College Friend

Mike Murray “There’s somehow a force about the SMC campus. Where it sits, the way the sun sets over the trees. It’s a powerful spot.”

Something grabbed Mike Murray as he was trudging dejectedly off campus towards an uncertain future. It was 1968 and “I’d just come back from three years in Vietnam, living in villages, studying Vietnamese. And I was told there wasn’t room for me,” he remembers. “So I was walking off campus, thinking about how to find a job when Pat Young, a football coach, stopped me. I told him my story and, well, I ended up playing football for SMC. It was a great year and a big break.”

It’s a story you hear a lot of different versions of at SMC: somebody stepping in between defeat and a person who wants to learn. For Mike, his “break” at SMC meant a world of discovery. “It was in a sociology class that I found a teacher who showed me you can actually get high from learning,” remembers Mike. “That was a stunning discovery.” Mike met his wife-to-be at SMC and went on to to take his degree in Asian Studies. But corporate communications with GTE, along with corporate good deeds, are now his bailiwick.

“I just recently coordinated a Native American engineering scholarship at UCLA,” says Mike. “And my company is going to be purchasing headsets so that those with full hearing can listen to the plays at Deaf West Theater without having someone shouting out the words from the stage.”

Of SMC Mike remembers, “It gave me a sense of family, of nurturing. And it imparted to me how exciting learning can be. There’s a great energy in a place where so many people have had such great times. I will never forget it.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.