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John R. Murphy announces retirement plans

John R. Murphy
1/2/2004 —

After almost 38 years with Penn State, John R. Murphy, director of student affairs at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, has announced plans for retirement at the end of this month. He will be feted at a retirement celebration on Saturday, January 24, 2004 from 3-5 PM (snow date January 25) at the campus in Lehman.

A native of Connecticut, Murphy earned his bachelor of science degree in political science from Marietta College in Ohio and his master’s degree in counseling at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. He has served as director of student affairs at the Wilkes-Barre campus since 1967. From 1991-93, Murphy was temporarily assigned to University Park campus when Dr. James Ryan, former campus executive officer at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, was named vice-president of continuing education. Murphy served as Ryan’s assistant and as an assistant to William Asbury, vice-president of student affairs.

Highly respected by his colleagues, Murphy has been the recipient of several awards during his tenure at Penn State. In 1995, he was the first person to receive the John W. Beatty Outstanding Chief Student Affairs Officer Award (he received this award a second time in 1999). Other awards include the Hayfield Community Service Award and the Robert J. Scannell Roll of Honor for service to Commonwealth College athletics’ programs. In addition, Murphy was selected to attend Harvard University’s Management Development Program for College and University Administrators in 1986. He is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, American Association of University Administrators, and the Luzerne/Lackawanna Dean’s Association.

Murphy will spend a good deal of his time in retirement working on his book, "What They Didn’t Tell Me in Graduate School," a series of observations based on his experiences. “The book’s purpose is not to instruct,” he said, “but to inspire. It illustrates what we in student affairs positions really do, and how graduate course work relates to the actual job. We are like investment brokers, but, unlike others who invest in stocks and bonds, we invest in people’s lives.”

Murphy resides in Dallas, Pa., with his wife, Shawn. They have three daughters, Katelyn, Jennifer, and Brennan, and three grandchildren.

A scholarship to benefit future students is being developed in Murphy’s name. To contribute to the scholarship fund, donations may be sent to the Office of Institutional Advancement, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, P.O. Box PSU, Lehman, PA 18627-0217.

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