Kathleen (Keefe) Murphy, SDU's first female BSc graduate, passes away

Posted: 
Monday, April 9, 2018
Front row: Shawn, Danny, and Kathleen (Keefe) Murphy; Mary Jane (Murphy) Cassidy; and Joey and D’Arcy Murphy; back row: Michael, Stephen, and Kevin Murphy

Dr. Alaa Abd-El-Aziz, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island, extends his sincere condolences to the family and friends of Kathleen (Keefe) Murphy, who passed away on Sunday, April 8. The flags will be flown at half-mast in her memory.

As one of the first women who enrolled at Saint Dunstan’s University (SDU), Kathleen (Keefe) Murphy was a trailblazer in every sense.

For close to 90 years, SDU had accepted only men as students, who were trained as lawyers, doctors, teachers, public servants, and in religious vocations. With the advent of World War II and societal changes that were happening in the late 1930s and 40s, a small number of women applied and were eventually accepted as students at the Island’s only university.

Mrs. Murphy was one of those early women. After enrolling at SDU in 1945, she pursued a Bachelor of Science degree, and she and Lorraine MacNeilly were the first females to graduate.

To celebrate their mother, and honour the memory of all the early women who attended Saint Dunstan’s from 1945–1969, Mrs. Murphy’s eight children created a legacy gift in 2017 that supported renovations to the interior of UPEI’s Chaplaincy Centre and the construction of a small outdoor amphitheatre. Mrs. Murphy, her children, along with many of their children and grandchildren, gathered on the UPEI campus last summer for a recognition event.

“Mrs. Murphy was truly a pioneer for SDU and UPEI. She valued the importance of post-secondary education and instilled this commitment to higher learning in all of her children. It is amazing that each of them, and many of their children, attended UPEI,” adds President Abd-El-Aziz. “All of us at UPEI express our deepest sympathies to the Murphy and Keefe families on the loss of this remarkable woman.”

Funeral mass shall take place at Saint Dunstan’s Basilica on Wednesday, April 11, at 10 am. Read the obituary

Nicole Phillips
Associate Director
Department: 
Marketing and Communications
Phone: 
(902) 566-0947
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