Murray's $1.6-million gift to benefit graduate students

By Paul Mayne
April 28, 2014

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MURRAY_gift2Paul Mayne // Western News
Dr. Robert Murray, former Department of Microbiology and Immunology professor and chair, chats with Western President Amit Chakma prior to the announcement of a $1.6 million by Murray’s wife, former Western employee Marion Murray, to establish three endowed scholarship programs in support of graduate students at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Growing up in London, the daughter of distinguished pathologist and Western professor Dr. Frederick Winnett Luney, Marion Murray held strong ties to Western’s departments of Microbiology and Immunology, and Pathology.

So, it’s no mystery why Murray, who died in 2013, donated $1.6 million to establish three endowed scholarship programs in support of graduate students at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

MURRAY_gift1Paul Mayne // Western News

The endowment funds will provide more than $60,000 in annual support, awarded in varying amounts, to graduate students who are studying in the areas of Pathology, and Microbiology and Immunology through scholarships named in honour of Luney and Marion Murray’s husband, Dr. Robert Murray.

The endowments were announced at an event Monday morning at Western’s Medical Sciences Building.

Marion Murray attended South Collegiate high school in London, followed by Western, before starting what would become a long career as a medical technologist. Following stops in St. Catharines and Lansing, Mich., she returned to her hometown where she spent 23 years in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, as a clinical laboratory technologist until 1965, and then providing the technical support needed for the laboratory training of countless students.

Four years after retiring from Western, she married Dr. Robert Murray, a departmental colleague for many years, who was chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology for 25 years, and a professor for more than double that. 

“Marion very much enjoyed helping students realize their goal to be successful in their fields of study,” Robert Murray said Monday. “Western was a significant part of her life and I am so pleased to know that her love of helping students learn will continue to be felt at Western.”

Western president Amit Chakma said the scholarships will help young scientists at a critical time in their development, laying the foundation for a lifetime of medical discoveries. 

“We want to thank Dr. Robert Murray and his late wife for their steadfast support of our university and its students, not only in their philanthropic contributions, but also in their many years of teaching and assisting students,” he said. “It’s an incredible legacy.”

In special recognition of the impact Robert Murray has made on the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, a lounge was dedicated to him on Monday. The Dr. Robert G. E. Murray Lounge (Dental Sciences Building, room 3002) features paintings by his first wife, noted artist Doris Murray, as well as a collection of his medals. The room, Chakma said, will be a place where students and their mentors can exchange ideas and fellowship.


8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(holidays excluded)


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