Seminar room named to honor fallen alumnus

April 28, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- Students and faculty in Penn State's Department of Political Science use 302 Pond Building as their community center, where they regularly discuss their classes and projects about political life. It is this room that the department and the College of the Liberal Arts recently dedicated in memory of Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Penn State graduate who was killed while leading an intelligence mission behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, and who was posthumously recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor in October 2007.

The Medal of Honor is the highest military award for valor. The seminar room now will be known as the Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Conference Room. The department's Board of Visitors and Capt. William Hanson and the Penn State ROTC Battalion also participated in the ceremony.

"The seminar room is our main community space for our faculty, students and visitors in learning and service activities," said Donna Bahry, professor and head of the political science department. "A good number of our graduates have pursued careers in the military, as did Michael, and a good number of our current students are currently in ROTC. The Department and our Board of Visitors want the Penn State community to always remember the story about how one person made a difference in the lives of many. And, they too can go on to make a difference with the same spirit of personal leadership."

Murphy was a 1998 graduate in political science with honors who decided to join the U.S. Navy and the SEALS unit. In 2005, he led a four-man team deep behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. His team was besieged by enemy fighters, but he valiantly led his men in the battle, despite being wounded and the overwhelming odds. He made the vital radio call for help and was fatally wounded in the end.

In addition to the Medal of Honor, the U.S. Navy named a destroyer after Murphy. Penn State Board of Trustees and President Graham B. Spanier selected him as a Distinguished Alumnus. The community of Patchogue, N.Y., named its Post Office and a park in his memory.

For photos from the dedication ceremony, visit online.

  • A portrait of Lt. Michael P. Murphy is unveiled at the ceremony. For more photos, please click on the image above.

    IMAGE: the College of the Liberal Arts
Last Updated November 18, 2010