Dr. Michael E. Gray, ESA Fellow (2013)

Dr. Michael E. Gray, a professor at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (UIUC), was elected as Fellow in 2013. He is internationally recognized for his research and extension programs on management of the western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte.

Gray was born in Villisca, IA in 1955. He traveled extensively as a youth and lived in several states and countries including Germany, Japan, and the Philippines. Following many years overseas, he returned to Iowa and received his B.A. degree in biology from the University of Northern Iowa in 1977. After his graduation, Gray taught high school science for a brief period and then entered graduate school at Iowa State University where he earned his M.S. (1982) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees in entomology. He served as postdoctoral research associate at South Dakota State University from 1987¬–1988. In March of 1988, he accepted a position as an extension entomologist at UIUC. In 1999, he attained the rank of full professor. Gray is currently a professor in the Department of Crop Sciences and an assistant dean for extension programs in agriculture and natural resources.

Gray’s research and extension programs have interwoven throughout his career at UIUC. His research emphasis has been to increase our understanding of the biology, ecology, and management of the western corn rootworm. Gray has published numerous journal articles on western corn rootworms including a 2009 Annual Review of Entomology paper and also served as co-editor for the ESA Handbook of Corn Insects, published in 1999. From 2008 to 2013, Gray served as a program leader with the Energy BioSciences Institute at UIUC – the goal of his program was to evaluate the influence of insects, diseases, and nematodes on the biomass production of biofuel crops. He served in several leadership roles within the IPM arena, including IPM coordinator, UIUC co-director of the USDA-CSREES North Central Region IPM Center, and panel manager for the USDA North Central Region IPM Grants Program.

Gray has been a member of ESA since 1979 and has served the society in several leadership roles, including: Program Chair, North Central Branch (NCB) Meeting, 1994; Editorial Board, American Entomologist, 1990-95; Executive Committee, NCB, 1994–1997; Editor, Journal of Economic Entomology, 1995–1997; Program Co-Chair, ESA National Meeting, 2001; President, NCB, 2002–2003; Governing Board, Section E, 2004–2005; Chair, ESA Nominations Committee, 2004–2006; and Governing Board Executive Committee, 2004–2009. Gray served as President of ESA during the first full year of ESA’s Renewal and transition to the four new Sections.

Gray is the recipient of the Young (1994) and Senior (2002) Faculty Award for Excellence in Extension, UIUC. In 2002, he received the ESA-NCB Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management. In 2007, Gray received the Paul A. Funk Recognition Award for outstanding achievement and major contributions to the betterment of agriculture, natural resources, and human systems, UIUC. In 2011, he received the ESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension. In 2013, the ESA-NCB honored Gray with the C.V. Riley Achievement Award.

(updated December, 2013)