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Sanctae Crucis Award Recipients 2006

William O. Murphy '56

"We do not display greatness by going to one extreme," Pascal wrote, famously, "but in touching both at once."

There is a sense of Jesuitical wisdom in that notion. And, so, we experience joy—and, yes, an element of great pride—when we find the concept embodied in our alumni. In William O. Murphy '56, we discover Pascal's remark personified truly, richly and charmingly. For Bill is a man who has managed to touch extremes simultaneously with apparent ease and obvious grace.

As a Wall Street attorney of enviable savvy, he never lost hold of the core values he brought to the College and nurtured dutifully while on the Hill. And, as an ordained Deacon in the city of Bridgeport, Conn., he underpins his ministry with intellectual vigor, a diligent work ethic, and robust acumen regarding the ways of the world. 

Following graduation from Holy Cross, Murphy received his law degree from Columbia University in 1960. During his 35 year career as a top attorney on Wall Street, Murphy specialized in bank and acquisition finance and also worked on major cases such as the corporate reorganization of the businesses of the Hunt brothers of Texas and the restructuring of the international debt of the former Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of the Philippines. At the pinnacle of his career as a partner and member of the Executive Committee of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Murphy made a decision to answer a lifelong calling; he retired from the law firm and enrolled in the Yale Divinity School to pursue studies in theology.

Ordained a deacon in the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT in 1995, Murphy was assigned to St. Joseph, a multicultural parish in South Norwalk, CT. As a full-time deacon, Murphy's principal pastoral duties include preaching and assisting at Mass and celebrating Baptism and Marriages. He also serves as the director of religious education programs and works on parish finances. During the last 10 years, he as served on the Board of the Norwalk Emergency Shelter, the Norwalk community action agency and Side By Side Charter School and as a member of the Food Fuel & Shelter Council of Norwalk. He is also a director of the Gregorian University Foundation and the Frank J. Scallon Foundation which provides scholarships to local area schools.

For his capacity to see God in all walks of life, for his understanding that it is the individual's duty to answer a calling to the greater good, for the generous bounty of his many talents, the College of the Holy Cross presents to William O. Murphy '56 the Sanctae Crucis Award.