Diverse: Issues in Higher Education Recognizes CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy as One of 25 Top Leading Women in American High Ed

March 2, 2021
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College of Southern Maryland President Dr. Maureen Murphy has been named to “Diverse: Issues in Higher Education” magazine’s annual report recognizing 25 women for their significant contributions to higher education in America. Murphy will be featured in the magazine’s Women’s History Month edition, which publishes March 4.

Murphy is one of two community college leaders on the 2021 class of leading women in higher education list, which celebrates women who have made a difference in higher education for handily tackling tough challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills and making a positive difference within their communities.

“Dr. Murphy has been a passionate soldier for equity and social justice as president of CSM and her leadership style in pursuit of those principles has always been thoughtful and inspiring,” said CSM Board of Trustee President Jay Webster. “She is a dynamic, forward-thinker who isn’t afraid to tackle hard conversations or drive consensus to reach decisions. And when she isn’t taking her leadership team to new heights to preserve the integrity and prosperity of our institution, and our CSM family – no matter the political, financial or social climate – she really just prefers to stay behind the scenes and quietly lift the spirits and successes of everyone around her.”

“Thanks for setting examples and leading the way Dr. Murphy,” offered CSM Nursing student Verkia (Kia) Smith. “Your fight for equity and inclusion for all students seeking higher education has changed the lives of many, including mine. We are grateful for you!”

“Diverse Education got it right adding Dr. Murphy to their list of the top 25 women in higher education,” added Webster. “We join them in celebrating her during Women’s History Month 2021, and every single day.”

Murphy’s career in public higher education spans more than 30 years, including more than a decade as a community college president. In July of 2017, she became the fifth president of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM). Since her arrival, CSM has twice been recognized as among the Top 150 community colleges in the country by the Aspen Institute in its Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Program. More recently, under Murphy’s leadership, CSM joined the Achieving the Dream network in 2019, supporting the college’s commitment to equity in educational opportunities and outcomes. She has also assisted with laying the foundation for numerous initiatives in the ‘CSM New Deal’ which furthers CSM’s mission to become the ‘Road to Recovery’ for businesses, employees and students facing current/post-pandemic challenges.

Prior to her current role as president of CSM, Murphy served as president of Brookdale Community College, a multi-campus community college in New Jersey, where she forged partnerships with community organizations, school districts, business and industry, donors and other higher education institutions. Among her initiatives were developing early college high school programs, launching a College Promise program for free tuition for all qualified graduates and spearheading a Minority Male Conference to support the academic achievement of minority male students.

Before her appointment at Brookdale in 2012, she served as president of San Jacinto College South in Houston, Texas, and as vice president at both Rappahannock Community College and Wytheville Community College in Virginia. Murphy began her career teaching English at St. Louis Community College-Meramec, where she later served as a dean. Murphy has been an active member of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges since 1995 and has served on the national board since 2007, including two years as president.

She has been recognized for her work with numerous awards, including the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction by Phi Theta Kappa, the Distinguished Corporate Leadership Award by the Greater Red Bank NAACP, and the Carolyn DesJardins CEO of the Year Award by AAWCC. Murphy previously served on the board of directors for the American Association of Community Colleges, the national organization representing more than 1,100 colleges. She continues her national service on the American Association of Community College Trustees’ President’s Advisory Council and the National Junior College Athletic Association Presidents’ Advisory Council.

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