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School of Education

Frank Murray

Colleagues remember professor and former education dean

Frank B. Murray, who served as dean of the then-College of Education at the University of Delaware between 1979 and 1995, passed away after a sudden illness on Friday, Sept. 14. He was 79.

Dr. Murray was H. Rodney Sharp Professor Emeritus in the School of Education and the Department of Psychology. A member of the UD faculty since 1969, he also served as director of UD’s Office of Graduate Studies in Education from 1971-77 and as director of the Center for Educational Leadership and Policy from 1995-2000.

Robert Hampel, professor of the history of education at UD, said, “Frank created powerful new connections with Delaware schools. He wanted education faculty to be the most credible source of information on the major issues in K—12 education.”

Ralph P. Ferretti, UD professor of education and psychological and brain sciences, said, “After the publication of A Nation at Risk, colleges of education were imperiled because of their perceived complacency with respect to the conditions of education. Frank and his colleagues in the Holmes Partnership responded by strengthening education’s connections to the core academic disciplines and establishing a solid intellectual foundation for teaching practices. Our college’s national reputation is largely owed to the intellectual foundation that was established under Frank’s leadership. We are better because we knew him and diminished by his passing.”

When Dr. Murray retired in 2015, a conference room in the Willard Hall Education Building was dedicated to him in honor of his lifelong pursuit of excellence. A plaque in the room reads, in part, “Dr. Murray worked tirelessly to enrich the field of education. His research in developmental psychology shed light on how children imagine what must be true…. Most notably, Dr. Murray was an inspiration to students and faculty, modeling the vital intersection of teaching, research and service. He often said, ‘We search for the truth and then share it in many ways.’”

Dr. Murray served in various capacities on the editorial boards of several journals in developmental and educational psychology and was a fellow in the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society and the American Educational Research Association.

He was the founding president of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) in Washington, D.C., and served as chair of its board of directors and for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), also in Washington, D.C. He was able to continue realizing his vision of accreditation by joining the board of directors for the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE), serving most recently as board chair.

Over the years, Dr. Murray provided leadership for several organizations — (Holmes Partnership, Project 30 Alliance, Piaget Society, Divisions 15 and 7 of the American Psychological Association — as well as serving terms as an editor of the scholarly journals Genetic Epistemologist and American Educational Research Journal. In 1996, he edited The Teacher Educator’s Handbook for the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

For his contributions to the fields of child development and teacher education, including publication of some 200 articles, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1994; was inducted as one of only 60 living members in the Laureate chapter of Kappa Delta Pi in 2009; and was honored with a festschrift from TEAC, by an Award of Merit from St. John’s College in 2012 and by a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Johns Hopkins University in 2013.

Known by all to be an enthusiastic and entertaining storyteller, Dr. Murray was always ready to share a joke or anecdote. He had superhuman energy levels that drove his curiosity and passion for many pursuits beyond his profession, such as travel, literature, music, films, nature and working to improve the family’s holiday home in northern Vermont. He was dedicated to his family and in recent years loved to share stories and photos of his young grandchildren with any interested party. He was also known by many to be a fair, thoughtful and trusted adviser, mentor and confidant.

Born in East Orange, N.J., he grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. He received his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and his M.A.T. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Murray married fellow St. John’s College student, Fiona Paul, in 1960, and after living in Baltimore and Minneapolis, they eventually settled and raised their family in Newark.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Fiona Murray; son, F. Grahame Murray, and his wife, Amy, of Raleigh, North Carolina; daughter, Meegan Murray-Lopez, and her husband, Julio, of Geneva, Switzerland; brother, Tom Murray, and his wife, Barbara, of Shelton, Connecticut; and two grandchildren, Aria and Fiona. In addition to his parents, Elda and Frank, he is predeceased by his brothers, Paul and Bill.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, in the Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the newly established “Frank B. Murray Memorial Scholarship” at the University of Delaware. Please send contributions to: University of Delaware, Gifts Processing, 83 East Main St, 3rd Fl., Newark, DE 19716. Checks should be payable to “University of Delaware,” with the scholarship name on the memo line.

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