Forty Years of Excellence in Education Began with WSU

George L. Murdock grew up in a family where college was an expectation.  He came to WSU from Toledo, Wash., where he was active in Future Farmers of America and his father was a school superintendent.

“There was never much of a choice,” he said of his college expectations.  “It wasn’t a monumental challenge, just a step in life.”
Murdock chose Washington State University even though both of his parents were Huskies. WSU, he said, was just the size he liked and there was no way he wanted to live in Seattle.

“I lived in Alpha Gamma Rho and loved everything about WSU,” Murdock said.  “There were no low points.”

Murdock worked for the McMinville News-Register after graduating from WSU with an agricultural journalism degree in 1964 and at the same time pursued a master’s degree in education at Linfield College in McMinville, Ore.  He began his career in education 1966 as a journalism teacher at W. F. West High School in Chehalis, Wash., where he eventually became assistant principal and then principal.

Murdock has spent four decades dedicated to education, including service as assistant superintendent of Walla Walla Public Schools from 1982 to 1991, deputy superintendent from 1991 to 1993, and then as superintendent of schools in Pasco, Wash., and as the Umatilla-Morrow Education Service District Superintendent from 1999 until 2007.

He left the ESD in the spring of 2007 when he was invited to become editor and publisher of the East Oregonian, a daily newspaper serving Eastern Oregon.

The Pendleton, Ore. newspaper is owned by East Oregonian Publishing Company which also owns The Capital Press and six other newspapers in Oregon and Washington.

“The people skills,” Murdock said, were the benefits outside of WSU’s academics that prepared him for his success.

Murdock served as president of the Washington State Superintendents (’96-‘97), the Washington Association of School Personnel Administrators (‘85) and the Washington Association of Secondary School Principals (‘78).  Also, in 1988 he received Washington’s Superintendent of the Year award in recognition of his exemplary service.  He also served as president of the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts.

Murdock said he is enjoying giving back to WSU as a member of the Foundation Board of Trustees.

“There is a unique bond among Cougars,” Murdock said.  “Recently I was in Europe and was in the Vatican wearing a Coug sweatshirt when someone walked by and said, ‘Go Cougs!’  There is something special about WSU.  It’s an experience we all share.”

Katie Floyd, WSU CAHNRS and Extension Marketing and News Services Intern