The English Major

The English Major

To be, or not to be. For Col. John Murphy, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Creighton in 1958, that was not the question. He wanted “to be” … an English major, that is.

He majored in philosophy at Creighton, minoring in biology and English. That was followed by a 28-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He has traveled to or worked in 27 countries. He is a graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the National War College, holds a master’s degree from Ball State University and has taught as an adjunct faculty member. He is also an author. His debut novel, a military thriller titled The Scarlet Shamrock, was published in 2014.

But the road not taken — the one leading to an English major — nagged at him. He turned to Creighton, where his connections run deep. His father, Joe Murphy, BSC’31, once headed the PR department and developed the iconic Billy Bluejay mascot in 1941. His eldest son, Michael, BA’84, a retired lieutenant colonel and a Creighton alumnus, endowed a scholarship to honor his grandparents and support deserving students who serve as the costumed Billy Bluejay. And an uncle, Ed Murphy, BSC’27, worked at Creighton for 69 years and has a campus building named after him.

Alas, thanks to Creighton — and Shakespeare — John Murphy’s dream is now a reality. With credit for a Shakespeare class taken at Rockhurst University, accompanied with his professional writing experience, the father of four grown children, who lives with his wife, Joan, in North Carolina, is officially a Creighton University English major.