Duquesne University is mourning the loss of Thomas J. Murrin, who died Jan. 30 at age 82. Murrin’s considerable impact as chair of Duquesne’s Board of Directors and dean and professor of Duquesne’s Palumbo•Donahue Schools of Business continues to this day.
Murrin, who served as dean from 1991 to 2000, helped develop innovative programs in the business school to distinguish its teaching, research and service with an emphasis in the areas of global competitiveness, advanced technology and economic growth. He also taught the popular graduate course, Executive Insights into Contemporary Global Issues. “We must think globally and act nationally,” Murrin said in an interview upon being named dean.
In 1989, Murrin, recognizing even then the importance of business competition in an international platform, made a $1.5 million gift to Duquesne University to establish the Thomas J. and Marie C. Murrin Chair in Global Competitiveness, an important endowed chair post in the Palumbo•Donahue Schools of Business.
After serving as dean, Murrin continued to teach in the business school at Duquesne up to his retirement in 2006 as a University Distinguished Service Professor.
Before joining Duquesne University, Murrin served for 18 months as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, for which he was nominated by President George H.W. Bush. He also was a U.S. Delegate to the NATO Industrial Advisory Group and was a member of the Defense Policy Advisory Committee on Trade with the Department of Defense.
Murrin’s longest tenure was Westinghouse Electric Corp., where he started as a manufacturing and materials engineer in 1951 and retired as its president in 1987.
A member of numerous boards and several organizations, including Duquesne Light and Motorola, Murrin chaired Gov. Tom Ridge’s Technology 21 program, the Pittsburgh Public School System Assessment Panel and the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative. He also served on the Airport Authority Board of Allegheny County, the Holy Family Institute for Learning Abilities and Mercy Hospital’s Foundation, among others.
Murrin earned a bachelor’s in physics from Fordham University, where he was a starting tackle under Coach Vince Lombardi. He was a Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering and received numerous honors, including the Pittsburgh Man of the Year Award in Education, the 2002 Legend of Business Recognition at Elon University and selection into the Automation Hall of Fame Board of Advisors.