Meet Kevin Murphy, dean of the University of New Haven’s Tuscany Campus in Prato, Italy. He discovered his passion for art history and travel as a college student, and he is now learning Chinese.
August 13, 2019
The lifeblood of the University of New Haven are the faculty and staff members who dedicate their lives to helping our students reach their goals. Periodically, we’ll introduce you to a member of the staff so you can learn more about him or her – beyond their day to day work.
Next up is Kevin Murphy, a Liverpool native who has served as dean of the University’s Tuscany campus in Prato, Italy since its founding in 2012
Renee Chmiel: What kind of music do you like? What was the first album you purchased?
Kevin Murphy: I like so many kinds of music, it's hard to answer that one! Recently, I was listening to Yellow Magic Orchestra, Led Zeppelin, the film score from 'Arrival,' and some Italian opera. I'm from Liverpool, and I've always loved The Beatles. The first record I bought was a secondhand single, 'Ashes to Ashes,’ by David Bowie in 1980. My first album was Duran Duran in 1981.
RC: What were you like in college?
KM: I was involved in a lot of different activities in college, maybe too many – sports (mostly soccer, but also cricket, rugby, and tennis), acting, and student politics. In 1989, I founded a very short-lived student-run newspaper promoting green issues. On the academic side, I shifted from 'not very interested' to 'passionate' when I switched majors from English to art history in 1986. I was lucky to have the great professor Evelyn Welch (her daughter Florence became much more famous years later!). She opened my eyes to Italy, taught me how to look at art, and took me to Florence for the first time in 1987
RC: Besides Italy, where else have you traveled? Which place is your favorite?
KM: I grew up in England, but I spent a lot of my youth in Ireland, mostly in Kerry and Galway. I didn’t travel much outside of Britain until I went to college and started traveling to Italy to study. I loved Italy from day one, and it's been my home since 1995. I also spent a memorable summer volunteering on an archaeological dig in the south of France with a bunch of Scottish students.
"It's a dream of mine to one day to spend some time in Japan and Mexico."Kevin Murphy
I've travelled to many different parts of Europe and the United States for conferences and projects since I started working in international education back in 1997. It's hard to say which is my favorite place because different locations have given me many different experiences, and I think I've managed to gain something from all of them. That's why I try and help all of my students benefit from international experiences and opportunities. Travel helps us define ourselves and our values, and it gives us a full picture of the world. It makes our students more independent, better prepared academically, and even helps them get better jobs.
For a vacation, I love Greece and Sardinia. I love London and New York City, and it's a dream of mine to one day to spend some time in Japan and Mexico.
RC: What is the scariest thing you have ever done?
KM: This is a tricky one. Pursuing a Ph.D.? Almost falling off a castle wall? I remember almost missing the submission deadline for my master’s thesis, as I was stuck in a taxi in London traffic (no digital submission possible in those days). I was so scared, I think I temporarily lost the power of speech.
RC: Do you have any special/unusual skills or abilities?
KM: I wish! I recently started learning Chinese, so I hope that one day I can say I speak it.
RC: Tell us about a hobby you are passionate about. Why does this interest you?
KM: As a teenager, I wanted to go to art school and be a painter. I still sometimes sketch and paint, and dream of being Paul Gauguin or David Hockney in another life!
RC: What is your favorite movie?
KM: I have no idea! The first movie I saw at the cinema was David Lynch's The Elephant Man, and I have loved all his work since then. I enjoy sci-fi, film versions of great books, and period dramas.