January 25, 2021

Centenary University to Inaugurate Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., as 14th President

Event on Thursday, Jan. 28, may be the first virtual inauguration of a university president.

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ, Jan. 25, 2021—Centenary University will formally inaugurate Bruce Murphy, Ed.D., as its 14th president during a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 28. The event may be the first virtual inauguration of a university president in the United States, and perhaps in the world. The virtual inauguration will go live on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 11 a.m. via this link.

The ceremony will feature an inaugural address from Dr. Murphy, as well as presentations from a host of dignitaries, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Lou Manzione, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey. A special message will also be delivered by Jeanne Murphy, a retired U.S. Army colonel and Dr. Murphy’s wife. Other inauguration speakers will include the presidents of several New Jersey independent universities and community colleges and representatives of the Centenary University faculty, staff, administration, student body, and alumni association.

Rochelle Makela-Goodman, chair of the Centenary University Board of Trustees, will preside over the inauguration. “Dr. Murphy has demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout his first year at Centenary University,” said Makela-Goodman. “In addition to guiding the University through one of the most difficult eras in our history, he is moving forward with plans to enhance academic, research, and extracurricular opportunities that will strengthen Centenary University for generations to come.”

Dr. Murphy assumed the presidency of Centenary University on Jan. 1, 2020, just weeks before COVID-19 halted in-person instruction on the nation’s college campuses. A retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, he has provided steady leadership throughout the global health crisis. Top priorities for Dr. Murphy were ensuring that Centenary students not miss a day of instruction during the pandemic and the return of in-person classes for the fall semester. A new program called Centenary Choice now gives students the option of attending classes fully in-person, online, or in a HyFlex format combining the two. Thanks to stringent COVID-19 mitigation efforts, the University completed in-person instruction for the fall semester, as planned, on Nov. 24.

During his education career, Dr. Murphy served as president of Nicholls State University in Louisiana. In addition, he taught leadership courses at West Point and was vice president for academic affairs at the U.S. Air Force’s Air University in Alabama. He also held teaching posts at Vanderbilt University and Mercyhurst College, where he was the founding director of the Master of Science in organizational leadership program and chair of the Walker School of Business. In addition, he was the founding dean of the School of Business and professor of management at Point Park University. Dr. Murphy earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Vanderbilt University, master’s degrees from Teachers College at Columbia University and the University of Southern California, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley.


Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs in Parsippany, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.

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