Rosemary Murray

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Rosemary Murray
Rosemary Murray.jpg
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
In office
1975–1977
Chancellor The Baron Adrian
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
Preceded by John Wilfrid Linnett
Succeeded by Alan Cottrell
Personal details
Born (1913-07-28)28 July 1913
Died 7 October 2004(2004-10-07) (aged 91)

Dame Alice Rosemary Murray, DBE DL (28 July 1913 – 7 October 2004)[1][2] was a British chemist and educator. She was instrumental in establishing New Hall, Cambridge, and was the first woman to hold the post of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.[3][4] [1]

Biography[edit]

Rosemary Murray was born in Havant, the eldest of six children born to Admiral Arthur John Layard Murray and Ellen Maxwell Spooner.[5] After attending Downe House, Newbury, she studied Chemistry at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She completed a B.Sc. in 1936, and received a Ph.D. in 1938[5] for her research on various aspects of isomerism.[6]

Teaching career[edit]

Rosemary Murray went on to hold teaching positions at the Royal Holloway College, the University of Sheffield and Cambridge.[3][4] She served in an impressive array of positions throughout her career:[1]

World War II[edit]

While at the University of Sheffield (1941–1942) Murray did research on organic chemistry as part of a team working for the Ministry of Supply.[6] In 1942, she joined the WRNS, rising to the rank of chief officer.[5] She worked at Chatham barracks as chief officer directing demobilisation.[citation needed]

New Hall, Cambridge[edit]

New Hall porters' lodge with dining hall dome in background

In 1946, the mistress of Girton College invited Murray to apply for a job at Cambridge.[5] There, Murray played a major role in establishing New Hall, to address the needs of women students.[2] She served as the first president of New Hall from its founding in 1954 until 1981.[4][1][2]

In 1975 she became Cambridge University's first female vice-chancellor for a two-year term during which time she introduced student representation on university committees, founded the Cambridge Society, and inaugurated the clinical medical school, the new music school, and West Road concert hall.

In 1980, Murray published the booklet New Hall, 1954–1972: the Making of a College.[7]

In 2008, it was announced that New Hall would be renamed Murray Edwards College, in honour of the vision of its first President, Rosemary Murray, and the generosity of the Edwards family. [8]

Town and gown[edit]

Murray served as a magistrate in Cambridge for thirty years, from 1953 to 1983, and became the first female deputy lieutenant of Cambridgeshire in 1982. She was president of the National Association of Adult Education from 1977 to 1980. She served as a member of the Committee on Higher Education in Northern Ireland chaired by Sir John Lockwood (1963–65), which led to the creation of the New University of Ulster. She was a member of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (1971–81). She was a director of Midland Bank Ltd (1978–84), and an independent director of The Observer (1981–93).[1]

Achievements[edit]

Dame Rosemary Murray was the first woman to serve as the following:

Honours and awards[edit]

  • She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1977.[6][1]
  • She received honorary degrees from universities in several countries:[9]
    • Doctor of Science (DSc), The New University of Ulster, 1972
    • Doctor of Science (DSc), University of Leeds, 1975
    • Doctor of Science (DSc), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1975
    • Doctor of Civil Law (DCL), Oxford University, 1976
    • Doctor of Law (DL), University of Southern California, 1976
    • Doctor of Science (DSc), Wellesley, 1976
    • Doctor of Laws (LLD), University of Sheffield, 1977
    • Doctor of Science(DSc), The Royal Australian Institute of Colleges, 1981
    • Doctor of Law (DL), Cambridge University, 1988
  • In 2004, a new rose was named in her honour at the Chelsea Flower Show. [10]
  • In 2008, New Hall, Cambridge was renamed Murray Edwards College, in her honour. [8]
  • In 2008, New Hall's Transit of Venus garden was rebuilt as the Dame Rosemary Murray Garden[11]

Death[edit]

She died at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford on 7 October 2004, aged 91.[2][1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Dame Rosemary Murray, First woman to be Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University (Obituary)". The Independent (London, England). 18 October 2004. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Dame Rosemary Murray 1913 - 2004". Cambridge, England: Cambridge University. 8 October 2004. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Dame Rosemary Murray (Obituary)". The Times (London, England). 12 October 2004. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Dame Rosemary Murray (Obituary)". The Telegraph (London, England). 14 October 2004. 
  5. ^ a b c d Rayner-Canham, Marelene F.; Rayner-Canham, Geoffrey (2008). Chemistry Was Their Life: Pioneering British Women Chemists, 1880-1949 (in English). London: Imperial College Press. ISBN 9781860949869. 
  6. ^ a b c Haines, Catharine M.C.; Stevens, Helen M. (2001). International women in science : a biographical dictionary to 1950 (in English). Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1576070905. 
  7. ^ Murray, Rosemary (1980). New Hall, 1954-1972: the making of a college. [Cambridge]: New Hall Cambridge. p. 67. ISBN 0950710806. 
  8. ^ a b "The Edwards Endowment". Murray Edwards College. 2009. 
  9. ^ "New Hall Archives : Personal papers of Dame Rosemary Murray". Murray Edwards College. 
  10. ^ "Launch of 'Rosemary Murray' rose at Chelsea Flower Show". Murray Edwards College. 27 May 2004. 
  11. ^ "Dame Rosemary Murray Garden Opened". Murray Edwards College. 12 September 2008. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
None: new position
President of New Hall, Cambridge
1954–1981
Succeeded by
Valerie Pearl
Preceded by
John Wilfrid Linnett
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
1975–1977
Succeeded by
Alan Cottrell

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