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Notice regarding George Grayson

Provost Michael R. Halleran sent the following message to faculty and staff March 5, 2015 - Ed.

Dear Colleagues,

I am saddened to share the news that George W. Grayson, Professor of Government, Emeritus, passed away suddenly yesterday, March 4th.   

Professor Grayson began his service as a faculty member at the College of William & Mary in 1968.  Having earned his B.A. at the University of North Carolina and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, Professor Grayson taught at George Washington University and Mary Washington College before being hired as an Assistant Professor of Government at William & Mary.  Progressing through the professorial ranks, he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1970 and to Professor in 1977.  In 1982, he was selected as the John Marshall Professor of Government, a position he held until his selection as the Class of 1938 Professor of Government in 1988, a position which he has held until this day.  In 1976, he earned a J.D. degree from the William & Mary Law School, and in 1988, he was elected as a faculty member to Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. 

Throughout much of his academic career, Professor Grayson also served as Williamsburg’s representative in Virginia’s House of Delegates.  He was a tenacious defender of consumer rights, a forceful advocate for education and the environment and a politician with an unusual gift for attracting attention to his cause.  In 1995, he successfully sponsored legislation that ensured that the College of William & Mary retain control of the College Woods and Lake Matoaka at a time when the state was exploring land sales to raise funds to construct prisons. 

Professor Grayson attained his reputation as a leading scholar of Mexican politics through an extensive record of publications, including more than 25 books and monographs, and dozens of book chapters and journal articles.  He made more than 200 research trips to Latin America and was a senior associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a board member of the Center for Immigration Studies, and a lifetime member of the NAACP. 

A dedicated and well-respected teacher, Professor Grayson was known to demand that his students take great care in their writing, insisting that they present well-researched papers, written clearly, directly and with proper grammar.  In addition to Mexican Politics, Professor Grayson taught Latin American Politics, Politics and Revolution and Introduction to American Government to thousands of undergraduates. He lectured regularly at the U.S. Department of State, at the National Defense University, and at universities throughout the United States and Mexico.  He retired in 2012, having served on the faculty for 44 years.

“George Grayson made an indelible impression on generations of students, many of whom credit him for their future successes,” said John McGlennon, Chair of the Department of Government. “He was equally at home with world leaders, Virginia governors, dedicated service workers at Eastern State and newly-minted freshmen.  They all knew they were in the presence of an American original.”

Professor Grayson is survived by his wife, Bryan Grayson, and his children Gisele (Jon Hamilton) and Keller, and Gisele’s two sons.  The family will receive friends at Nelson Funeral Home, 3785 Strawberry Plains Road, Williamsburg on Friday, March 6 from 6 to 8 pm.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Heritage Humane Society of Williamsburg.