Dear Emerson Community,
It is with deep sadness that I write to inform you that our community has lost a beloved colleague, a brilliant leader, and a dear friend. We learned from Maureen Murphy’s family today that Maureen died this afternoon, 12 December, of complications from ovarian cancer, which she battled courageously for the last several months.
Maureen served as the College’s Vice President for Administration and Finance from October 2010 until she just recently made the decision not to return to Emerson in order to focus on her medical challenges and spend time with her family. I know that many of us have been holding on to hope for Maureen’s recovery, and it pains me greatly to have to share this very sad news with you.
None of the transformative growth and successes that Emerson has enjoyed over the past several years would have been possible without Maureen’s sage stewardship of the College’s resources, nor without her good counsel.
Maureen’s extraordinary leadership and contributions to the business of higher education are recognized not only on our campus, but far and wide. Before coming to Emerson, she served as Vice President for Financial Affairs and Treasurer at Brandeis University, as well as Chief Financial Officer at New York University in Abu Dhabi. She also held leadership positions in the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers (EACUBO), and The Boston Consortium of colleges and universities in Greater Boston. In October 2018, EACUBO awarded her the KPMG Distinguished Service Award, which is given annually to “someone who has cultivated and embodied a strategic leadership mindset and reflected EACUBO’S core values in fostering a sense of community and collegiality.” This award was profoundly well-deserved and befitted the breadth of her influence within her profession.
Her commitment to advancing higher education was rooted in her own lifelong love of learning. Maureen graduated with honors from Northeastern University and held two master’s degrees – a M.S. in accounting from Northeastern and a M.S. in taxation from Bentley University – in addition to being a certified public accountant (CPA).
Maureen will be deeply missed by so many in this community and well beyond. She carried herself with humility. She loved her family. And as I said last week, she understood that her job was less about numbers and bricks and mortar, and more about helping all members of our community to live out their lives and work with success and personal fulfillment. She leaves a lasting legacy at Emerson that will benefit future generations of students, faculty, and staff.
She was my friend, and we were a wonderful team. We worked well together. We met nearly every Friday afternoon in her office where we discussed and planned how we might help Emerson College become a place of extraordinary achievement and excellence. She will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved her.
Maureen leaves behind her husband Dennis, son Brendan, and his wife Etif, granddaughter Rhoda, and daughter Kelsey, as well as extended family members and many friends. Additional information regarding funeral services will be shared when available. The College plans to hold a celebration of Maureen’s life in the spring semester, the details of which will be shared.