Paul W. Murrill
Hall of Distinction Class of 1981-1982
Paul W. Murrill’s multi-faceted career has made his name familiar to the entire LSU community and throughout Louisiana and the nation as well. Dr. Murrill is perhaps best known as the second chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus of LSU, a position he held from 1974-1980.
Dr. Murrill elected retirement status at LSU at the end of 1980 and joined the staff of Ethyl Corporation in Baton Rouge as senior vice president for research and development. In 1982, he was chosen as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Gulf States Utilities Company, headquartered in Beaumont, Texas. However, he continues to maintain a home in Baton Rouge.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Murrill was educated in Clinton, Mississippi before attending the University of Mississippi, where he received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Following three years of active duty in the U.S. Navy, he obtained a position with Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
In 1960, Dr. Murrill began his graduate studies at LSU and received his M.S. in chemical engineering in 1962, followed one year later by his Ph.D. Prior to receiving his doctorate, he had already served one year at LSU as a part-time instructor in chemical engineering and a special instructor in mechanical, industrial and aerospace engineering.
His professional connection with LSU began in 1963 with his appointment as assistant professor in the areas of chemical, mechanical, industrial and aerospace engineering. Two years later, he was promoted to associate professor, and in 1967, he was named head of the chemical engineering department, a position he held for two years.
After achieving full professor status in 1968, Dr. Murrill was recognized the next year for his administrative abilities by being named vice chancellor for academic affairs at LSU, and in 1970, provost. His position was second in rank on the Baton Rouge campus, behind that of then-Chancellor Cecil G. Taylor.
Chancellors Taylor’s decision to retire in 1974 led to the selection of Dr. Murrill as chancellor. The accomplishments of his tenure as chancellor of LSU are many and varied but include
- bringing a Phi Beta Kappa chapter to the campus, seeing that the Louisiana State Board of Regents named LSU as the only publicly funded comprehensive university in the State
- having LSU named as one of nineteen Sea Grant university in the nation, establishing the School of Veterinary medicine
- being responsible for the construction of numerous campus building such as the Building for Veterinary Medicine, The Center for Engineering and Business Administration, Choppin Hall, Williams Hall, and the significant addition to Tiger Stadium
- expanding the LSU Press to sixty-five titles a year which culminated in the Press publishing a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in 1981
- having LSU designated as a Mining and Mineral Resources Institute
- developing LSU’s centralized computer facility
- and personally raising funds to commission the Margaret Stones Collection of Louisiana Flora.
His numerous honors and awards include: selection as Distinguished Member of Phi Kappa Phi, national honorary society; listing in Who’s Who in America and 26 other directories; the 1967 Halliburton Award for excellence in engineering teaching; the 1975 Coates Award of ACS-AIChE; and selection by Phi Delta Kappa in 1980 as the outstanding educator in Louisiana.
Dr. Murrill has authored or co-authored eight textbooks and contributed to seven others. He has published more than 60 articles in technical and professional journals and made more than 40 presentations before national and international professional meetings. While at LSU, he personally obtained and directed more than $1.5 million in research grants and contracts in his professional area of digital automata and chemical engineering.
He is a member of several professional and honorary societies, including the Louisiana Engineering Society, The American Institute of Chemical Engineering and Tau Beta Pi engineering honorary. Dr. Murrill is a registered professional engineer in Louisiana.
He has led the Baton Rouge United Givers campaign and currently serves on the boards of eight companies. In addition, he finds the time to jog approximately 15 miles per week!
Dr. Murrill best exemplifies the professional engineer with outstanding managerial talents and high academic credentials. His rapid rise at LSU and successful work in the private industry is indicative of his exceptional capabilities. Dr. Murrill’s record is proof that an engineering education can prove beneficial not only to the industrial or professional sectors but also to society at large.