The Lawrence Eric Murphy Scholarship Fund
Lawrence Eric Murphy (1947-1994) was an African-American educator who devoted his professional life to promoting equal opportunity and cross-cultural understanding. These twin interests emerged in part from Lawrence’s own personal story, for he was born and raised in New York’s Borough of Queens, the most demographically diverse county in the United States, where Black migrants from southern states and immigrants from all over the world have settled to create a better life for themselves and their families.
After earning a B.A. in French Language and Literature from Oberlin College and an M.A. in Counseling/Psychology from Columbia University, Lawrence served as Assistant Director of Admissions at Oberlin, Director of College Placement and Student Services at Friends Seminary in New York, Director of Admissions at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and Director of Admissions at the Parsons School of Design in New York. Hundreds of young people of all backgrounds benefited from Lawrence’s efforts to increase access to higher education and to foster diversity.
Lawrence played an especially prominent role in promoting cross-cultural understanding when he served as the director of The Panel of Americans, a non-profit organization founded in California after World War II to bring citizens of all races and ethnicities into closer dialogue. Providing consciousness-raising activities and leadership training in New York City high schools, Lawrence expanded The Panel’s mission to include efforts to counter the bullying and unequal treatment of LGBTQ individuals as well.
The scholarship program that Lawrence’s sister, Vivian Chew, has created to honor her late brother’s work, will carry on his legacy by providing financial assistance to college students who might otherwise be vulnerable to the negative effects of discrimination whether it is based on race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.