By Victor Essel | The Duquesne Duke
Duquesne Chancellor and law professor John E. Murray received the Distinguished Lifetime Service Award on Friday at the eighth Annual International Conference on Contracts in Dallas.
Murray holds the title of chancellor for being a respected leader in his studies at the University.
The International Conference is the largest annual scholarly and educational event devoted to contracts and related areas of commercial law. There is discussion of contract-related issues and includes a mix of senior and junior scholars from national and international backgrounds.
“I was joined by friends and colleagues, and we enjoyed a very nice dinner,” Murray said. “Those who attended were teachers and writers of contract law from around the world, but mostly Americans.”
Murray, 80, served as Duquesne’s 11th president from 1988 to 2001 and is currently teaching classes at Duquesne’s School of Law. His publications and articles are referenced by courts and universities throughout the country.
“It is special because this is recognition from my peers. These are the people that do what I do, and they understand and recognize my life’s work,” Murray said.
Murray said scholarship and contract law are important aspects of his life’s work. He said he enjoys teaching law, including writing and research in the field.
“I have always carved out time to do what I like. Writing can be very difficult, but it is the most rewarding,” Murray said. “I enjoy having deadlines – there is always one in the near future.”
Murray said he enjoys and will continue teaching law because it is an “applied philosophy.” Early on, he developed an appreciation for philosophical thought after studying it as an undergraduate at La Salle University.
Nicholas Cafardi, dean emeritus and law professor, said Murray is a “giant in his field.”
“This honor is more than his due, because Dr. Murray has given his scholarly life to the field of contract law, in ways that have benefited the courts, practitioners of the law and his beloved law students,” Cafardi said.
Cafardi said he was lucky to meet Murray when he was a young law student and Murray was a young professor of law.
“He has been my mentor and friend ever since,” he said.
Dana Giallonardo, a third-year law student, is currently taking one of Murray’s classes, Sales and Leased Goods.
Giallonardo said Murray’s classes are exceptional, and that Murray’s “passion and knowledge of the subject” makes the class go by quickly.
“His teaching surely exceeds his reputation,” Giallonardo said. “Not only are we, as law students, learning from a man who actually wrote our textbook, but he just so happens to be a leader in the field of contract law, as evidenced by his most recent lifetime achievement award.”
Murray was the former dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s law school and the Villanova University School of Law. During his years as president at Duquesne, he prompted a transformation of the University.
“Duquesne grew from about 5,000 students to over 10,000 students in about 10 years,” Murray said. “Under my administration, we created numerous new buildings and facilities, expanding the campus to much of what it is today.”
Many of the buildings around campus were refurbished or created during Murray’s tenure. Rockwell Hall’s skywalk was constructed and the parking garage, the Student Union and the Living Learning Centers were refurbished.
He had one piece of advice for Duquesne’s current students.
“I believe in a virtuous life. We should practice the habit of trying to get better day by day – physically, mentally, morally, spiritually – no matter who you are,” Murray said. “If you do not intend to do this, stay in bed.”
Photo by Fred Blauth | Photo Editor
Caption: Duquesne Chancellor and law professor John E. Murray received the Distinguished Lifetime Service Award on Friday in Dallas. Murray served as Duquesne’s president from 1988 to 2001.