21-Year-Old Farrah Gray, The Youngest Person Conferred An Honorary Doctorate In HBCU History

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On April 29th, 2006, Allen University conferred an Honorary Doctorate degree of Humane Letters to Farrah Gray in recognition of Dr. Gray's ingenious economic mind and distinguished commitment to the development of values such as leadership, integrity and scholarship. Recently Dr. Gray was also named as one of the most influential Black men in America by the National Urban League's Urban Influence Magazine.

On April 29th, 2006, Allen University conferred an Honorary Doctorate degree of Humane Letters to Farrah Gray in recognition of Dr. Gray's ingenious economic mind and distinguished commitment to the development of values such as leadership, integrity and scholarship. Recently Dr. Gray was also named as one of the most influential Black men in America by the National Urban League's Urban Influence Magazine.

“We wanted to pay homage to Mr. Gray’s contribution to education and his dedication to utilizing his skills to open doors for persons who desire to go into business,” says Allen University’s President, Dr. Charles E. Young.

Dr. Gray began his entrepreneurial, personal and civic development as a stellar young citizen at six years old. He sold his own hand-painted rocks as book-ends and home-made body lotion door-to-door. At age seven, he was carrying business cards reading “21st Century CEO.” At eight, Gray became co-founder of Urban Neighborhood Enterprise Economic Club (U.N.E.E.C.) on Chicago’s Southside. U.N.E.E.C. was the forerunner of New Early Entrepreneur Wonders (NE2W), the flagship organization he opened on Wall Street. NE2W enlisted, educated and engaged “at-risk” youth by creating and developing legal ways for them to acquire additional income. Gray is the youngest person to have an office on Wall Street.

Between the ages of 12 and 16 years old, Dr. Gray founded and operated business ventures that included KIDZTEL pre-paid phone cards, the One Stop Mail Boxes & More franchise and The Teenscope “Youth AM/FM” interactive teen talk show, Gray was also Executive Producer of a comedy show on the Las Vegas Strip and owner of Farr-Out Foods, “Way-Out Food with a Twist,” aimed at young people with the company’s first Strawberry-Vanilla syrup product. Farr-Out Foods “Foodfulooza” generated orders exceeding $1.5 million.

As a pre-teen, Gray reached 12 million listeners and viewers every Saturday night as co-host of “Backstage Live,” a syndicated television and radio simulcast in Las Vegas. Gray’s inspirational spirit and grounded personality sparked speaking requests from organizations around the country. According to Naples Daily News, “Farrah Gray touched them in a way few speakers can.” Dr. Gray's sense of social responsibility motivated him to create the non-profit organization, The Farrah Gray Foundation. Among other programs and initiatives, his foundation focuses on inner city community-based entrepreneurship education and provides scholarship & grant assistance for students from at-risk backgrounds to attend HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Dr. Gray donates his honorariums from speaking engagements (which can be upwards of $15,000) and the proceeds of his book to his foundation in what he refers to as his “self-imposed” youth tax. Dr. Gray’s work did not remain under the radar-screen for long. He was given a three-year term on the Board of Directors of United Way of Southern Nevada at the age of 15 and also became the youngest member of the Board of Advisors for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Gray was also the youngest member of the “African-American Leadership” Roundtable where he was invited by President Bush and the Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Dr. Gray is also the spokesman for the National Coalition for Homeless and the National Marrow Donor Program.

In December 2005, First Premiere Bank and Diamond Financial Products unveiled its newest debit card, The Farrah Gray Prepaid MasterCard®, which features Dr. Gray’s likeness on it. The “goFarr” card is designed to increase financial freedom and financial literacy.

Dr. Gray is also the Co-Chair of Relational Brokers Alliance Consultancy (RBA). In addition, he has consulted with JP Morgan Chase and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Development Agency. Also, The Farrah Gray Foundation is in partnership with the Kauffmann Foundation, launching entrepreneurship programs in inner-city schools across the country.

Dr. Gray is the author of Reallionaire which was nominated by NBC & Publishers Weekly Quill Awards in the category of "Health/Self-Improvement." His book appeared on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s Best-sellers lists two weeks before its international release. Reallionaire was also named as the #1 Best-selling Nonfiction Paperback book in the August 2005 Issue of Essence Magazine. Gray’s book and his journey to succeed against the odds have become required reading and part of classroom study from elementary school to entrepreneurship departments on college campuses. Reallionaire has been endorsed by former President Bill Clinton, Pierre Sutton, Stedman Graham, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Gray is also a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul.

Dr. Gray’s honors include Keys to the Cities of Dallas, Shreveport, and Cincinnati. He has received Proclamations from the Governors of Illinois and Nevada, the Mayors of Chicago, Las Vegas and New Orleans and Clark County Nevada Commissioners. Dr. Gray’s Awards include The National Urban League Whitney M Young Jr. Entrepreneurship Award, The Indiana Black Expo (IBE) Hoosier Lottery Entrepreneur Award for 2005, The Alabama A&M Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) Award, The Davidson College Love of Learning Lifetime Educational Achievement Award, Central State Award Appreciation for contributions made in the area of entrepreneurship, NV Magazine Vision Award and the American Red Cross Award of Appreciation.

Raised in the projects on Chicago’s Southside, Dr. Gray defied the odds and became a self-made millionaire by the age of 14. Dr. Gray is one of the great business minds and icons of his generation. At the age of 21, he has achieved more than many achieve in a lifetime. In his rise from poverty to national and international prominence as an entrepreneurial icon and pre-eminent power speaker, he has inspired millions around the world.

About Allen University

Founded in 1870 by the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Allen University is the first institution of higher education in South Carolina founded by African Americans for the express purpose of educating African Americans. It is a Christian Liberal Arts institution of higher education and has a distinguished history, rich in the tradition of promoting spiritual growth and preparing men and women to become productive leaders in an ever-changing society.

Media Contact:

Dr. Marcia Wynn

Assistant to the President

Allen University

Madeline Goldstein

Director of Public Relations

Farrah Gray Foundation

[T] 212.859.5028

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Dr. Marcia Wynn