Emory Report

November 9, 1998

 Volume 51, No. 11

Dean Murdy to retire at end of academic year

A search committee has been formed to find the successor to Oxford Dean Bill Murdy, who quietly announced his retirement earlier this year. Murdy has been dean of Oxford since 1987 and came to Emory as a faculty member in 1959.

Oxford Political Science Professor Bill Cody chairs the search committee, which is in the earliest stages of finding Murdy's replacement. The University has hired Paula Carabelli of Educational Management Network/Witt Kieffer to help conduct the search. "The president and provost would like to have a hire by July to start preparation for next year," Cody said. The committee plans to present three candidates to them in April.

Carabelli was on both campuses last week talking with administrators, Oxford's board of counselors, the search committee and various constituencies. From these discussions, she will outline the desired qualities and qualifications for the next dean, Cody said. "I imagine we're not going to put ourselves in the position where we'll too narrowly define the position," he said. "We want to be open."

As such, committee members are also reserving judgement about their own "wish lists" for a new dean, Cody said. "I'm sure we all have ideas, but we've been honestly waiting to hear from the various constituencies so that we don't rule out ideas we haven't thought of."

A biologist, Murdy holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts and received his PhD from Washington University. During his tenure on Emory's faculty he served as chair of the biology department twice and was president of the University Senate. He was appointed Charles Howard Candler Professor of Biology shortly before his Oxford appointment.

During his tenure as a professor, Murdy was the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including seven major National Science Foundation and Department of Energy grants. He is the author of more than two dozen articles, chapters and books on plant evolution and the environment, and he held a sabbatical fellowship at Harvard University that explored ways to create a dialogue between science and religion. In 1995 Gov. Zell Miller appointed Murdy to the River Care 2000 coordinating council, a preservation initiative concerned with protecting and improving the management of Georgia's rivers.

"Bill Murdy is a trained biologist, true gentleman, superb administrator, loyal friend of both Oxford College and Emory University, truth-teller, faculty supporter and companion, host, diplomat, fund-raiser and shining light of one of the best campuses in the United States," said President Bill Chace. "He leaves Oxford College vastly stronger than he found it, and everyone who cares about both our founding terrain and our Atlanta home is in his debt."

Rounding out the search committee are Steve Baker, Oxford associate professor of biology; John Bostwick, Oxford board of counselors member and professor of plastic surgery at Emory; Lucas Carpenter, Oxford professor of English; Penny England, Oxford professor of physical education; Michael Rogers, Oxford assistant professor of mathematics; Jennifer Taylor, Oxford director of admissions; Ina Jane Wundram, Oxford associate professor of anthropology; and Harriet King, vice provost for academic affairs, who is serving as liaison to the provost's office.

--Stacey Jones

Return to Nov. 9, 1998, contents page