Legacies Project


Gay Israel ~ 1950-2016

CSU Service: Department Head, 1996 - 2014
Professor, 1996 - 2016
Health and Exercise Science

In memory

Richard G. (Gay) Israel passed away on April 16 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 65.

Israel, who served as department head 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.

"Gay Israel brought a new vision and a high level of excellence to the Department of Health and Exercise Science," said Jeff McCubbin, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. "His vision transformed the unit to one that is now highly respected and ranked nationwide. However, Gay’s legacy extends beyond CSU. His professional and service contributions to the American College of Sports Medicine were significant. We feel his loss keenly and he will be greatly missed by all of us at CSU."

Read his obituary here. Click here to read a full memorial tribute in SOURCE.

Sharing memories

Gay touched many lives through his career, and we invite you to share your memories of him using the form to the right, or via email to hesinfo@colostate.edu or victoria.keller@colostate.edu

Click here to view a collection of photos of Gay's CSU career on the College's Flickr site.

Click here to view photos of Gay's Career Celebration held on April 21.

Gay's career history

Click here for Gay's CV

Click here for Gay's ASCM Citation

In 2014, Gay announced he would be stepping back from the role of Health and Exercise Science Department Head and beginning a transitional retirement over three years. Since then, he has worked closely with his successor, Department Head Barry Braun, as Assistant to the Department Head for External Relations. The 2014 HES newsletter outlines this transition of leadership.

Shortly after the 2014 newsletter was released, Gay and his family learned the challenging news of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis, and shared it with the department. Barry passed along his message to alumni and friends via an email message captured here.

Gay approached his diagnosis with the scientific rigor and dynamic optimism that characterized his career. He pursued several types of chemotherapy, maintained his rigorous workout routines, and reported his successes and challenges along the way with openness, humor, grace, and faith.