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Pat Murray's Farewell Words

May 8, 2008

woman smiling

Pat Murray, who retired in May as advisor and supervisor of the award-winning Computer Science Department’s advising office, read the following inspiring “farewell words” to the department on May 8, 2008.

Department of Computer Science–these are the people who challenged me

I want to thank all the faculty, Greg Andrews and Pete Downey, the department heads I have worked for, the lecturers who I worked with daily regarding the undergraduate program, my staff colleagues and all the students. They challenged me to do good work in changing and unpredictable times.

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Advising Community–these are the people who inspired me

I want to thank my professional colleagues, especially the advisors in the College of Science, and all the people who work with students in any capacity. We learned together and laughed together and sometimes cried together but always the focus of our work life was students. It is time to pass the torch.

“There is a fullness of time when men (and women) should go and not occupy too long the ground to which others have a right to advance” Thomas Jefferson

My mentors–these are the people who believed in me

Some are retired, some have left UA, some have left this good earth but all have had a powerful impact in my life and all of them are leaders.

Dr. Patricia Van Metre, Fine Arts professor and Assistant Dean in the Graduate College. She hired me in 1984 as a records clerk in the Graduate College. I had never worked on a computer before and her words to me were “you’ll learn”.

Dr. Richard Curlee, Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Assistant Dean in the Graduate College

Dr. Judy Mitchell, College of Education

Dr. Peggy Douglas, College of Education

Dr. Suzanne Westbrook, Department of Computer Science

“You don’t manage people; you manage things. You lead people” Grace Murray Hopper, Navy Rear Admiral and pioneer in computer science

Students–these are the people who mattered to me

I left the University of Kentucky and did not go back until I was 25. And it was hard. After that experience, and understanding there was a profession in academic advising, all I ever wanted to do was work with students and education. I sincerely hope I have helped with your academic journey. It has been a privilege and honor to work with you. My words to you are:

Be proud of your accomplishments and live your life out loud.

These are words for you from Randy Pausch’s book The Last Lecture. He is a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

“Always have fun.

Dream big.

Ask for what you want.

Dare to take a risk.

Look for the best in everybody.

Make time for what matters.”

My colleagues in Academic Services–these are the people who taught me

These are people who are dedicated and active professionally in leadership roles which include serving on the Staff Advisory Council, serving on search committees, and co-chairing UPAC. We have spent many years together and have shared much more than work hours. I learned more from you than you will ever know. I leave our office in the competent hands of strong and capable people.

“True leadership is more about the depth of your commitment and the strength of your character than about the position you hold” Robin Sharma

My family–these are the people who love me

My son, Wade Morgan, who is graduating next week and at times probably wished his mom was not an advisor. I would switch gears constantly, saying “I am talking to you as your Mom now” and the next minute I would say “Now I am talking to you as an advisor.”

My husband and friend, Gary Morgan, who gave up many weekend fishing trips because I came into the office. He knew my work was important to me and supported me every step of the way.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Final words

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out and proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride.’” anonymous

I thank you with all my heart for sharing part of that ride with me.

May 8, 2008