Murphy, Dick - Oral History Interview
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Richard W. (Dick) Murphy ‘58 graduated from Yale in 1954 as a history major. While he was at Yale, he became interested in Asia, largely through two courses: Government and Politics in China and Japan and Chinese History. He was also part of the Army ROTC program. As a Second Lt., Murphy was trained as a counterintelligence officer in Baltimore, and after taking an intensive Japanese course, went to Japan and then to Korea. While in Korea, Murphy decided to apply for a masters degree in international relations. He took the GRE in an unheated, old school house in downtown Seoul, still devastated from the War. Upon returning to the U.S. in the summer of 1956, Murphy sought advice from his Chinese history professor at Yale. The professor encouraged him to consider SAIS, and he put Murphy in touch with Paul Linebarger, who interviewed Murphy in Washington, D.C. Murphy was soon after admitted to SAIS. At the time, SAIS was a small school with under 100 students and comprised two buildings, one at 1906 Florida Avenue and the other on 19th Street. The Bologna Center had just opened. Murphy and other unmarried male students lived on the third and fourth floors of the Florida Avenue building. Their “dorm mother” was Mr. Shork (also the SAIS librarian). Linebarger was Murphy’s principal professor at SAIS as East Asia was his regional area of concentration. He took different courses from Linebarger on China and Japan and recalls Linebarger’s father being a legal advisor to Sun Yat-sen. Murphy also recalls Linebarger teaching his classes from a theoretical/academic perspective combined with stories from his life, having an artificial eye, wearing solid colored ties and taking students out to dinner for Peking duck or over to his house. Linebarger wrote science fiction books under his pseudonym, Cordwainer Smith, and had his books translated into several languages (one time into Farsi). Murphy also recalls Dean Thayer, Priscilla Mason and Bill Phillips and shares memories of the day he took the Oral Exam at SAIS. During his career Murphy worked in Army Intelligence as well as for American Enterprise Institute, Senator Hugh Scott (PA) on Capitol Hill, Merck & Co., Inc. as their Washington Representative and Director of Government Relations, the National Food Processors Association and later with the International Service Agencies, an umbrella group of American charities working overseas that participated in the annual Federal government employees’ charitable fundraising campaign. Near the end of his career, Murphy was hired to work at CSIS as special assistant to the president in the fall of 1990 and later became Director of External Relations and Senior Associate. Murphy was executive director of the CSIS American-Ukrainian Advisory Committee, comprising prominent individuals from the United States and Ukraine, and worked closely with the committee’s chairman, CSIS Counselor (and SAIS professor) Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski. He accompanied Brzezinski to Ukraine several times where they met with Ukraine’s president and other political leaders. After this position, Murphy worked on some consulting/pro-bono projects and has since retired. For SAIS students he imparts: “Start networking as soon as possible.” Murphy met his wife, Ludmilla K. (Luda) Murphy B ’60, ’61, at SAIS and they have a daughter.