Dr. Dennis J. Murray
President Emeritus and Professor of Public Policy
On July 1, 2016, Dr. Dennis J. Murray became President Emeritus and Professor of Public Policy, having served as President of Marist College from 1979 to 2016, one of the longest-serving and most accomplished presidents in the United States. During Dr. Murray's tenure, the College quadrupled enrollments while becoming highly selective in admissions and establishing many new academic programs, including a branch campus in Florence, Italy. The campus went from 93 to 224 acres, and virtually all of Marist's 77 buildings were constructed or renovated. More than $500 million was invested in the campus, including new academic buildings, new student residences, a new Student Center and dining hall, a sports stadium, and a state-of-the-art digital library. In addition, the College received the gift of the historic Col. Oliver Hazard Payne mansion and 60-acre estate to be used for the leadership training of students at Marist and around the world. The College recently completed a new Science and Allied Health building and is currently constructing a new student housing complex.
Dr. Murray forged numerous community and corporate relationships that have greatly benefited the College. Early in his tenure at Marist, he recognized the important role that information technology would play in enhancing the teaching and learning process. Thanks to a longtime partnership with the IBM Corporation, Marist is one of the nation's most technologically advanced liberal arts colleges. Today, this sophisticated computing environment is helping Marist students gain the knowledge and skills they will need to be competitive in the 21st century.
Marist is increasingly recognized as a national leader in higher education. The Princeton Review included Marist in its most recent book, Colleges That Create Futures: 50 Schools That Launch Careers By Going Beyond the Classroom; among schools of comparable size, Marist is listed alongside Princeton, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Duke. Marist is also ranked among The Princeton Review's Best 380 Colleges in the country, and U.S. News & World Report ranked Marist 13th among colleges and universities in the northeast. In addition, the College's AACSB-accredited School of Management is listed among The Best 295 Business Schools by The Princeton Review.
Dr. Murray is an active member of the civic community. In 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed him as Co-Chair of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council and as a member of the statewide Chairman's Council to help New York State attract businesses and grow jobs. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Roosevelt Institute and is chair of its Presidential Library Committee; as such, he is a Trustee of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library. Dr. Murray is also a board member of the Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley, which oversees the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.
Dr. Murray's significant contributions to the fields of education and community service have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Franciscan Award from the Sisters of St. Francis, the Americanism Award from the Anti-Defamation League, and the Family of the Year Award from Family Services. In 1996, he received the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal at a ceremony which also honored Queen Noor of Jordan, Lea Rabin of Israel, and former Marist Trustee Frances Reese, the founder of the environmental movement in America. Other past recipients of the Val-Kill Medal include Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, and Robert Kennedy, Jr. In 2012, Scenic Hudson honored him for his "outstanding leadership in efforts to create jobs and lasting economic prosperity by revitalizing downtown waterfronts and protecting and connecting people to the valley's irreplaceable natural treasures." Hudson Valley magazine described Dr. Murray as one of the 35 most influential people in the history of the region, along with the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Roosevelts.
A native Californian, Dr. Murray received a bachelor's degree in political science from California State University, Long Beach and his master's degree and Ph.D. in public administration from the School of International and Public Affairs at the University of Southern California. Prior to his career at Marist, Dr. Murray taught at the USC School of International and Public Affairs, and served as Director of University Relations and Executive Assistant to the President at California State University, Long Beach and as Vice President for Development at Whittier College. While in California, he led a successful statewide effort to change the name of the California State College system to the California State University and Colleges system.
Dr. Murray and his wife, Marilyn, have two children, Marian and Michael, and five grandchildren.