Jim Gray, the vice president of campus operations, will leave Brandeis for Smith College on April 19, according to an all-campus email on March 14 from Stew Uretsky, the executive vice president for finance and administration. Uretsky said that Gray will serve as Smith’s associate vice president for facilities and operations. Throughout his tenure, Gray spearheaded “a critical portfolio” of major projects to serve the Brandeis community, including renovating the campus infrastructure, rekindling a culture of sustainability and ensuring a safe campus environment, Uretsky wrote. 

Skyline Residence Hall, which opened last September, combined Gray’s mission to reinforce sustainability on campus with University President Ron Liebowitz’s “vision” to revitalize students’ social experience. The new building includes various sustainable features such as geothermal heating and solar panels. As the co-chair of the President’s Task Force on Campus Sustainability during the 2015/2016 academic year, Gray has taken strides to reduce Brandeis’ carbon footprint by 12.6 percent, exceeding the University’s goal of 10 percent by fiscal year 2018 outlined in Brandeis’ Climate Action Plan. Brandeis will continue to reinforce sustainability “not just for the benefit of our campus but the benefit of our world” and aims to cut carbon emissions by 15 percent in 2020, Gray explained in an Oct. 17, 2018 BrandeisNOW article.

In addition to his environmentalist endeavors, Gray was also integral in maintaining campus infrastructure and safety by “developing emergency management plans, leading drills and modernizing equipment,” according to Uretsky’s email. Last November, Gray oversaw the replacement of the steam and telecommunication line outside the Shapiro Campus Center after an internet disruption in August caused by “melt[ed] telecommunication wires” followed by a week-long excavation to investigate the eroded insulation. In addition, Gray held an active shooter drill with Waltham Police and BEMCo last March to ensure students’ and the University's preparedness in a potential situation involving gun violence. 

In closing, Uretsky applauded Gray’s “focus[,] dedication and driving effort” to better the Brandeis Community. An announcement from Smith College regarding his inauguration echoed Uretsky’s concluding statement, commending Gray’s “strategic leadership” and ability to integrate sustainability into every critical campus project. Prior to Gray’s departure, a celebration will be held to commemorate his tenure, according to Uretsky’s email, though a date has not yet been set.