The Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences has received a $100,000 commitment for its Dean’s Innovation Fund from Jones-Hamilton Co., an employee-owned chemical business in Walbridge, Ohio, where University of Arkansas alumnus Bernie Murphy serves as president.
“I am extremely excited to announce this gift from Jones-Hamilton,” said Dean Mike Vayda. “We are thankful and proud to have Bernie as one of our graduates and appreciate him facilitating this contribution. The university and the college mean a lot to him, and it means a lot to us to have him engaged with our students as they prepare for careers in the businesses of foods, agriculture and human quality of life.
“Bernie recently served as our first Executive in Residence and really enjoyed the interaction with students,” he continued. “The innovation fund is a recommendation from our Dean’s Executive Advisory Board, and we are pleased to be able to act on that suggestion. This is a great tool to help us prepare our students to meet the needs of industry partners and continue positioning them as first-choice candidates of potential employers.”
Murphy earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science at the University of Delaware and worked in the poultry industry for a few years before pursuing a graduate degree. He came to the University of Arkansas in 1977 but was initially put on probation because his undergraduate grade point average was 2.01.
“Three out of four professors told me my GPA was not good enough for me to be considered for acceptance into their graduate programs,” Murphy said. “A University of Arkansas professor, Dr. Tommy Goodwin, was the only researcher to give me a chance to prove myself.”
Murphy earned his master’s degree in poultry science in 1978 and later became a charter member of the U of A poultry science alumni group. He also went on to earn his doctorate in poultry products and meat science with a food technology emphasis from Iowa State University. In 2014, he was named the Bumpers College Outstanding Alumni Award winner.
As president of Jones-Hamilton Co., Murphy has worked internationally for seven years, supporting the development and marketing of animal health products around the world. Much of his career has been related to the poultry industry, managing businesses related to nutrition, primary genetics, processing, food safety and environmental quality.
As Executive in Residence for the Bumpers College, Murphy introduced students to the soft skills needed in the corporate world, including negotiating and strategic thinking.
“The chance to both teach and learn from the students I met with was both motivating and energizing,” he said. “I had the chance to interact with the future of agriculture, and that experience gave me the motivation to give back.”