Dr. Kathleen Murray takes office as Hamline’s 21st president


Dr. Kathleen Murray took office as the 21st president of Hamline University on Jan. 1, becoming the third consecutive woman to lead Minnesota’s oldest institution of higher education, which enters its 170th year in 2024. She will serve as Acting/Interim President.
Dr. Murray brings 40 years of academic and higher education leadership experience to her role at Hamline – as the first female president at Whitman College, provost and dean of the faculty at Macalester College, as provost at Birmingham-Southern College, and a professor of piano, dean of the conservatory, and dean of the faculty at Lawrence University. Dr. Murray will be the third consecutive female president of Hamline.
“The Board of Trustees was impressed by Dr. Murray’s strong track record,” Board Chair Ellen Watters said. “She is a dynamic, action-oriented and inclusive leader with a strong commitment to strategic fiscal management, diversity, and academic program development. She values voices of students, faculty, and staff, and I am confident she will be an exceptional president.”
Dr. Murray shared: “I am both honored and humbled by this appointment. I was deeply impressed by the passion for Hamline expressed by all of the students, faculty, staff, and alums I met during the search process, and I believe we can work together to build on the university’s very strong past to prepare it to thrive into the future.”
Dr. Murray retired in 2022 after serving for seven years as president of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. In her time at Whitman, she guided the college through the COVID-19 pandemic; implemented a campus-wide financial sustainability review in 2020 that allowed the college to develop and implement a sustainable budget coming out of COVID; guided a strategic planning process that informed fundraising priorities in the first phase of a comprehensive campaign which raised more than $100 million; and successfully raised over $10 million to build a new residence hall and dining commons.
Prior to Whitman, Dr. Murray served as provost, dean of the faculty, and professor of music at Macalester College for seven years. In addition to the responsibilities of the chief academic officer, Dr. Murray directed the planning for a $70 million renovation and expansion to the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. Macalester’s Board of Trustees appointed her as acting president from September to December 2013 while President Brian Rosenberg was on sabbatical leave.
She served as provost and vice-president for academic affairs at Birmingham-Southern College. Earlier in her career she spent 19 years as professor of music, dean of the conservatory, and finally dean of the faculty at Lawrence University.
Dr. Murray holds a Doctor of Music from Northwestern University, a Master of Music from Bowling Green State University, and a Bachelor of Music from Illinois Wesleyan University. Her training focused on piano performance and pedagogy. Dr. Murray is committed to public and community service. She has served on national, state, and local committees and boards dealing with higher education, athletics, youth, music teachers and public radio.
Dr. Murray succeeds Dr. Fayneese Miller, who began a sabbatical on Dec. 31. She will retire on June 30.


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