Ripon College Receives $1 Million Gift to Endow Professorship in Economics

A $1 million dollar gift has been made to Ripon College by Robert and Joan Murray to establish a new endowed professorship in economics.

The gift is a tribute “to honor my father, a long-time trustee of the College, and my mother with a gift to the institution of higher learning that meant so much to them and was so good to them,” says Robert Murray. “My father, Jack Murray, majored in economics at Ripon College, and my mother, Nellie Weiss Murray, graduated with majors in English and education. Joan and I are honored to support the distinguished tradition of teaching at the College.”

Soren B. Hauge has been named the first John Barlow Murray ’37 and Nellie Weiss Murray ’37 Professor in Economics. Hauge has served as a professor in the economics department at Ripon College since 1998. He graduated from Concordia College and earned his Masters of Science and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2002, he was awarded the May Bumby Severy, Class of 1908, Award, in recognition of excellence in undergraduate teaching.

“This generous gift from the Murray family supports our mission to recruit and retain excellent faculty devoted to teaching and developing the next socially responsible leaders,” said Ripon President Zach Messitte. “Further, Robert and Joan’s support of this professorship is a wonderful tribute to John and Nellie – two of our distinguished graduates who contributed greatly to the College and the local Ripon community.”

Jack Murray started as a student at Ripon College in 1931 and began working full time in the machine shop of the Barlow and Seelig Manufacturing Company (later Speed Queen Corp. and now Alliance Laundry) in 1933. He completed his studies part time, graduating in 1937.

He rose to become president of the company in 1959 and subsequently was promoted to vice president, consumer products, of the parent company, McGraw Edison in Elgin, Illinois. He retired in 1976.

For Ripon College, he served on the College Board of Trustees from 1959 to 1977 and was an honorary life trustee until his death in 2007. He was awarded an honorary degree — doctor of law — from the College in 1980. In 1968, Jack and Nellie, as a couple, received distinguished alumni citations from the Ripon College Alumni Association.

The couple also were strong contributors to the community of Ripon. They were honored by the Ripon Jaycees in 1968, and the city’s Murray Park and Barlow Park are named after Jack’s mother and grandfather.

The Murray family’s new gift to Ripon College is counted toward the College’s $60 million Imagine Tomorrow campaign. For more information and to contribute, visit ripon.edu/imagine-tomorrow.


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