Sept. 15, 2004
Murley family gives gift to fund tower at Whitman College
PRINCETON, N.J. -- An alumni couple has made a significant gift to the Whitman College complex to commemorate their 25th wedding anniversary and the start of coeducation at Princeton 35 years ago, the University announced today. The gift, from Charter Trustee Robert S. Murley, a member of the class of 1972, and Mary Pivirotto Murley, a member of the class of 1976, of Lake Forest, Ill., will fund construction of the imposing gothic tower that is among the new college's most prominent architectural features.
Whitman College has been designed in the collegiate gothic style by noted architect Demetri Porphyrios, a 1980 graduate of the University's School of Architecture. Currently under construction between Baker Rink and Dillon Gymnasium, the college is expected to be completed in 2007.
"We are very grateful to Bob and Mimi Murley for this wonderful gift, which is meant, in large part, to honor coeducation and the contributions that alumnae have made to Princeton," President Shirley M. Tilghman said of the $2 million gift.
Bob Murley, who graduated from Princeton with a degree in politics, is a member of the last class admitted to the University without women members, while Mimi Murley, an English major, was in one of the first coed classes. Although the two did not meet until after they had both graduated, Princeton played – and has continued to play – a central role in their lives together.
"Princeton's commitment to excellence is unqualified and unequalled," said Bob Murley, chairman of investment banking at Credit Suisse First Boston. "The University has been an inspiration to Mimi and me throughout our life together, and we are both very grateful to be a part of the Princeton family. We simply love this place."
The couple chose to support the Whitman College tower because of its symbolic connection to the University's mission. "We were drawn to the idea of a tower as a beacon," Mimi Murley said, "a structure that calls students to a higher level of personal and academic accomplishment."
Both the Murleys are dedicated Princeton volunteers, and as a member of the executive committee of the University's board, chair of its finance committee and a member of the board of PRINCO (the Princeton investment company), Bob Murley has been close to the planning process for Whitman College. That project was launched with a lead gift from the family of e-Bay chief executive officer and former trustee Meg Whitman of the class of 1977. Mimi Murley and Meg Whitman have known each other since their undergraduate days, and more recently, served together on the steering committee of the University's Women in Leadership initiative.
The Murleys are also active in their classes, in the Chicago region and in many prominent Princeton initiatives. Bob Murley served on the search committee that selected Tilghman as Princeton's 19th president. He has served as national chair of the University's Annual Giving effort as well as co-chair of the Leadership Gifts Committee of the Anniversary Campaign for Princeton, and in 1998, received the University's Harold Helm Award for exemplary work on behalf of Annual Giving. In 2002, the couple shared the Princeton Club of Chicago's Arnold M. Berlin '46 Award for distinguished service. Both have served as president of their respective classes, and Mimi Murley currently sits on the board of Project 55, which promotes public service by Princetonians.
The Murleys, who have three children, are also civic leaders in the Chicago area. Bob Murley serves as vice chair of the board of directors and Mimi Murley serves on the woman's board of Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In addition, he serves on the boards of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. Mimi Murley is a trustee of the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and serves on the woman's board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago.
The family's ties to the University span four generations, beginning with Mimi Murley's grandfather, Albert H. Burchfield Jr. '25. Her father, Richard R. Pivirotto '52, an emeritus trustee, was a member of the University's legendary undefeated football teams of 1950 and 1951. Her brother, Richard R. Pivirotto Jr., is a member of the class of 1977, and the Murleys' daughter, Mary C. Murley, is a member of the class of 2007.
The 270,000-square-foot Whitman College will provide dormitory, dining, social, cultural, educational and recreational space for 500 undergraduates and 10 graduate students and will supply office and teaching space for the Princeton Writing Program.