Floyd Ivan McMurray


Honorary Degree (1982)
Doctor of Laws
Location: New Albany
Presenter: John W. Ryan


Floyd I. McMurray, educator and administrator, has devoted his life to education. In his long and distinguished career, he has served as a teacher, principal, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, professor, and Director of Indiana University Southeast.

Born in Lebanon, Indiana, in 1891, Floyd I. McMurray received his higher education at Indiana University. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1917 and a master's degree in 1927. After serving as an infantry lieutenant in World War I, he began his administrative work in education in 1920 as principal of Bowers High School. He later served as a city school superintendent at Thorntown and superintendent of the Boone County Schools.

From 1934-41, Floyd I. McMurray was State Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana. His administration was marked by a commitment to excellence which improved the quality of education for all residents of the state. At the beginning of the 1940s, the Falls City region of Indiana was burgeoning with expanded construction and manufacturing spurred by the demands of the war in Europe. Many people were moving into the southeast area of the state. Indiana University officials decided to establish a permanent extension center in the region. Floyd I. McMurray was asked to undertake that project, and in 1941 he opened the new center with one room in the Jeffersonville High School as headquarters. The local public schools donated classroom space for extension classes in the late afternoon and evening hours. Classes began in September 1941 with 291 students.

During World War II, Floyd I. McMurray took a brief leave of absence to serve as a captain with the American School Center in England, returning in 1944. During his 15 years as administrator at the Southeast Campus, he was committed to maintaining the highest standards in instruction and course offerings. His philosophy was summed up by his reminder to his colleagues: "We must always keep in mind that this is Indiana University." The enrollment on the Southeast Campus had grown to 1,098 students in 1956, when Floyd I. McMurray stepped down as administrator of the center. That growth more than justified his words of greeting to one of the early freshman classes: "This is a permanent establishment....The continuous growth and increasing enrollment insure a future, and each semester will show additional advantages." He continued to teach as an assistant professor on the Southeast Campus until his retirement from Indiana University in 1961 at the age of 70.

During his long career in public education, Floyd I. McMurray found time to write several books, including Pathway of Our Presidents, West Bound, and Gypsies. He has also contributed articles to professional journals in the field of education. Floyd I. McMurray served as a trustee of Indiana State Teachers College and Ball State Teachers College from 1934-41. He has been a member of Tri Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National Education Association, as well as the Scottish Rite and Kiwanis.

In 1922 he married the former Madge Booher, who is an Indiana University graduate, and they have a son who also graduated from IU and a daughter who attended IU.