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Vol. 32, No. 2Summer 2009

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donor feature

The economics of generosity

Nadine H. and John A. Murray, Res. ’66, Fel. ’68

Retirement doesn’t always mean total relaxation. That’s what John A. (Jack) Murray, Res. ’66, Fel. ’68, and his wife, Nadine H. Murray, found when they purchased nine acres on Maui — much of it filled with protea flowers, blooms prized by florists.

Nadine and John Murray
Jack A. Murray, Res. ’66, Fel. ’68, and his wife, Nadine H. Murray, spend part of their time in Maui, growing protea flowers for wholesale floral distributors. They also give generously to the Division of Cardiology, the College of Arts & Sciences, and other areas at the University of Washington.

The Murrays, who now spend six or seven months a year working on their farm, had long, distinguished careers and significant ties to the University of Washington — Nadine Murray as an instructor in the UW’s Department of English and Jack Murray as a trainee, then faculty member, in cardiology at UW Medicine.

Murray hadn’t planned on being a doctor, he says. He was at veterinary school when he felt something was missing. “I liked the science, but the economics of veterinary medicine didn’t make much sense to me,” says Murray — people must frequently choose between paying for an expensive treatment or no treatment at all.

He switched schools, and after attending Baylor College of Medicine, a stint at the University of Pennsylvania, and time spent in the U.S. Air Force, Murray chose UW Medicine for his residency and later his cardiology fellowship. He looked at a number of West Coast schools, he says, but for internal medicine, “Washington was the strongest program.”

Murray trained at UW Medicine when Robert G. Petersdorf was the chair of the Department of Medicine and Robert A. Bruce the head of cardiology. He also remembers a third Robert, the prolific Robert F. Rushmer, then the chair of the new Department of Bioengineering. “Bob had 10 new ideas every day,” says Murray.

After his fellowship, Murray became a member of the faculty. He worked at the VA with Harold T. Dodge, Jr., Res. ’48, Fel. ’51, and J. Ward Kennedy, Res. ’62, Fel. ’66, and at Harborview Medical Center with emeritus faculty Leonard A. Cobb for roughly a decade. He also served as a visiting professor at the University of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur and at the Chongqing Surgical Hospital in Chongqing, China. Even after Murray entered private practice, he worked with UW Medicine on research studies, and his patients had access to clinical trials. And he served as medical director for King County Emergency Medical Services and as a consulting cardiologist for the VA. Even in retirement, Murray is still a clinical professor of medicine in cardiology.

It was Dr. Murray’s experience as a visiting professor that sponsored the Murrays’ most recent gift to UW Medicine — to a fund that supports the Murray Visiting Professorship in the Division of Cardiology. “We enjoyed our opportunities as visiting professors abroad,” says Murray, and the Murrays decided to use the professorship as a way to “supplement the excellent training program in cardiology.”

UW Medicine alumni receive a great deal of benefit from their alma mater, says Murray, and that certainly explains the Murrays’ generosity — and Mrs. Murray’s membership on the advisory board for the UW School of Drama. But he also points to the University of Washington’s larger importance to its city and region.

“You get something from [the University], whether you go there or not,” Murray says.

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