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James R. Gay

james gay

James R. Gay earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Virginia Tech in 1935, and then went on to earn a medical degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. A fellowship in neurosurgery at The Mayo Clinic was interrupted by service in World War II, where Gay was assigned to medical staff positions in the U.S. Army. There, he earned the rank of major, and was decorated by the United States and French governments. In 1949, he received a master’s degree in neurosurgery from The University of Minnesota and was later certified in neurosurgery by the American Board of Neurological Surgery.

Gay began his career in the private practice of neurosurgery at Columbus, Ohio, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, until his first administrative appointment as head of Neurological Surgery at the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Later, he served as assistant dean for administration at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He also organized the New Mexico Accident Investigation Program and was director of the New Mexico Regional Medical Program. Gay retired as associate vice president for health affairs at the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences, located in Memphis, Tennessee, where he also served as director of international programs with an emphasis on Egypt and Japan.

Gay was a founding member and president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons where he promoted international affairs and assisted in the development of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies. During retirement, Gay moved back to Pennsylvania where he served as a board member and chairman of the strategy committee for Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale. An ardent supporter of the Virginia Tech College of Science, Gay was a long-time member of the Dean’s Roundtable Advisory Board, where he relished interacting with students, particularly the finalists for the Roundtable scholarships.

A member of the university’s Legacy Society, his bequest gift provides scholarship and undergraduate research opportunities for students majoring in neuroscience at Virginia Tech.

Gay passed away on June 20, 2015.