25 Years of Service: Desmond Murray
Associate Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Desmond Murray is passionate about getting students (and anyone else) involved in authentic research experiences. Over the 25 years he has been teaching at Andrews, he has mentored hundreds, if not thousands, of students.
The Andrews students who have been blessed by his mentorship have gone on to graduate school in chemistry as well as to work in Adventist academies around the country. Desmond has mentored student research in support of master’s projects in biology as well as Honors.
He has developed a very innovative curriculum based around synthesizing novel molecules that is part of the Berrien Math & Science Center’s program that serves high school students interested in science from Berrien and Cass Counties. To provide these students with a forum to present their research, he was the driving force behind a “research celebration” at the end of their senior year. This research experience has been recognized by parents as a highlight of the Math & Science Center curriculum. In 2018, Desmond had the opportunity to work with American Chemical Society Publishers to edit a book on this topic with colleagues. His impact on education in the state has been recognized with a state-wide teaching award.
Desmond has also been instrumental in growing the chemistry seminar series, leading an effort to rename the series for long-time faculty member, Dwain L. Ford. He has gathered speakers from a diversity of career paths, points in their career journey, and ethnicities. Desmond was instrumental in getting Nobel Prize winner Sir Fraser Stoddart to give a presentation on campus. He has long recognized the benefit of incorporating remote speakers in our program and actually published a paper, with campus colleagues, in 2011 on remote seminar presentations. When the pandemic hit, this well-oiled machine broadened the pool of our speakers and this spring we are hearing from people on the front lines of COVID vaccine development.
Desmond actively engages with the local community beyond the Andrews campus. Several years ago, he coordinated the “Socrates” program where Andrews students would mentor students in the Benton Harbor schools. More recently, he was instrumental in organizing Andrews’ annual Change Day and he continues as an editor of the community newspaper, “Benton-Michiana Spirit.”
Thank you, Desmond, for 25 years of dedicated service to Andrews University. Our community, campus and department have been blessed by and are a better place because of your work.