September 17, 2014

Vice President Susan Murphy ’73 Ph.D. ’94 Announces Retirement

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Updated Thursday

After more than 20 years at Cornell as vice president for Student and Academic Services, Susan Murphy ’73 Ph.D. ’94 will retire from her post effective June 30, 2015, the University announced Wednesday.

During her tenure as an administrator, Murphy served as the dean of of admission and financial aid for nine years before being appointed to her current vice presidency in 1994. Throughout her tenure, she served as a liaison between Cornell’s administration and the student body when dealing with campus issues including suicide, bias incidents and student protests.

“Cornell has been a defining influence in my life for more than 40 years,” Murphy said in a statement. “The opportunity, as vice president, to work so closely with our students has been a privilege and huge reward. It has been especially satisfying to create opportunities for students to act upon their strong desire to make a difference in the world.”

Murphy will continue to remain at Cornell through June 2016 to assist with “alumni engagement activities and key fundraising projects” in the Division of Alumni Affairs and Development, according to a University press release.

President David Skorton — who will also leave his position at Cornell in 2015 to become the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution — will begin a national search for her replacement later this semester, the University said.

President Skorton lauded Murphy’s “talents, perceptivness, innovation and judgment,” describing her skills as “unparalleled” in a statement.

“Time and again, I have drawn upon her wisdom and insights, not only on topics that directly affect the student experience, but also on issues related to higher education on a national and even global scale,” Skorton said. “While Cornell will miss her leadership, the University will be fortunate to have the continuing benefit of her broad experience when she transitions to her Alumni Affairs and Development role next July.”

Provost Kent Fuchs added that under Murphy’s leadership, the University has “created innovative partnerships that bridge the living and learning environments and provide a foundation for students’ academic and life success.”

“Her vision and commitment to students have advanced Cornell’s educational excellence,” Fuchs said in a statement.

Cornell Board of Trustees Chair Robert Harrison ’76 added that Murphy potentially “shaped the contemporary undergraduate experience” more than any other individual at the University.

“As an alumnus and a trustee I have been friends with Susan for many years,” he said in a statement. “I have seen her in many difficult situations and have developed tremendous respect for her judgment, integrity and devotion to the university. Now a Cornell parent, as well as board chair, I am even more grateful for her leadership.”