Robert N. Murrell
The Beginning of a Legacy...
"If it had not been for Dean Murrell, Harold Ford might not be in
Congress today serving the people of Tennessee."
Clearly, this is praise in the extreme for one Robert N. Murrell.
And there seems to be no other kind from his former students, voiced on the occasion of Murrell's retirement July 1 after 32 years at the University in the positions of Resident Hall Director, Dean of Men, and Director of Housing for Male Students.
Harold E. Ford, Business Administration '67, a Murrell student as a Clement Hall resident, first served with distinction in the Tennessee House of Representatives, prior to winning a Democratic seat at the age of 29 in the U.S. House of Representatives from the Eight (Memphis) District. He is serving a fourth term in Congress. "When you landed at Tennessee State," Ford said, "Dean Murrell was the father away from home...He did not play." "He was serious. I still think he is serious and when I see him today, I see him as the caring Dean of Men at Tennessee State." "If it had not been for Dean Murrell, Harold Ford might not be in Congress today serving the people of Tennessee."
The veteran dean, himself a TSU Graduate, History, '49, and holder of a TSU master's degree in guidance and psychologry, said he "looked for a challenge and enjoyed it" every working day of three decades he was closely associated with students. "I learned from them everyday," Murrell said, "I never regretted coming to work a single day."
His reflections fondly touch literally thousands of former TSU students he has known from all parts of the United States.