Nancy Setzer Murray, the youngest of seven children of Jacob Eli and Sara Jane Setzer, was born January 9, 1916, in Newton, North Carolina; she graduated from Newton (N.C.) High School. Nancy also was a graduate of Catawba Business College and worked for Clyde Mills, Inc. in Newton from 1936-1941. She and Grover E. Murray were married June 21, 1941 in Columbia, South Carolina. They had two daughters – Martha and Barbara Elizabeth.
Dr. and Mrs. Murray traveled the world together, and she visited all the earth’s continents except Australia and all the United States except Iowa.
Nancy Murray lent her support to a wide variety of endeavors while her husband was employed as a professor of geology and as an administrator by Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) and Texas Tech University (Lubbock), including Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS), the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce, the Women’s Council of the West Texas Museum Association, Ruth Circle of the First United Methodist Church, the Symphony Guild, the Ranching Heritage Association, the volunteer services of both Methodist and University Medical Center hospitals, the Women’s Guild of First Methodist Church, the Texas Tech University Women’s Club and the Quarterly Club.
In recognition of her contribution to these activities, Nancy Setzer Murray was elected an honorary member of Mortar Board, the leadership honor society. As a living tribute, her family established at Texas Tech University the Nancy Setzer Murray Mortar Board Memorial Scholarship which later was converted to the Nancy Setzer Murray Memorial Presidential Scholarship.
In addition to his academic and industrial work, Mrs. Murray’s husband, Grover, participated widely in professional society activities. Naturally, Nancy was deeply involved and to this date is unique in being Queen and Royal Consort to his highness – Petros Rex II – at the Krewe of Petros Ball held in conjunction with the AAPG/SEPM annual convention in New Orleans in 1965. As no successor ever appeared, she carried the designation of “Queen” until her death in 1985.
In December 1965, the Regents of Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) contacted the Murrays regarding the Presidency of that Institution. They accepted the offer in early 1966 and moved to Lubbock in August of that year. When Dr. Murray assumed the presidency on September 1, 1966, Nancy Setzer Murray became the First Lady of the University. For the next 10 years she carried that mantle and handled its varied demands and responsibilities with dignity and graciousness. She was, indeed, the “Queen” of the University from 1966-1976.
The two Murray daughters, subjected much of their youthful lives to geological trips and related activities, succumbed at least partially to the lures of the profession. Martha married C. Wylie Poag, now a prominent biostratigrapher, while he was a graduate student in the School of Geology at LSU. They now reside in East Falmouth, Massachusetts, where Wylie is a geologist with the U.S.G.S. They have three children – Tracy, Marla and Graham Murray Poag (named after Graham B. Moody and grandfather Grover E. Murray, both former presidents of AAPG). Barbara was so “enamored” by her father’s study of the earth that she took up study of another kind of body – that of humans. She is Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Texas – known internationally for her work in infectious and contagious diseases. She is married to Ernesto Baca, a consulting environmental engineer.
Funds to establish this grant have been provided by Nancy Setzer Murray’s daughters – Barbara E. Murray, M.D. (Mrs. Ernesto Baca) and Martha Murray (Mrs. C. Wylie Poag); and by Sally Marie and Grover E. Murray.
The Nancy Setzer Murray Memorial Grant is awarded annually to a deserving graduate student for studies in which stratigraphy plays a significant role, through the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation Grants-in-Aid program. It is endowed by the AAPG Foundation with generous contributions from her family and friends.