Foundation creates award honoring Penn State alumnus and Navy Seal

October 27, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Office of Undergraduate Education has received funding from the Lt. Michael P. Murphy USN Memorial Foundation to create the Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Award. The scholarship will be awarded to full-time, high-achieving undergraduate students in their second or third year of studies with demonstrated financial need.

The scholarship honors Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a 1998 graduate of Penn State who was fatally wounded during an intelligence mission in Afghanistan in 2005. Murphy, a Navy Seal, is the only Penn State alumnus to earn the Medal of Honor. He posthumously received the U.S. military’s highest decoration for his heroic actions, and a Navy destroyer was named for Murphy earlier this year. Penn State’s class of 2011 chose to honor Murphy by creating the Lt. Michael P. Murphy/Penn State Veterans Memorial Plaza on the University Park campus.

Daniel Murphy, father of Michael Murphy and chairman of the Lt. Michael P. Murphy USN Memorial Foundation, said, "The Lt. Michael P. Murphy USN Memorial Scholarship Foundation is pleased to fund the Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy Scholarship Award at our son Michael's alma mater, Penn State, on a continuing and annual basis to provide financial assistance. Michael believed in the value of education and would always comment that ‘education will set you free,’ and the family cannot think of a better legacy to our son than to continue the higher education of Penn State students in need.”

Murphy was born May 7, 1976, in Smithtown, N.Y., and grew up in the Long Island town of Patchogue, N.Y. Murphy graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School in 1994 and attended Penn State, where he was an exceptional all-around athlete and student. In 1998, he graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and psychology.

“Michael's time as a Penn State student was some of the best days of his life,” said Daniel Murphy. “He so enjoyed the college life and academic study on campus and became very attached to Penn State and its rich and colorful history. The fact that the 2011 graduates of Penn State have honored Michael and all veterans with the addition of the Lt. Michael P. Murphy/Penn State Veterans Memorial Plaza on campus is added recognition of Penn State's rich history of service to this great country of ours. Penn State is synonymous with volunteerism, patriotism and service to one's country and the Murphy family is honored and grateful to have Michael's scholarship foundation recognize Penn State's contributions in that regard by funding scholarships for Penn State's students."

Robert N. Pangborn, vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education, said, “The University is very grateful to the Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation for its support of Penn State students. This scholarship will help attract and retain outstanding students with financial need while memorializing one of Penn State’s most heroic alumni, Lt. Michael P. Murphy.”

Creation of this scholarship comes at an important time during the University’s current fundraising campaign, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.

The For the Future campaign is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State’s alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University’s tradition of quality. The campaign’s top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

Those who are interested in making a contribution to the Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship or any other University scholarship should contact Daniel Genard, director of development for Undergraduate Education, at 814-865-7594 or

Last Updated October 31, 2011