March 9, 2018

College Bids Farewell to Dean Murphy

Douglas Murphy, Ph.D.

College of Health Professions Dean Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., speaks at his retirement party. Murphy retired in December 2017 after nearly 7 years at UAMS.

After nearly seven years at the helm of the College of Health Professions (CHP), Dean Douglas Murphy, Ph.D., retired from UAMS in December. Before he left, CHP faculty and colleagues from around campus turned the college’s annual Holiday Open House into a farewell reception for Murphy.

“Douglas didn’t want us to make a big fuss over his retirement,” said Interim Dean Susan Long, Ed.D. “However, we all felt it was important for us to let him know how much of an influence he had on the college. So we decided that honoring him during the Open House would be a good compromise.”

Bill Woodell, associate dean of administration, introduced Murphy at the Nov. 29 event. Woodell said the college saw tremendous growth under Murphy’s leadership, creating the Center of Dental Education, adding programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Physical Therapy and coordinating with the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville on an Occupational Therapy program, which is on track to admit students in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Dr. Murphy and Dean Lee

Murphy chats with Dean Lee, executive director of alumni and constituent relations, during Murphy’s retirement party.

He noted the college now has more than 600 students in 27 certificate and degree programs across 24 academic programs. Murphy also focused on improving the student experience and created a college-wide advisory board — a first for CHP.

But this doesn’t begin to reveal the true value that Murphy brought to CHP, Woodell said, adding it was Murphy’s generosity, sense of humor and caring attitude toward the students, programs, faculty and staff that truly made him a great leader.

Woodell presented Murphy with a poster-sized photo of the dean’s smiling visage, announcing to much laughter that the graphic was a souvenir from the game, “Pin the Bowtie on the Dean.” The game was part of the college’s very first Courtyard Carnival — an event to enhance the student experience which was developed during Dean Murphy’s tenure. On a more serious note, Long revealed that the college had made a donation in Murphy’s name to the Wildwood Center for the Arts, and Dean Lee from Institutional Advancement presented Murphy with a pen.

Bill Woodell

Bill Woodell, associate dean of administration, shows off a souvenir from the game, “Pin the Bowtie on the Dean,” which he presented to Murphy.

Murphy told the crowd “it has been a profound privilege to work with you all over the past few years,” adding that the college’s faculty, staff and students are “among the finest people I have known —and among the most professional.”

He said his father taught him that a “well-lived life is one dedicated to service,” a philosophy that he sees in action every day at UAMS.

“The College of Health Professions is well-positioned to thrive and grow in the future,” Murphy said. “I will be watching from a distance and cheering you on, in amazement of what you are going to accomplish.”