 and undergraduate and graduate economics students’ research.

The symposium will focus on research projects that rely on data from the Boston Research Data Center (BDRC), the first of 33 Federal Statistical Research Data Centers nationwide that provide researchers a secure place to study data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other agencies. The BRDC is a partnership between Census and the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge. Gray has been executive director of the Boston center since its opening in 1993 and affiliated with NBER since 1978.

Give to the Professor Wayne Gray Fund