March 16, 2016

Jack Mundry, a junior from Long Island, N.Y., is excited for the opening of Murphy’s at the start of his senior year as a “new gathering place on campus [that] will foster even stronger community.”

Murphy’s, a new lounge and restaurant in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, will open in fall 2016. At the start of a ceremony Monday evening, March 14, to celebrate the new space, Mike Allen, vice president for student affairs, described Murphy’s as “a dynamic new living room located in the heart of our campus.”

Mundry, a Hispanic studies and psychology double major, was one of many students on hand for the ceremony, which also brought together faculty and staff, alumni, donors, and members of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, O.F.M., CAP., M.A. 1972, Ph.D. 1978, chairman of CUA’s Board of Trustees, gave the invocation and honored the late Michael Murphy, B.A. 1974, M.A. 1975, for whom the new installation is named.

“His time as a student here set the course for the rest of his life including having met his beloved wife, Pat, the most important friendship of his life,” said Cardinal O’Malley.

“Michael envisioned this will be a place where students, faculty, and administration can gather for the spirited exchange of ideas, strengthening the bonds established in the Catholic University community,” said Cardinal O’Malley. “Today we give thanks for Michael’s vision and for his hope that for all students their years here will be the foundation for success in life.”

Monday night’s program included speeches, a tour, an unveiling of renderings of the finished space, and refreshments. During the summer, the second floor of the old bookstore will be converted into a lounge with comfortable seating, TVs, a pool table, fireplace, space for entertainment, and a sound system. Plans for the lower bookstore include a restaurant and pub; a construction date has yet to be finalized.

President John Garvey also paid tribute to Murphy. He framed his comments around the Latin word convivium — a gathering of friends to enjoy each other’s company.

“Mike appreciated the importance of convivium. Mike was an engaged student, earning both his B.A. and M.A. in history. He was a resident advisor and active in student government. But he also found time to spend at the Rathskellar — affectionately known as ‘the Rat,’” said Garvey referring to the University’s student lounge, which closed when the Pryzbyla Center opened in 2004.

“Mike would hold court at a table, talking history or politics to anyone who would join him,” said Garvey. “Mike Murphy was good at creating convivium. He brought his friends together at the Rat. He continued to bring them together after graduation. And he has helped us to create a space for convivium for CUA students today.”

Garvey also took time to thank the many generous donors who contributed to the construction of Murphy’s. More than 200 alumni and friends have donated or pledged close to $4 million of the $4.5 million needed to fund the construction of the two-story restaurant and lounge.

“It takes the love and commitment of our donors to make our plans come true,” said Allen. He introduced one of those many donors, Vincent Sica, B.M.E. 1983, to offer a reflection on why he gave.

Sica shared fond memories of times spent at the Rat with friends during his years on campus. He said those friends still get together and recall those times that continue to bond them. He said he wanted to contribute to a new place on campus where future generations could “build relationships and make their own memories.” Sica also thanked his fellow donors.

The plans for Murphy’s, said Allen, included input from students. He introduced Camille Sanchez, a senior sociology major with a double minor in psychology and religion.

Sanchez talked about the evolution of Monroe Street Market during her time at CUA, allowing the community to have a place to shop and dine without boarding the Metro.

“Now with the addition of the lounge and restaurant in the Pryz, students, faculty, and staff have yet another place to congregate and socialize without leaving campus,” said Sanchez. “Murphy’s will be an enhancement to the living and learning environment at CUA.”

Jeff Rossi, B.A. 1975, J.D. 1978, a board member and a donor, had a big smile on his face as he toured the space. He was a close friend of Mike Murphy during their school years and throughout life.

“I love that Mike was the catalyst for all this,” said Rossi. “He had an ability to gather people together. Even when there were opposing political opinions and differing perspectives, he kept us in good humor. The discourse was important to him, but the friendships were even more important.”