Four Generations of Grinnellians
This is the second installment of a two-part story about the McMurray family. Part one features Scott McMurray '79.
Julia McMurray ’08
Oct. 13, 2016 — Much like my dad, Scott McMurray ’79, I thought I'd never end up at Grinnell because seemingly everyone in my family went there. In the space on the application allotted to list family members who attended Grinnell, I had to write, "Please see attached.” The turning point came for me when I visited the College. I was incredibly impressed by how interested the students were in classes, and the professors were engaging and seemed to really care about what the students had to say. I also liked the feel of the campus. It was laid back and community focused.
I was involved in Community Meal, which allowed me to continue the tradition of giving back that I was raised in, and Community Chorus let my love of singing shine through in a nonjudgmental environment. Both activities allowed me to get to know not only my fellow college students, but also people from town who I wouldn't have gotten to know otherwise.
I majored in psychology and French and studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence. One of the things my Dad and I share about our college experience is that we both had a strong desire to study abroad and expand our horizons.
Since graduating, my path has not overlapped much with my Dad's. I am currently the operations manager for a healthcare quality improvement program working specifically with trauma patients. We help hundreds of hospitals across the U.S. and Canada improve their patient care for this vulnerable population.
It was at Grinnell I met my husband, Max Kuipers ’09. I am still very close with many of my college friends. Since graduation, I have made friends with Grinnellians in Chicago whom I didn't know as a student. I find that in a room full of strangers, Grinnellians have an instant connection.
I give to Grinnell because I loved my time there and I think Grinnell profoundly influenced who I am today. Grinnell honed my writing and critical thinking skills and has given me an incredible community I can always fall back on.
With its very healthy endowment, Grinnell needs to provide alumni with more reasons to donate their hard-earned money. I graduated from Grinnell confident that I would make an excellent scientist. I hope that Grinnell will give my fellow scientists more data off of which to base their donations. It would be helpful to know what my donation will benefit specifically. How can I help continue the high quality of education that I received? How can I help underserved populations attain a college degree? Will my donation support the hardworking staff and professors who so influenced my time at Grinnell?
I love that so much of my family history includes Grinnell. I love that my grandparents and great grandparents met and married at Grinnell. I love that everyone involved in my parents’ meeting and their wedding were all Grinnellians. I will certainly encourage my children to attend Grinnell one day, but I hope that like my parents, it won't be a hard sell. I hope my children will find their own path, but I do hope that that path will include Grinnell.
Editor’s Note: This story has been edited for length, but Julia's full interview is available as a PDF.