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Eugene W. Murphy was a nationally known trucking company executive, a state college regent, and a civic leader in La Crosse. He was chairman of the Gateway Transportation Company from 1933 until January 1981 when the company was sold. He served on the Wisconsin State College Board of Regents, now the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, from 1951 to 1973. He was President of the Board from 1966-1969.
The Eugene W. Murphy Library was dedicated on June 12, 1969, and so named in recognition for his years of service to the University and the Wisconsin State University System.
Murphy was also instrumental in getting North Hall, now W. Carl Wimberly Hall, built on the UWL campus in the early 1970s. Former UWL Chancellor Kenneth Lindner credited Murphy's support for the building in ensuring its construction despite opposition from state officials.
Eugene Murphy was also a trustee and president of the St. Francis Medical Center Advisory Board and a director of the Wisconsin Historical Society; he was elected Man of the Year by the Greater La Crosse Chamber of Commerce in 1960. Mr. Murphy died on March 5, 1987, at the age of 85.
The Eugene W. Murphy Library Special Recognition Award recognizes those individuals or organizations that have made major contributions to the mission, programs, and purposes of Murphy Library. The list of award recipients features all of the past honorees and their contributions to Murphy Library.