When it came time for college, Julie Murphy sent her public high-school transcripts to three local universities, hoping to get into the business program of at least one of them. The first in her family to apply to college, she was surprised when Xavier offered her the hard-to-get St. Francis Xavier full-tuition academic scholarship.
“We come from a family with a good work ethic, and having that opportunity to make the most of it with that award, for me, changed everything,” she says. “I chose Xavier, and my life changed forever.”
So began a four-year journey for Murphy that led to a business degree, a 23-year business career, and a family with her husband and Xavier colleague, Dan Murphy. They both majored in accounting and graduated together in 1985 with degrees in business administration.
Dan was at Xavier on an academic scholarship, too, and now both Dan and Julie are giving back so that more students like themselves can afford a Xavier education. In 2006, they created the Daniel M. and Julie J. Murphy Family Scholarship Fund to benefit public school students from middle-class families in Hamilton County who have a 3.25 or higher grade point average.
They contribute to the fund every year as their Annual Fund gift. Since 2006, the fund has provided over $16,000 to 13 students.
“Somewhere, somebody gave money so two public school kids who worked hard got a chance to attend a great university we otherwise could never have afforded,” Dan told Xavier magazine in 2006. “We wanted to give back, and we’re hoping other people will step up and do the same.”
They feel the same way today, Julie says, maybe even more so. Without her scholarship, she would have gone to a different local college, lived at home and worked full time to pay her way. As it was, she worked nearly full time all four years at Xavier, but she was able to live in a dorm on campus and participate in the full life of a Xavier student.
“The nice thing about the Xavier scholarship was I could work enough to live on campus,” she says. “I have been working full time and been financially independent since I was 18. Xavier was my path to independence.”
After graduation, Julie found she was highly employable because of her degrees in accounting and information systems technology. Hired by Great American Insurance, she rose to the rank of CIO for information technology before branching out in 2005 to work as a management consultant to small and medium-sized businesses, most recently in the education and learning resource field. She recently started a new position at the non-profit ACT as senior director of learning resources.
Dan initially worked for the accounting firm of Deloitte but since then has started several successful business coaching companies and national franchise systems including The Growth Coach, Caring Transitions, TruBlue Total House Care, and Pet Wants. He is now president and co-founder of Franchise Funding Group aimed at successful entrepreneurs.
Since graduating, however, the Murphys have kept close ties to Xavier. That includes 30 years of basketball season tickets, contributions to the Annual Fund, and Dan’s service as a mentor, president of the National Alumni Association and member of the Board of Trustees, and as parents. Their daughter, Kelsey, graduated in 2017 and is already giving back to Xavier as a member of the Young Alumni 1831 Society.
Dan and Julie have also been longtime members of the 1831 Society, and Julie is a member of the Women of Excellence. She enjoys contributing to the Giving Circle which funds special projects developed by faculty, staff and students.
But their endowed scholarship fund provides the greatest satisfaction.
“Because we both received scholarships that made attending Xavier possible, when we had the wherewithal to do that, we felt it was a good way to give back,” she says. “Education is the cornerstone of success, so for us, even if it’s just a small contribution to a student, it’s to enable them to experience Xavier, grow through Xavier and go out and do good in the world.”
The Celebration of Scholarships from 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, brings donors and scholarship recipients to campus for a chance to meet and get to know each other. Invitations will be mailed. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.