Western University receives $1.6 million bequest to assist graduate students

It’s no mystery why Western University and the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, and Pathology held such strong ties for Marion Murray, and why she would want to help graduate students pursuing the fields with a $1.6 million bequest, announced today at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Mrs. Murray grew up in London, the daughter of distinguished pathologist and Western professor, Dr. Frederick Winnett Luney. She went to South Collegiate and Western before starting what would become a long and happy career as a medical technologist.  Her first job was in St. Joseph’s Hospital Laboratory, where her father was Chief of Pathology. She moved to St. Catharines and later, to Lansing, Michigan, before returning to her hometown. She then spent 23 years in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, as a clinical laboratory technologist up until 1965, and then providing the technical support needed for the laboratory training of countless students.

She retired from Western in 1981. Four years later, she married Dr. Robert Murray, a widower and departmental colleague for many years. Dr. Murray was chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology for 25 years, and a professor in it for more than double that.

Mrs. Murray died on March 27, 2013. In her will, she directed funds to establish three endowed scholarship programs in support of graduate students who are studying in the areas of pathology, and microbiology and immunology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

“Marion very much enjoyed helping students realize their goal to be successful in their fields of study,” said Dr. Murray.  “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.”

The endowment funds will provide more than $60,000 in annual support awarded in varying amounts to graduate students through scholarships named in honour of her father and her husband. 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,” said Amit Chakma, President and Vice-Chancellor of Western University.  “It’s an incredible legacy.”

The Department of Microbiology & Immunology places a special emphasis on biomedical research and teaching, with a focus on human disease, infection, and immunity.  The Department is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee (75 years) this year, and today, in special recognition of the impact Dr. Murray has made on the Department, a lounge was dedicated to him.  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 Dr. Murray’s medals.  It will be a place where students and their mentors can exchange ideas and fellowship.

The Diamond Jubilee will be celebrated with a special symposium and wine and cheese reception on May 1.

Media contact: Kathy Wallis, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, 519-661-2111 ext. 81136, cell: 519-777-1573, kathy.wallis@schulich.uwo.ca