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Alum leaves university $2.5M gift

January 3, 2017
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The WMU College of Health and Human Services in Kalamazoo was formed in 1976. Courtesy WMU

A university in the region will shore up several of its academic colleges and departments, thanks to a $2.5-million bequest from an alum.

Western Michigan University said last month prominent southeast Michigan alum and business leader Mark Murvay, of Lake Angelus near Detroit, made the donation through his will.

The long-time industrial supply executive and 1961 WMU graduate died Nov. 13, 2015.


Murvay designated his gift to be split among the university’s School of Communication, President’s Unrestricted Fund, College of Arts and Sciences, Haworth College of Business, College of Health and Human Services and the departments of chemistry and psychology.

The departments and colleges are still solidifying plans about how the gifts will be used, according to Cheryl Roland, executive director of university relations, WMU.

She said possibilities "range from scholarships to faculty support, to graduate student support, to recruitment, to retention in highly competitive departments."

"Loyal Bronco"

Roland called the bequest “a wonderful gift from a marvelous supporter of the institution.”

Murvay was active for many years with the university's Alumni Association and the WMU Foundation, serving on the boards of both organizations. He was also a member of the advisory board for the School of Communication.

“Mark Murvay was a proud and loyal Bronco,” said John Dunn, president, WMU. “His passion for WMU was clear to anyone who met him, and through his service on various boards, the university was the beneficiary of his keen insights and wise counsel.

“Now, his legacy will live on through the lives of students and faculty who will benefit from the generous gift he so carefully and thoughtfully designated to the parts of WMU that meant so much to him.”

Mark Murvay

Early in his career, Murvay held management positions with two financial brokerage firms.

Later, he was the owner and president, from 1979 to 2007, of M.A. Murvay, a Warren-based industrial supply company.

He served on the boards of St. Clair Shores Bank, Security Bank St. Clair Shores, Clarkston State Bank and Huron Valley State Bank, becoming its chairman in 2008, a position he held until his death.

He also served as the 69th district director for the Republican party and as a member of the Oakland County Executive Committee.

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