The Board of Trustees of The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) has named Dr. Michael J. Murray the sixth president of the Foundations effective April 1, 2019. Dr. Murray will succeed Dr. Nancy Cable who has led the Foundations since 2012.
“Dr. Murray is an excellent choice to guide the Foundations through the next stages of our work,” said J.H. Dow Davis, board chair. “He is a smart, seasoned leader who will effectively sustain and advance the momentum that we have built as we seek to strengthen America’s intellectual life and democracy. Dr. Cable has been a remarkable leader for the Foundations. And we are confident that Michael will continue the tradition of strong and inspired leadership that we have known at AVDF.”
The work of the Foundations is guided by the conviction that principled leadership is central to building strong philanthropic institutions within the United States. The Foundations provide grants to promote and support this leadership in five program areas – private higher education; public educational media; interfaith leadership and religious literacy; environmental engagement, stewardship and solutions; and palliative care.
“It is an honor to be selected to lead AVDF with its deep commitment to excellence in strengthening America’s future through education,” said Dr. Murray. “I am privileged to have the opportunity to work with this outstanding and committed group of individuals to promote sustainable, long-term change.”
Dr. Murray comes to AVDF from the John Templeton Foundation where he served first as vice president of philosophy and theology and, since 2011, as senior vice president of programs. In that capacity Dr. Murray was responsible for overseeing the growth of the Foundation’s grant making work that supports academic research and public engagement in the sciences and between the science and the humanities. During this period the Foundation’s annual grant support grew from $72M to $162M. He further managed the expansion of the Foundation’s work beyond North America and Western Europe to Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. In 2016, Dr. Murray also initiated a re-launching of the Foundation’s departments of communications, public engagement, and strategic alliances.
Dr. Murray began his career at Franklin and Marshall College where he was awarded the Arthur and Katherine Shadek Chair in Philosophy and the Humanities. He also held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of Notre Dame and Oxford University. During this period he published numerous academic articles as well as monographs and edited collections with Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Blackwell, and Yale University Press. His research focuses on issues at the intersection of science, philosophy and theology, as well as on seventeenth century Continental philosophy. Dr. Murray is currently a Senior Visiting Scholar at Franklin and Marshall.
Dr. Murray is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in philosophy from Franklin and Marshall College, and his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame.
Until April 1, Dr. Dale Knobel, president emeritus of Denison University, will continue as interim president of the Foundations.