Jan. 7, 2020Print | PDF
David McMurray, Wilfrid Laurier University’s vice-president: student affairs, has announced his plans to retire in June 2020.
For more than 20 years, McMurray has been integral to creating and fostering the unique sense of community that our Laurier students enjoy. He has served as Laurier’s vice-president: Student Affairs since June 2010, following 13 years as Laurier’s assistant vice-president: student services/dean of students.
“It has been a highlight of my career personally and professionally to have worked so closely with David McMurray; I have learned so much from him,” says Deborah MacLatchy, president and vice-chancellor. “His reputation as one of North America’s most outstanding leaders in student affairs is well deserved. Laurier’s exceptional student experience is due in no small part to David’s vision for and commitment to our university and our students.”
In 1997, McMurray joined Laurier after Fred Nichols retired from a 35-year career as dean of students. At the time, Laurier had just 5,800 students on one campus. Since then, McMurray has played a lead role in introducing multi-campus strategic initiatives that enhance student learning and in developing strategies to integrate Laurier’s academic/curricular agenda with the co-curricular elements of student learning, development and engagement.
“What really stands out for me are all of the students and people that I have been so fortunate to meet, to help and support, to work together, and to strive with passion and purpose to make Laurier such a very special university,” says McMurray. “I will always be so deeply grateful to Wilfrid Laurier University for granting me the opportunity to flourish in my dream professional roles…how lucky I have been!”
McMurray has influenced nearly every facet of the student experience during his career, including: residence life and learning, student leadership and working closely with student union and graduate student association leaders, accessible learning, integrating teaching and learning with student development and success, student health and wellness, Indigenous student support, international student services, food services, student-athlete development, community service-learning and experiential learning, co-op and career services, the Laurier Experience Record, and student equity, diversity and inclusion.
Among many other achievements, he was also instrumental in helping Laurier achieve its designation as an Ashoka Changemaker University. In addition to his work at Laurier, McMurray is renowned as a significant figure in the student affairs field. Widely known for his innovative and integrative approach to student affairs, he is respected for his leadership and is frequently invited to lead reviews and to teach and speak on the subject, including the Canadian Institute on Student Affairs and Services, and an invitation by the Oxford International Roundtable to discuss the partnership between Laurier’s student leadership and the university’s Student Affairs department in delivering student services.
He is a past president of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services and received its highest award — the Award of Honour — for continuous and outstanding commitment to students. McMurray also received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for excellence in higher education, administration and student services.
Prior to coming to Laurier, McMurray spent more than 20 years as director of residence and food services, director of student services and director of university services at the University of Windsor. McMurray graduated in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in human kinetics from the University of Windsor, where he also completed a master's degree in 1989 with a focus on sport administration, organizational growth, development and leadership.
The search for Laurier’s new vice-president: student affairs will begin in the 2020 winter term. An event to honour McMurray, including a look back at his legacy at Laurier, will be planned for the spring. Details will be announced once they are confirmed.
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