Another Award for Royce: Tar Heel of the Week

Royce W. Murray, 73, has taught chemistry for 50 years at UNC-Chapel Hill. Murray Hall, a building in the new $250 million science complex, honors his work. Photo by Harry Lynch/Raleigh News & Observer.

Royce Murray, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chemistry professor recently recognized at the ACS National Meeting for his five decades of work, received another lofty award this weekend: The Raleigh News & Observer "Tar Heel of the Week." For folks outside the Research Triangle area, "Tar Heel" in this case does not refer just to University fans but rather all inhabitants of the state. The particular newspaper honor is bestowed weekly upon any citizen of the North Carolina who has made a significant impact on our diverse communities and raised the stature of our institutions and industries nationally and internationally. In an article written by the excellent higher ed reporter, Eric Ferreri, Prof. Murray is interviewed about his influence on the campus, his trainees, and the profession. Murray is also featured in front of the building that bears his name in the new $250 million science complex on campus. Murray is only one of two current faculty members with named buildings at UNC. Ferreri noted that the complex's quadrangle was to have born Murray's name but budget cuts have slowed progress on that part of the project. In these days of universities selling naming rights to the highest bidder, I'm delighted to see that UNC chose to recognize one of their own academic treasures when naming the new building. Murray also played a critical role in designing the building as well. Thanks are also due to UNC Chancellor, Holden Thorp, an accomplished chemist in his own right:
"We wanted something significant named for Royce," said Chancellor Holden Thorp, a chemistry professor himself who has published several joint journal articles with Murray. "He's a humble guy, but he has unbelievably high standards for science and for how you treat your students and colleagues." Murray won't be working in Murray Hall. There's something strange and vaguely egotistical about doing so, he says. Plus, he has decades of research, journals, texts and photographs dotting the walls and jamming the bookcases of his not-for-the-claustrophobic office in the Kenan Labs building adjacent to the new science complex. "I'd probably never get them put back together the way I want," he said. "Too much of a headache and not necessary."
As readers here know, we and other bloggers took issue a couple of weeks ago with Prof. Murray's Analytical Chemistry editorial expressing that we science bloggers are "a serious concern to scientists." (Incidentally, that post was my most popular since joining CENtral Science, accounting for 50% of my total visits since joining.) I hope that Ferreri didn't let the professor know that he, too, writes a blog - Campus Notes. Even worse: Chancellor Thorp - fellow chemist - keeps an active blog. Source: Ferreri, Eric. Name honors a lifetime of building. News & Observer, 7 November 2010.

Author: David Kroll

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  1. Naming a building after Dr. Royce Murray is a worthy honor for a great Analytical Chemist. But on a more practical level, UNC ought to aid him in digitizing his records. Among the documents and photographs in that office of his, are undoubtedly items of long term value.

  2. Gaythia, your point is very well-taken and I’ll look into what efforts are ongoing. I can say that UNC library sciences has led the way early on in digitizing of records and the the capabilities clearly exist on campus.