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Murphy, William J., 1895-1973



  • Existence: 1895 - 1972

Biographical Note

William J. Murphy, Jesuit, professor, Boston College president.

Murphy was born in 1895. He attended Boston College from 1912 to 1914, before entering the Society of Jesus. He was ordained in 1927, then named general director of studies of the Jesuit Schools of New England. Murphy spent three years lecturing in literature at Boston College and Boston College Graduate School. He was appointed as the nineteenth president on August 15, 1939, sixteen days before Hitler invaded Poland, and ceased his tenure six years later, five days after Japanese surrender ended the war. In 1941, Murphy oversaw the donation of the Liggett Estate by Cardinal William O'Connell to house the College of Business Administration, and the first celebration in Massachusetts of the Solemn Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, also known as the Red Mass. It denotes the beginning of the judicial year in a religious ceremony, and as such was sponsored by the Law School and Cardinal O'Connell. Attendees included many notable political figures. In the closing months of his presidency, Murphy announced the establishment of a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration with a major in marketing that was offered at the Intown College. An Institute of Adult Education, which was not degree-granting, also opened at the Intown College in fall 1945. After leaving Boston College in 1945, Murphy served in a variety of roles including dean of Shadow Brook Novitiate in Lenox, Massachusetts; instructor of tertian priests at St. Robert's Hall in Pomfret, Connecticut; and director of retreats at Campion Retreat House. He died in 1973.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

William J. Murphy, SJ, President's Office records


The William J. Murphy, SJ, President’s Office Records contain correspondence, memos, student applications, contracts, notes, brochures, and pamphlets documenting Murphy's term as the nineteenth president of Boston College. Murphy's presidency coincided with World War II, and these records also document the war's effects on campus military programs and funding.

Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Dates: 1929 - 1948; Majority of material found within 1939 - 1945