Dr. Dennis J. Murray


Dennis J. Murray

Dr. Dennis J. Murray was appointed President of Marist College in 1979.  He came here with a goal of building a student-centered institution that would prepare students for graduate school, successful professional careers, and lives of civic responsibility.  Under his leadership, Marist has enjoyed an exceptional period of growth and change.  Many distinctive academic programs and student services have been added, enrollments have more than quadrupled, and Marist has become one of the most selective institutions in the country.  The campus has more than tripled in size during this time, and more than $400 million has been invested in it, including new academic buildings and student residences, a new Student Center, a state-of-the-art library, and a new sports stadium.  Most recently, our magnificent new Hancock Center has emerged as both the architectural and academic focal point of the campus.  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.

Dr. Murray has 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 has become one of the nation's most technologically advanced liberal arts colleges.  Today, this sophisticated computing environment is helping our students gain the knowledge and skills they will need to be competitive in their chosen careers.  Our James A. Cannavino Library has gained recognition as one of the finest libraries in the world combining both digital and traditional resources. 

Marist is increasingly being recognized as a national leader in higher education.  Marist is listed in The Princeton Review's The Best 373 Colleges in the country, and U.S. News & World Report ranked Marist in the top 10 of colleges and universities in the northeast.  U.S. News also identified the College as one of 70 "schools to watch" nationwide.  In addition, our AACSB-accredited School of Management is ranked among The Best 300 Business Schools by The Princeton Review.  Marist is listed in Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine's annual review of the "100 Best Buys in Private Colleges," as well as in Barron's 231 "Best Buys in College Education."  In 2006, The Princeton Review and Forbes named Marist one of the 25 "Most Connected Campuses" in America.  Finally, we were selected by the John Templeton Foundation as one of the nation's leading colleges to encourage character development. 

Dr. Murray serves on a number of community boards, including the Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley and the Roosevelt Institute.  This latter organization supports the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in nearby Hyde Park, which provides many research and internship opportunities for our students.  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 also honoring Queen Noor of Jordan, the late Lea Rabin of Israel, and the late Marist Trustee Frances Reese, founder of the environmental movement in America.  Hudson Valley magazine described him as one of the 35 most influential people in the history of the region.

Dr. Murray can often be found at student athletic events, musical performances, and activities sponsored by more than 75 student clubs and organizations.  He frequently interacts with student leaders at luncheons and dinners, and takes particular pride in celebrating the accomplishments of our students in the classroom, on the playing fields, and in the community.

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 University of Southern California. Prior to his appointment 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.

Dr. Murray and his wife, Marilyn, have two children, Marian and Michael.