Taking on the Challenge to Revive a National Fraternity

Fall 2018 Issue

If there’s one thing that Tom Murphy ’94 can attest to, it’s that life has a way of opening unexpected doors. And sometimes those doors take you right back to your Susquehanna roots, requiring you to apply everything you know about achievement, leadership and service.

When Murphy graduated from Susquehanna with a degree in biology, the Phi Mu Delta brother was bound for the master’s program at the University of New Hampshire to continue his studies. The open door he was headed for was a career in research biology.

While at UNH, however, his loyalty to Phi Mu Delta flung a different door wide open. The fraternity traces its roots to three original chapters, one of which was at the college that would later become UNH. The chapter had since closed at UNH, and the opportunity to restart a chapter on campus presented itself. Murphy jumped at the chance, became involved, and would find himself eventually taking the reins as executive director of the national Phi Mu Delta organization in 2006.

“My Susquehanna experience was very nurturing,” Murphy explained. “I learned how to effectively communicate, how to hold others accountable, and all sorts of other universal skill sets you only get through a liberal arts education. I didn’t leave Susquehanna as just a biologist.”

But the outlook for Phi Mu Delta back in 2006 was grim. At the time, the fraternity had dwindled to just nine active chapters, and the possibility of the organization folding was very real. Murphy ran the fraternity out of his own home for nine years until the organization was back on its feet. With Murphy at the helm, the fraternity not only celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018, but it has the distinction of being the third-fastest-growing fraternity in the U.S.

Murphy is exceptionally proud of his Susquehanna “home” chapter, which earned the 2013 Chapter Award of Distinction from the North-American Interfraternity Conference-out of 8,500 Greek organizations. He credits the strength of SU’s chapter to the quality of students Susquehanna is recruiting and their leadership abilities.

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