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Hog Heaven: NCSU Honors Longtime Booster With Wendell H. Murphy Football Center

Posted March 7, 2003

— N.C. State University and the N.C. State Student Aid Association, commonly called the Wolfpack Club, have honored NCSU alumnus and longtime Wolfpack supporter Wendell H. Murphy and his family for a lifetime of achievement.

As a tribute to Murphy's leadership and commitment to N.C. State, the new football operations center in the south end of Carter-Finley Stadium will be named the Wendell H. Murphy Football Center.

A bust of Murphy will be placed in the Hall of Champions area of the Center, along with a plaque honoring the entire Murphy family.

"Wendell Murphy and the Murphy family have meant more to N.C. State and the Wolfpack Club than any volume of words can adequately express," said Bobby Purcell, executive director of the Wolfpack Club. "Throughout the years, Wendell has been a proven leader for N.C. State. His support has allowed us to build one of the finest universities, athletics departments and financial-aid organizations in the nation.

"Through the benevolence of the Murphy family, many student athletes have been able to come to N.C. State. The Murphys have led campaigns and made significant financial commitments to improving N.C. State. We are proud to honor Wendell and his family for their unyielding support."

The Murphy family's generosity has led the way in many capital campaigns in recent history.

The family also has made significant financial gifts to academic programs on campus, supporting the entire university community.

In 1999, Murphy was awarded the prestigious Watauga Medal, the school's highest award, given for outstanding and distinguished service.

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University, a past member of the Veterinary Medicine Foundation Board and a past member of the Alumni Association board.

Murphy has served on the board of directors of the Wolfpack Club and as vice president and president of the organization.

He and his family have endowed two Caldwell scholarships, which provide financial aid for students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The Murphy family has provided scholarship funding throughout the university, including resources for the Colleges of Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences, Education and Psychology and Natural Resources. They also have supported special scholarship funds like the Thomas Jefferson Scholars Program and James A. Graham Scholars Endowment.

The Murphy family has been a loyal supporter of the expansion of the University Club, and they support Friends of the Library, where Murphy's wife, Linda, is a board member.

Wendell Murphy is member of the Centennial Authority, which led the development of the RBC Center, home to the Wolfpack's men's basketball team.

"On behalf of my family, we are honored beyond words," Murphy said of having his name on the football center. "N.C. State has meant so much to me, my family, and our business over the years.

"The university and its people are a part of everyday life for the Murphys. In fact, N.C. State is our family. We are proud of that association and hope that in some small way, we have been able to give back a little something to a university that gives to the Murphys and every other North Carolina citizen every day."

The new Wendell H. Murphy Football Center is a 103,000 square foot state-of-the-art operations center for Coach Chuck Amato's Wolfpack football program.

"When I travel the country recruiting players for our program, being able to tell them about this facility, our home, is one of the most exciting speeches I make," Amato said. "I've been around and seen what's out there, and I am here to tell you now, there is no better facility in the nation -- college or professional -- than the Murphy Football Center.

"And we have Wendell Murphy, his wife, Linda, and their children, his brother, Pete, and sister, Joyce, and entire family to thank for our new home. The Murphys are all-time Wolfpackers."

Athletics director Lee Fowler also took time to praise Murphy's efforts on behalf of the university over the years.

"When I first came to N.C. State, I learned quickly that Wolfpackers are a special breed of supporters," said Fowler. "A true leader in that Wolfpack family is Wendell Murphy.

"Wendell and his family are important to what we are doing at N.C. State. His vision and support for what we are creating is one of the main building blocks of our success. It is our distinct honor to have the Murphy name on our facility."

Murphy, a native of Rose Hill, received his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education from N.C. State in 1960. After graduation, he began his career as a vocational agriculture teacher.

In 1962, Murphy and his father, Holmes Murphy, opened a custom feed manufacturing operation. As times changed, so did the needs of farmers, so the Murphys decided to diversify by raising hogs.

Contracting operations began with area farmers on open lots in 1964. Confinement growing started in 1974, and sow and farrowing operations were launched in 1979.

In January 2000, the family owned business known as Murphy Family Farms became a part of the Smithfield Foods operation.

In 1983, Murphy was elected to the State House of Representatives, Tenth District, where he served until 1988. In 1989, he was elected to the North Carolina Senate, which he served until 1992.

In late 1987, Sen. Murphy saw a need for a new, men's basketball facility for his alma mater and sought the support of Jim Valvano, who enthusiastically supported Murphy's dream. The following year, Sen. Murphy sponsored legislation which led to the first appropriation for the project -- $1.5 million for the project's initial planning.

Sen. Murphy worked tirelessly championing the plan in the legislature, which eventually appropriated $22 million to the arena.

Murphy was ranked first among Senate freshmen by the North Carolina Center of Public Policy Research, Inc., in 1990. He received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 1988 and was named Tar Heel of the Week by The News and Observer in May, 1987.

In 1999, the News & Observer and the Wilmington Morning Star both chose Murphy as one of their Persons of the Century. He has also been selected as one of Business North Carolina's Tar Heel Titans.

His most coveted award was received in 1975, when he was named Pork All American. In 2001, Murphy was inducted into the North Carolina Pork Hall of Fame.

"Wendell Murphy and his family have been lifelong friends of N.C. State," said Dr. Marye Anne Fox, NCSU Chancellor. "While serving in the state legislature, on our Board of Trustees and as an ardent Wolfpack fan, Wendell has given outstanding guidance and support to his alma mater.

"This new facility is one more example of how fortunate we are to have the Murphy family as a part of our N.C. State family."


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