Born in West Virginia and raised in Fulton, New York, David Gray graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Political Science. After joining the faculty of Drew University in 1962, he created the first American study abroad program in London, England.
Gray subsequently moved to Beaver College (now Arcadia University) where he established a similar London Semester program in 1965 which led to the creation of the Center for Education Abroad. From 1968 to 1988, Gray served as both Vice President of the College and Director of International Education.
Upon leaving Beaver College, Gray and Tom Roberts founded the Institute for Study Abroad, affiliated with Butler University. Gray retired in 2006, and he then assumed leadership of the Study Abroad Foundation which focuses on providing study abroad opportunities for Asian university students at English speaking universities around the world.
During his career, Gray received Honorary Fellowships from Queen Mary College, University of London and the London City Polytechnic. In 2008, he was awarded an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Award (OBE) by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, II.
Although he focused on international education, Gray has been involved in a number of civic and cultural organizations including leadership roles in the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the French Heritage Society. An avid traveler, Gray has visited more than 45 countries.