by Susan Anderson
Ed Murray, ’68, never set eyes on St. Bonaventure University until after he arrived as a freshman and stepped off the six a.m. “Weary Erie”— the Erie-Lackawanna rail that brought him from Hoboken to Olean in the fall of 1964.
Fresh from St. Francis Preparatory School in Brooklyn and the first of his family to go to college, Murray didn’t look back.
He found a home and a comfort zone at St. Bonaventure; a near-perfect mix of others who shared similar backgrounds. To this day, he stays in constant touch with the friends he made at Bona’s.
But the most precious bond he forged at the University was with his wife, Barbara Robotti Murray, ’68, who passed away in 2009.
They met during freshman year and began dating when they were seniors. She studied sociology, while he gravitated toward numbers as a finance major.
They graduated in 1968, married in ’69 and started a family following his military service, welcoming daughters Pamela and Stephanie who went on to become talented lacrosse players.
Earlier this year, Murray and his daughters established the Barbara Robotti Murray ’68 Endowed Scholarship for Women’s Lacrosse and made a leadership pledge to the School of Business Campaign — all in Barbara’s memory.
The Murray File
:: The place he called home on campus:
I spent four years on Fourth Dev.
:: Friends’ nicknames:
“Booner,” “Slip,” “Sponge,”
“Gunsmoke,” “Geep,” “Morals,”
:: Number of e-mails per day he receives from the “Bonaventure guys”:
Probably 15 to 20.
:: Favorite campus spot:
“The library,” Murray said, then laughed and added, “the river.”
:: Last time on campus:
Barbara and I were there for our 40th Reunion in 2008.
:: Building that most impressed him during last visit (The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts):
What the Quick family did is very impressive.
:: What he remembers best about St. Bonaventure:
The people. That’s what makes Bonaventure a unique experience.”
“After she passed we wanted to do something that would honor their mother and my wife,” said Murray. “Bonaventure was the right place to remember Barbara. It was there for us and gave us an opportunity.”
Murray cited St. Bonaventure’s solid education and strong support network as crucial elements in the success he and his wife shared during their marriage. From raising a family to building a business (in 1980, along with Gordon Zuckerman, they founded Murray and Zuckerman, Inc., a company that has since become a leading wholesale life insurance brokerage), the many benefits of a St. Bonaventure degree resonated throughout their lives.
The friendships they found on campus proved to be just as enduring.
Former classmate and close friend Carl Paladino, ’68, noted that there are few couples like the Murrays. Full of “heart and soul … the kindest, most wonderful people” is how Paladino, CEO of Ellicott Development Company of Buffalo, described them.
“Ed takes great care of his employees, as he does his friends. He’s always there,” said Paladino. “And Barbara, she was a very giving person, always concerned with others. Her strength was just incredible.”
The Barbara Robotti Murray ’68 Endowed Scholarship for Women’s Lacrosse is just the fourth endowed scholarship specifically for a student-athlete and the first in the sport of women’s lacrosse. “Ed’s gift to athletics will create an opportunity for a young woman to play lacrosse at St. Bonaventure not just for one year but forever,” said Steve Watson, director of intercollegiate athletics at the University.
“That’s an amazing impact, to think about a young girl who, 15 or 20 years from now, will attend St. Bonaventure as the recipient of the Barbara Robotti Murray Scholarship. Ed and his wife’s love of their alma mater and the sport of lacrosse are clearly demonstrated through this gift, and we're grateful for that,” Watson said.
For Ed Murray, the gifts made in Barbara’s memory could be nowhere else.
“Bonaventure was very good to my wife and me. It was very influential in our development,” Murray said. “Hopefully it will be there for a long, long time for other people.”