Dr. Brian Martin Murphy, the chair and associate professor in the communication studies department at Niagara University, has passed away unexpectedly of natural causes. Murphy had been a member of Niagara's faculty since 1999.
As an associate professor, Murphy taught courses in the art and history of film, media programming and management, investigation and reporting, and media history.
In addition to his work in the classroom, Murphy was the moderator of the communication department's newsletter and honor society, Lambda Pi Eta (LPH), and served on the university senate and various committees.
Murphy came to Niagara University after a 25-year career in the global media industries, focusing on social justice. He worked in Britain as a newspaper reporter, production editor, magazine feature writer/editor, and international affairs investigator, winning national awards for newspaper design and research into new communication technologies. He also worked for a number of years in Africa as a radio producer and freelance writer, and was published in a number of magazines, including New African Business and Africa Now.
Murphy was a co-founder and co-editor of one of the U.S.'s first Internet-based social justice news services (PeaceNet Headlines). He managed media research and did script consulting for the educational video documentary production company Media Education Foundation.
Murphy received his B.A in history from Concordia University, Montreal, and a master's degree in journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa. His Ph.D. in communication was awarded by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Information on funeral services for Murphy will be communicated as they become available.
Within moments of hearing the news of Murphy's passing, his colleagues and present and former students began posting messages on social networking websites.
"We all loved Brian, and all that he brought to our students, our university, and each of us as colleagues," wrote Dr. Doug Tewksbury. "He was always incredibly proud of all of his students, particularly those who went on to work to make the world a better place. For now, I think it's worth remembering the lives that Dr. Murphy touched, his dedication to social justice and doing what was right, and the joy that he brought to the lives of everyone he encountered."
"Today marked a day of sadness for so many who lost a friend, loved one, colleague and mentor in Brian Martin Murphy," penned Dr. Kalen Churcher. "The best way to remember 'Murph' would be to continue his work in social justice. He was, and always will be, proud of you."
"Dr. Murphy, I am forever grateful to you for everything you have done for me," wrote 2013 Niagara University graduate Stacey Czerwinski. "You were behind every pivotal achievement in my academic career at Niagara, and provided me with support when I needed it most. I will miss your smile, your listening ear, and your kind words. Paths that cross, will cross again. Until we meet again, I will work to make you proud. Forever your impression will remain on my heart. May God hold you in the palm of His hand."
Added classmate Vince Schiano, "To one of the most brilliant men I've ever met in my life; a professor that focused on the students first, both in and outside of the classroom; an individual who wanted nothing more than for his students to succeed: Rest in peace, Dr. Brian Martin 'Murph' Murphy. Today, the world lost an incredibly inspiring individual."
Murphy was voted the "Most Intriguing Professor" on campus in 2012. A multitude of students nominated him, citing his impact on their education.