In December 1983, Robert Gray, the chairman of Hill and Knowlton Public Affairs Worldwide and Hastings native, donated one million dollars to Hastings College for the establishment of a new communications center that would open a “window on the world.”
President Ronald Reagan, a good friend of Robert Gray, traveled to Hastings, Nebraska to dedicate the Gray Center for Communication Arts. Join Dwayne Strasheim and Roger Doerr as they recall the events of that day in Hastings College history.
Named for Gray’s parents Garold C.J. and Marie, the three-million-dollar Gray Center for the Communication Arts is located at the north end of campus and was designed by the Leo A. Daly Company of Washington D.C. Peter Kiewit Sons Incorporated of Omaha was the appointed general contractor for the 17,700 square-foot building.
However, maybe more impressive than the building itself was the advisory board which oversaw the architectural and technical aspects of the communications center and included famous people such as: Walter Cronkite, special correspondent and anchor for CBS News; the honorable Walter H. Annenberg, former ambassador to the court of Saint James and founder of the Annenberg School of communications; John Denver, singer and composer; Celeste Holm and Dina Merrill, stage, movie and television actresses; William S. Paley, chairman of the Columbia Broadcasting System; Beverly Sills, general director of the New York City Opera; Grant Tinker, former chairman of the National Broadcasting Company; and Ted Turner, chairman of the Turner Broadcasting System.
The Gray Center has been a part of HC for 24 years and has remained a home for broadcasting, web communication and journalism students.