University Salutes Alumni Michael Gray

November 2021 – Pittsburg State University (PSU) in Pittsburg, Kansas, has the honor of being the only university with a gorilla as its school mascot. Graduates of the school take pride in this, and as Watco’s Assistant General Counsel Michael Gray says, “Once a Gorilla, always a Gorilla.”

The university recently turned the tables on Gray though, showing their pride in him and his
accomplishments by naming him a recipient of the Dr. Kenneth K. Bateman Outstanding Alumni Award. A ceremony and reception recognizing Gray were held at the university October 15 as part of the school’s homecoming activities.

After graduating from PSU with a bachelor’s degree in political science, international studies, and Spanish, and the University of Tulsa (Oklahoma) College of Law, Gray returned to Pittsburg and joined the Watco team. His desire to serve the community he lived in led him to serve two terms on the Pittsburg City Commission and as mayor of the city. Improvements made during his tenure included upgrades in city infrastructure and major projects with the university, such as the Robert W. Plaster Center (for sporting events and community functions) and Block22, a unique downtown area which includes restaurants, student housing, and meeting areas.

Gray has been active in the Pittsburg Area Young Professionals and Pittsburg Rotary, and he has supported and coached youth sports. He’s a member of several bar associations, railroad associations, and the Christian Legal Society.

Gray received his high school diploma from Colegio Americano de Puebla in Mexico, where he lived for 11 years as his parents were serving as missionaries. Gray said the advantage to attending PSU is that he didn’t feel like a number and the professors encouraged his success. He said, “That’s what makes Pitt State different from the larger universities. I’ve always considered myself a die-hard Gorilla. Just to be on a list of other Gorillas recognized at this level will be something that I will always cherish.”


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