Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Duquesne's John Murray Eulogized as 'Transformative'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Duquesne's John Murray Eulogized as 'Transformative'

Article excerpt

John E. Murray Jr. was eulogized Thursday as a transformative campus president who early on managed to inspire confidence in Duquesne University, even among those inclined at the time to doubt the once financially ailing Catholic institution.

Others who spoke at his funeral saw him as a professor passionate about scholarship, a lawyer on top of his game and someone who could have finished a long campus career as "a revered figurehead" but instead taught a full course load until he died.

To still others who called him "Grandpa," Mr. Murray was all of those things but someone who still found time for them, too.

Nearly 500 people filed into Epiphany Catholic Church in the Hill District, just off the Duquesne campus, to pay respects to Mr. Murray, 82, who died nine days ago of a heart attack.

Bishop David Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh was among those leading the Mass of Christian Burial for Mr. Murray, a legal scholar and longtime campus educator whose tenure as president saw a revitalization of the 10,000-student Catholic university on The Bluff.

Duquesne was in financial distress when the Philadelphia native assumed the presidency in 1988. The campus soon prospered in part from more than $200 million raised under Mr. Murray, who after stepping down in 2001 remained highly visible as Duquesne's chancellor and as a law school professor.

"He loved this place," said Duquesne law school dean Ken Gormley. "He truly believed his purpose in life was to serve God by serving students."

Those on their way to the 10 a.m. Mass were buffeted by single- digit temperatures and wind chills well below zero. The spectrum of attendees spanned generations and suggested the former president's impact within the region's academic, legal, political and religious circles.

Among those present was Debra McCloskey Todd, a state Supreme Court justice who was a student of Mr. Murray's at the University of Pittsburgh law school. …

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