Roots of the Endowment
On September 11, 1964, the College of St. Thomas announced the establishment of the John Gregory Murray Fund for "the training of teachers for St. Paul archdiocesan schools" (News release, Sept 9, 1964, UST Archives). The fund was part of the College’s initiative to increase student aid as described in the "'Program for Great Teaching,' a 6 million dollar campaign occasioned by a 1962 Ford Foundation matching grant" (News release, Sept. 9, 1964, UST Archives).
The initial endowment of $500,000 was set aside to provide scholarships for students planning to teach in elementary or secondary schools in the Archdiocese. However, before any of the scholarship money was disseminated, the group overseeing the John Gregory Murray Fund decided that the funds would be better utilized in support of graduate education for teachers already employed in the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese.
In Fall semester 1966, the first John Gregory Murray tuition scholarships were awarded to a group of eight graduate students who received a total of $870. Within three years, students were being told that individual awards would be reduced, because demand for the scholarships was exceeding available resources. At the same time, the rising cost of advanced education was outstripping the salaries of Catholic school teachers, and it became increasingly apparent that a new delivery model for the John Gregory Murray Fund was needed.