Fuqua Celebrates Ruth Murphy

Published 11:31 am Thursday, June 11, 2015

It was quite a celebration and quite a surprise.  When Ruth S. Murphy, president of Fuqua School, announced she would be leaving Fuqua as of the end of the academic year, the Board challenged the school to plan a celebration in her honor.

Coordinated by Christy Murphy, faculty, staff, PTSA, students, and parents, plans were quietly made. Since Ruth’s focus and priority has always been the students, it was fitting that they be the stars of the show.  Banners were made, videos were shot, memory books created, and skits were written.

On the day of the event, Ruth’s daughter, Martha, arrived to help surprise her mom.  When Martha knocked on Ruth’s office door it was clear that the surprise was complete.  But the surprises were just beginning.  Martha led her mom outside, where she was greeted by the entire lower school, the band, and seniors cheering for her.  Chauffeured in a red Corvette by her daughter, Ruth lead the parade.

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Along with middle and upper school students, faculty and staff  waiting to greet Ruth at the upper school campus, were two of her sisters, one of her brothers, and friend from Durham.  Still in shock, Ruth walked to the upper school lawn for a school-wide picnic.

Following the picnic, everyone adjourned to the gym where love, appreciation, and gratitude were exuberantly demonstrated.  Banners the lower school students made decorated the gym, and teachers serenaded Ruth with their version of “Carolina on My Mind.”  Each grade was represented through performed skits, musical numbers, or videos. The band accompanied many of the presentations.  As the band played a medley called “Pop Culture,” some of the upper school boys ran from the audience to dance with their president during “Hey Baby.”

The PTSA presented Ruth with a resolution of appreciation, and the Board took the stage to share their thoughts and gifts, including a portrait of Ruth, painted by a former faculty member, surrounded by images of school events. The Board then announced a scholarship established in Ruth’s name, dedicated the revitalized nature walk and outdoor classroom in her name, and gifted her with a tribute book.

The book opens with, “There really are no words to express how grateful we are that you came to Farmville in 1994 and stayed for 21 years. You helped mold a school community that really cares about children and their success, from academics to character development to emotional well-being, a school community that is truly a family.” Ruth stated,  “I will treasure always the time we spent together and feel so blessed to have been a part of this special school community.”

It was obvious that Ruth loved every moment of this day when the school celebrated a true leader and friend.