The dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has announced that Professor Cathy Murphy has accepted the offer to serve as the next head of the Department of Chemistry.
Dean Feng Sheng Hu said Murphy’s appointment will be effective June 1. She will succeed Martin Gruebele, the current department head who has served in that capacity for more than three years.
“The department and college have greatly benefited from his exceptional leadership over the last three and a half years. We are grateful for everything he has done, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Hu said in the announcement to the School of Chemical Sciences.
Murphy will be the first female department head in its 152-year history.
Congratulating Murphy, Hu said she excels in leadership, scholarship and teaching.
“The leadership team of LAS is looking forward to working with Professor Murphy,” Hu said.
An alumna of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in chemistry (BS, ’86) and biochemistry (BS, ’86), Murphy knows the department from the student perspective and as a member of the faculty, which she joined in August 2009. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1990.
"As a proud alumna of the Department of Chemistry at Illinois, I am excited to serve the department as head,” Murphy said. “I will be leaning heavily on the accumulated wisdom of four former heads - Steve Zimmerman, Jeff Moore, Greg Girolami and Martin Gruebele. My top priority is to make sure that our students, staff and faculty have the environment and infrastructure they need to succeed at the highest levels."
Murphy holds the Larry R. Faulkner Endowed Chair in Chemistry, is a Center for Advanced Studies professor, the associate director of the Materials Research Lab, and an affiliate of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Micro and Nanotechnology Lab. She is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, has served on the executive committee of the College of LAS, and currently is the deputy editor for the Journal of Physical Chemistry C, published by the American Chemical Society. Murphy is also a co-author on one of the leading textbooks for teaching freshmen chemistry, now in its 14th edition.