Mark H. Murphy ’77 is Named 2012 Commencement Speaker



Mark H. Murphy ’77, president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers and former football captain and athletic director at Colgate University, will deliver the keynote address at Colgate’s 191st commencement on Sunday, May 20, in Sanford Field House.

Murphy – a successful athlete, lawyer, manager, mentor, and community leader – is the epitome of the Colgate scholar-athlete. He played eight seasons with the Washington Redskins, and is believed to be the first person to earn a Super Bowl ring as a player (XVII, 1982) and as a team chief executive (XLV, 2010).

Murphy holds a law degree from Georgetown University and an M.B.A. in finance from American University. He served as assistant executive director of the NFL Players Association, and as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice. From 2003-2007 he served as athletic director at Northwestern University.

The baccalaureate speaker will be Eboo Patel, the founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core and a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Patel visited Colgate last October to talk about his life and work, including his memoir Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, which was the first-year reading for the Colgate Class of 2015. He is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, and The Huffington Post, and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship. 

Both Murphy and Patel will receive honorary degrees during commencement. The other honorary degree recipients will be:

• Nancy Cantor, the 11th chancellor and president of Syracuse University – Cantor has been an advocate for the status of women in the academy, racial justice and diversity, and the role of universities as a public good responsible for serving the needs of society. She received the 2008 Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award.

• Robert Darnton, a scholar of French cultural history and pioneer in the field of the history of the book – A recipient of the National Humanities Medal in 2011, Darnton is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and director of the university library at Harvard. He is the author of more than two dozen books and founder of the prestigious Gutenberg-e electronic publishing program.

• Francesca Zambello ’78, a world-renowned director of innovative opera and theater productions – Zambello has won awards in France, England, Japan, Germany, Russia, and Australia, while supporting emerging talent. She is general and artistic director of Glimmerglass Festival and artistic advisor to the Washington National Opera.