Celebrating Robert Murray, a colleague and friend

Celebrating Robert Murray, a colleague and friend

Bob retires after serving 17 years as the Center’s administrative officer

Robert Murray (L) with Richard Samuels (R)

Bob Murray (left) with CIS director Richard Samuels (right)

July 9, 2018

The Center hosted a retirement party for Robert Murray on June 28. Bob, as he was known at CIS, served as the Center’s administrative officer for seventeen years. The event was as celebratory as it was poignant. We bid farewell to a colleague, a leader, a peer, and a friend. To many of us, “Bob and CIS,” were homogenous, connected, and, simply put, had always been.

Bob was the cornerstone of the Center. He participated in every staff hiring and managed the entire support staff with integrity. Bob offered kind words, direction, support, and career advice.

Bob was the financial wizard that kept the Center thriving. He generated and allocated funds to keep operations humming, launch new programs and initiatives, and to provide the employees needed to support these endeavors.

Richard Samuels and Laurie Scheffler presenting Bob with a token of appreciation.

Bob worked tirelessly and consistently during his tenure at CIS. His contributions to the Center were far reaching and prolific. He shared a few of his proudest accomplishments, including: working with colleagues to move the Center in 2009 from E38 to E40; working on the team that developed the current financial review and control process; developing a suite of reports in Cognos to help managers understand the status of their programs and detect any unusual activity; developing a program that calculated payroll commitments; developing a process using Word and Excel to convert data for program managers; and arranging for the building of the CIS glass conference room.

His career at MIT began in 1987 as the systems administrator for the Media Lab. In 1996, he moved to IS&T as a SAP instructor and user group leader. This evolved into its own department, called Financial Systems Services, which Bob became administrative officer of in 1999. In 2001, he joined the Center for International Studies as its administrative officer.

“It is hard to put into words, but there were some very personal moments that were particularly meaningful,” reflected Bob, when asked about his most treasured experiences at MIT.  “Some were the times when I realized that I was wrong, or was taking the wrong approach to getting something done, or where I had needlessly caused pain for a fellow staff member. It was then that I got some powerful learning and realized that I needed to change direction. The other set of moments was where a fellow staff member trusted me enough to unburden themselves to me. I was not always able to help them change something, but it was a privilege to be a witness to their very human experience.”

April Julich Perez thanking Bob for all his work with MISTI.

At the party, Bob publicly thanked Richard Samuels for being a great boss for many years; Laurie Scheffler and Casey Johnson-Houlihan for having a good sense of humor and for giving him frank feedback; April Julich Perez, for being a wonderful colleague and management partner; the whole MISTI program for providing a stimulating, challenging and fascinating group to engage with; CIS faculty for being pleasant to work with; Erminia Piccinonno and Jodie Nosiglia and Kelley Connors for helping him deal with many difficult personnel issues over the years; and finally the entire CIS staff for making the Center successful over many years and for providing him the opportunities to do some good work with them.

“I am blessed by wonderful working relationships with many people across MIT. I will always cherish those relationships,” said Bob.