This archived article was written by: Karli Morris
Building the SUN (Serving Utah Network) Center, serving thousands, both in the community and state-wide and inspiring and befriending many are just some of the things that Kathy Murray accomplished in her 27 years at College of Eastern Utah and Utah State University Eastern. Murray recently chose to retire when student services was restructured. Upon her leaving, Murray expressed her gratitude to the faculty and staff of Utah State University Eastern in an e-mail:
“I have enjoyed working with you the past 27 years. You have been my work family. I have felt your support, seen your talents and strengths and admired you. I have learned from you, laughed with you, worried with you, mourned with you and served with your generosity and acts of kindness to assist those you might never meet but through the SUN Center, your support was very important to our students. The one thing we do have in common is a love for our students, their growth and learning.
Like pioneers we have trekked across the plains of change to get to a better place. Some must be left along the trail but their hearts and love go forward still. Thanks for the memories, cow aprons, angel trees, student workers, smiles, meeting and gentle kindnesses, and students faces after service was well done. I will remember and cherish those memories.
I will miss you. Have a Merry Christmas and remember to do good always.”
Many friends and co-workers also wished to express their thoughts and feelings for Murray.
“It has become my impression, by my own observations, that Kathy just didn’t supervise activities at the Sun Center, but rather, she was the Sun Center,” remarked Dr. Henning Olsen, associate professor of business.
Automotive assistant professor Stan Martineau commented, “Kathy cared about the students and provided a great service to all. I will miss her!”
Shanny Wilson of academic advising, wrote,
“My friend, it has been an honor to have worked side by side with you for over a decade. You are kind, passionate, caring and honest; always eager to help, give, listen and serve. Words cannot describe your 27-year journey at CEU and all the wonderful things you have experienced and accomplished, but your legacy will live on…The students have learned so much from you, leaned on you and loved having you in their lives. I will ‘do good always’ and miss you terribly! To one of the greatest people I know ~ enjoy every moment of your retirement!”
Dr. Susan Polster, JCOM department said, “Kathy is the SUN Center. No one can ever take her place. They will sit in her chair and continue the work that she spent years amassing, but they won’t bring what Kathy brought to work each day: her positive attitude, her unwavering respect of each student and her compassion for each project. I will miss Kathy and her ‘do good always’ attitude.”
“Kathy Murray a ray of sunshine. I remember the first time I visited her office, sun flowers all around. Working side by side with her for Bread-n-Soup nights was a very positive time of service. She always looked for the things everyone did right. Thanks Kathy for the many happy memories. God bless you with the many memories you’ve shared with so many,” said Becky Archibald director of dining services.
Another thought of Murray was shared by Jan Thornton of counseling services, “The main thing that comes to mind when I think of Kathy is her warmth and the way she could make any student feel cared about. When I had a student who just needed to ‘belong’ I always tried to connect them with Kathy and she always gave those students that place.”
Current SUN Center leaders also took the time to share memories of Murray.
“Every time I would see Kathy she would ask how I was doing and the biggest smile on her face. I loved seeing her bright and early in the morning at breakaway, in class. and in the SUN Center. she always has fashionable clothes and was always so willing to help out in any way. I would have to say my favorite memory of her is when we rode home from the retreat together. We laughed a ton and talked about life,” commented Mindi Bowman.
Elcio Dutra, SUN Center vice president said, “Kathy was never afraid to do hard work, whether we were digging holes or pruning trees, Kathy was always there with the students, helping us and encouraging us. One of her mottos is “do no harm” and she always made sure that our work would not offend or hurt anyone. Since she was always happy, it made it easy to want to serve others.”
Shanna Frame also shared memories, “My favorite memories of Kathy are when I saw the happiness she got from serving others. There were many times that I saw her drop everything she was doing to help someone else. She had a way of making you feel important because as she helped you, you were all that mattered for that moment. She was always so excited to hear about how my project, Kids @ Heart, was going and was always ready and willing to help if I needed. For Kathy, service isn’t just a project to be accomplished, but a lifestyle.
When I came to USU Eastern, I didn’t even know what SUN Center was. I talked to Kathy about getting a job and she also suggested that I joined SUN Center. I wasn’t sure about it in the beginning but Kathy’s excitement was contagious. I joined without knowing what I was getting myself into, but I can honestly say that joining SUN Center was the best decision that I made when I came here. If it hadn’t have been for Kathy I wouldn’t have ever known what I was missing out on. “
“Kathy is love and service in human form, she always puts others before herself and was always looking for ways to improve the school, community and lives of everyone she came into contact with. All in all she is just a phenomenal person and everyone who came to know her, whether deeply or only for a brief period of time, became a better person because of it, shared SUN Center Vice President Jordan Sanders.
“I know of very few individuals in this world that have affected so many lives as has Kathy Murray. For over two decades, she has given her life and everything she is to serving others. She has literally spent thousands upon thousands of hours serving those who for the most part have been complete strangers to her. Her love for others knows no bounds. The charity with which she lives her life has served as an example to me as well as thousands of students, peers, co-workers, and community members whose lives she has touched. If asked to define the word ‘philanthropy,’ any attempt could easily be replaced by the words ‘Kathy Murray.’ I recall on several occasions coming to the SUN Center office late at night to find Kathy still there working, trying to finish some work she had put off doing during the day in order to go help someone in need. She taught us all what it meant to first, ‘do no harm,’ and to ‘remember to do good always.’ Ever recently, when the restructuring occurred, her concern was, as always, not for herself, but for us. Her worries were about the students – whether or not we would be taken care of – rather than her own self-interest. It has been a privilege and an honor to know her and to be able to work and serve alongside her,” said SUN Center President Austin Ashcraft.