Dr. John Murray

Dr. John Murray Education:
S.J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School, 1959
J.D., Catholic University Law School, 1958
B.S., La Salle University, 1955

Dr. John E. Murray, Jr. has his bachelor’s degree from La Salle University, his law degree from the Catholic University of America and his Ph.D. of law from the University of Wisconsin. He also holds honorary doctoral degrees from La Salle University and Carnegie Mellon University.  

In the first six years of his career, he served as professor of law and acting dean, Duquesne University. His next 21 years were at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he became dean and also served as university distinguished professor of law. He also served as university professor and dean of the Villanova University School of Law. He became president of Duquesne University in 1988 and served until 2001. He has since served as chancellor of Duquesne University and professor of law.

Murray has won teaching awards at all of the foregoing institutions. He has written 26 books, numerous articles and won the 2013 lifetime achievement award from the International Conference of Professors of Contract Law for his life’s work. His books are used in every law school in the United States and are cited as authority in federal and state court cases throughout America including the United States Supreme Court.  

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorialized that John Murray’s 13 years as president of Duquesne University manifested an “extraordinary tenure” that set “a standard of excellence and achievement that is truly remarkable.” (Post-Gazette editorial, August 18, 2001).  He took a small, financially distressed university with major accreditation problems to one of dynamic growth, doubling the student body, adding 80 new academic programs and two new schools. The entire campus was rebuilt and moved from antiquated equipment to state-of-the-art technology, as well as a true research and scholarly dimensions as well as a Pittsburgh “gem.” While raising funds to expend millions of dollars on new and refurbished buildings, major increases in faculty and staff salaries, he eliminated deficits, ending each year of his presidency with a surplus and a $100 million endowment. More than one Pittsburgh CEO stated that such a turnaround in business would be deemed “a miracle.” Ten years into his presidency, the same accrediting agency that had listed numerous “concerns” and had placed the University probation a decade before found “no concerns” and heralded the University, stating, “In a most striking manner, Duquesne meets both the spirit and principal elements of (our) standards of excellence.” A member of the accreditation team who had previously examined numerous schools stated that it was “the most positive accreditation report he had ever seen.”  

Murray was named Man of the Year in Pittsburgh, a History Maker in Pittsburgh and one of the 100 Pittsburgh Citizens of the Century. His deanships of the University of Pittsburgh and Villanova University Schools of Law were deemed uniquely successful. Murray has served on numerous non-profit boards including the Thea Bowman Foundation board, which he chairs.  He has served as lead director and chairman of the board of Federated Investors, Inc., one of the largest fund companies in the world and vice chair of the board of Michael Baker Corporation.  

When called to serve his neighbors years ago in Pleasant Hills, he became mayor and was responsible for several new directions in government, though pledging never to run for political office again “for fear that I may win.”  

Murray served as chairman of ComPAC 21, the committee to Prepare Allegheny County for the 21st century, which created the report to change the structure of county government from the three-commissioner system to a single executive with a non-salaried council. Though attempts at such a change had failed over many years and was viewed as “impossible,” Murray led this effort which succeeded in 2000.”  

When the City of Pittsburgh faced bankruptcy, Murray was appointed by the governor to the Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority that was a significant factor in restoring financial credibility to the City. He chaired that Authority until the solution appeared firm. He has also served on numerous community boards and has provided advice to various leaders concerned with enhancing the quality of life in the region.  

Pittsburgh Magazine in 2014 named him as one of the eight leading professors among all universities in the Pittsburgh region. Murray continued his activities as chancellor and professor of law at Duquesne University up until his death on February 11, 2015.