April 17, 2024

Dr. Kermit McMurry Named Outstanding Tiger Alumni Recipient

Dr. Kermit McMurry

Having graduated from Arkansas City Junior College (now Cowley College) in 1965, January 18, 2024, recently marked the 60th anniversary when Dr. Kermit McMurry set the school record with 30 rebounds against Northeastern Oklahoma College. He was recently celebrated for his accomplishments by being named the Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award recipient.

“I can’t think of a more deserving individual than Dr. McMurry,” said Dr. Kori Gregg, Cowley College Foundation President, and CEO. “As a standout athlete at Cowley College, he led by example, not only setting records along the way but also by providing exemplary leadership to his team and fellow students.”

Dr. McMurry still ranks in the top 10 in points scored in a season and in a career at Cowley. If not for injuries he suffered during his sophomore season, he would have made a run at season and career totals set six years earlier by his former coach, Del Heidebrecht.

After his time in Arkansas City, he accepted an athletic scholarship to play basketball at the University of Colorado. Colorado was the premier school in the Big Eight Conference for his academic interests. While finishing his bachelor's degree in education, he was a two-year starter for the Buffaloes.

In 1968, Dr. McMurry was named an All-Big Eight performer. He was offered a graduate assistant scholarship to work on his master's degree while serving as an assistant basketball coach. His master's is in education. 

He left Boulder in 1970 for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he worked in the division of student affairs and helped the late Joe Cipriano recruit for his men's basketball team. Still wanting more education he had, he began pursuit of a doctorate for $1 per semester.

After earning his doctorate in higher education administration from UNL in 1975, he embarked on careers with two Nebraska governors and Grambling State University in Louisiana. 

Then, it was back to Nebraska to head up Governor Kay Orr's higher education policy cabinet, where he organized the governor's position on matters related to higher education.

A connection with Orr's staff led him to become the associate vice chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. In this role, he conducted system wide program reviews for the Regents, the coordinating board of control for 25 colleges and universities in Oklahoma.

Dr. McMurry was eventually promoted to Vice Chancellor for Student Services for the state system. He credits Cowley for helping him get to where he is today.

He was named Cowley's Most Inspirational Player and was awarded the Most Improved Player award during the 1968 season at Colorado. Dr. McMurry has been honored with numerous other awards. In 1971, he earned the Outstanding Young Men of America award presented by the Jaycees. In 1975, he was named to Who's Who Among Black Americans.

In 1977, he was presented the Pioneer Coordinating Award for Multi-Institutional Planning from UNL. Others include a community service award from Mutual of Omaha in 1989 and the United States President citation for Innovation and Leadership in 1988.

2001, he received a Quality Recognition Award from the Oklahoma Department of Human Resources. In 2002, he received the governor's commendation for his public service. He will now add Outstanding Tiger Alumni to his list of accomplishments.

“Dr. McMurry’s professional career accomplishments as a national leader in higher education speak for themselves, and we are profoundly impressed by the impact and legacy he continues to have on higher education in the U.S,” Dr. Gregg said.

He is semi-retired but remains extremely active in the higher education community across the country, serving as a consultant and on several not-for-profit organizations as a member of the board of directors in the Oklahoma Community. 

For more information, visit the Cowley Foundations Page

Rama Peroo | Director of Institutional Communication
Cowley College
125 S. 2nd Street
Arkansas City, KS 67005