WCU awards honorary doctorate to Rev. Slater Murphy
Rev. Slater Murphy received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from William Carey University June 24 during a ceremony at Bass Chapel.
“Dr. Murphy has been a major influence in church music in Mississippi for decades. His witness for Christ and his unique talent for challenging church members to develop their full potential are characteristics that make William Carey proud of our graduate,” said WCU President Dr. Tommy King.
Murphy earned a bachelor’s degree in music from William Carey University in 1979 – but his decision to attend college in Hattiesburg was almost accidental.
“There was no church music degree available at Tulane University in my neighborhood. So, where was I going to go? I just kind of wandered into the music office at William Carey, on a Saturday, and there was Dr. Winters,” Murphy said.
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After graduating from WCU, Murphy attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned a master’s degree in church music. He was associate pastor in music at Fairview Baptist Church in Columbus for 26 years. Since 2011, Murphy has served as director of the Church Music Department at the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board.
Murphy thanked his family: “My wife, Marsha, deserves at least half of this degree. She has earned it alongside me. She is the epitome of a worship pastor’s wife in the way she conducts her life.”
During the ceremony, two WCU officials placed the doctoral hood over Murphy’s head. One was Dr. Garry Breland, WCU provost and vice president for academic affairs. The other was his son, Dr. Brian Murphy, an assistant professor of music at WCU’s Donald and Frances Winters School of Music. Father and son perform dual organ/piano recitals as the “Murphy Mixture.”