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GAY ISRAEL: HEART OF THE RACE
APRIL 16, 2016, was a sad day for Colorado State, as the University lost two of its most influential faculty members: William Mason (Bill) Gray, a pioneer in the field of hurricane forecasting, and Richard G. (Gay) Israel, founder of the heart disease prevention program.
Gay Israel departed this life after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer at age 65.
Israel, who served as head of the Department of Health and Exercise Science for 18 years, was a transformational leader, building the department into a model that is respected nationally for outstanding research, teaching and service.
Israel completed his Ed.D. in exercise physiology at West Virginia University in 1976, then joined the faculty at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he founded the Human Performance Lab. In 1981, he moved to East Carolina University, where he founded that institution’s internationally recognized Human Performance Lab and served as founder and director of the Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor Identification/Reduction Program.
Israel came to Colorado State University in 1996. His clear vision for teaching, research and outreach programs was instrumental in the shift from an emphasis on sports and physical education to health, wellness and disease prevention, including the renowned Heart Disease Prevention Program.
One of his greatest achievements was building the state-of-the-art Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory. The lab, built in three phases, and planning for a fourth, is considered one of the jewels of the CSU campus.
Israel passed the torch of department leadership to Barry Braun in 2014, but retained an active, part-time role in the department.