Economics Alumnus David Murphy Named Associate Dean for Entrepreneurship and ESTEEM Director

Author: Nina Welding

David Murphy

David Murphy, former president and chief executive officer of Better World Books, a for-profit social venture initially created and spun out of the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed associate dean for entrepreneurship for the Colleges of Science and Engineering and director of the Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters program.

A one-year master of science collaborative program between the Colleges of Science and Engineering and the Mendoza College of Business, ESTEEM augments the scientific and technical skills of individuals who have already earned their bachelor’s degree by providing the opportunity to obtain the unique skills required to take science and/or engineering inventions and translate them into commercial ventures.

The primary goal of the program is to prepare students for a lifelong engagement with innovation that is wholly congruent with the University’s distinctive Catholic character, fostering a culture of excellence, inclusion, collaboration, respect for diverse ideas, and care for the common good.

Murphy graduated from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1980 and earned his MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College in 1984.

He served as president and chief executive officer of Better World Books from 2004 to July 2011 and continues to serve on the company’s board of directors. Prior to his tenure at Better World Books, he worked for 20 years in corporate finance, operations, and mergers and acquisitions with firms such as International Paper Company; The First Boston Corporation; Hutchinson SA, a multi-billion dollar French subsidiary of the Total Energy Group; and Transcend Services Inc.

He has developed three start-up companies and joined three others in their infancy in a C-level capacity. Murphy has also raised more than $85 million in capital to build and scale multiple organizations in the manufacturing, healthcare services, technology, and online retail sectors.

“David Murphy brings with him a depth and breadth of experience that closely matches the goals of the ESTEEM program,” says Peter Kilpatrick, McCloskey Dean of Engineering. “David is also one of the world’s leaders in implementing social entrepreneurship, a new brand of business which emphasizes intergenerational and social justice, in addition to creating wealth and economic well-being for all stakeholders and employees in a company. This relatively new type of business venture is wholly consistent with the eminent tradition of Catholic social teaching and I am excited about David’s vision for how this can be implemented here at Notre Dame.”

A recent development at the University, the ESTEEM program “has already shown a great deal of promise in the development of new businesses and the growth of our students,” says Gregory Crawford, W.K. Warren Dean of Science. "We look forward to even greater growth in the coming years with the help of David Murphy.”

Murphy is a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2012 and also serves on the board of directors for the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy, Indaba Systems LLC, and was recently asked to serve on the Fetzer Institute’s Advisory Council on the Business Professions. He also serves on the advisory boards of Books for Africa and The Prison Book Program and is actively involved as a judge in Notre Dame’s annual McCloskey Business Plan Competition. Murphy is also a member of the University’s IrishAngels organization.

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