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White House Nominates Alumnus Patrick Murphy as Under Secretary of the Army

Murphy delivers the commencement address at The Forum at the Capitol Complex in May 2009. If confirmed, he will be the Army’s second-highest civilian leader.

The White House on Wednesday nominated Widener University School of Law-Harrisburg alumnus Patrick J. Murphy as under secretary of the Army, its second highest-ranking civilian leader. The appointment adds to an already impressive list of public service accomplishments for the 1999 graduate.

Murphy, 41, was the first Iraq war veteran to be elected to U.S. House of Representatives, serving Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District for two terms from 2007 to 2011. During his time in Congress, Murphy served on the Armed Services Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Appropriations Committee. In 2010, he was the author and chief sponsor of the bill to repeal the Department of Defense’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

“Patrick Murphy is an outstanding leader who is dedicated to public service,” Widener Law Commonwealth Dean Christian Johnson said. “We congratulate Patrick on this honor and know that he will represent Widener Law Commonwealth, the U.S. Army and the nation admirably in this role.”

If confirmed, Murphy will replace Erik Fanning who has served as acting under secretary since June. In this capacity, Murphy will be responsible for the Army's budget, diversity in the ranks, business transformation and energy efficiency initiatives.

After serving in Congress, Murphy became a partner with the national law firm Fox Rothschild, LLP, serving as general counsel for small businesses, including several that are veteran-owned. He also serves as the anchor of Taking the Hill, the MSNBC show dedicated to leadership, public service and breaking down the civil-military divide in the country. In addition, he is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans.

Murphy served in the Army from 1993 to 2004. After September 11, 2001, he volunteered for deployment, serving in Bosnia in 2002 and in Baghdad during the Iraq War. While in Baghdad, he was a captain in the 82nd Airborne Division and earned a Bronze Star. He penned an autobiography about his life and experiences titled Taking the Hill: From Philly to Bagdad to the United States Congress which was published by Henry Holt and Company in 2008.

An active alumnus, Murphy has served as an adjunct professor for the law school and as a member of the school’s National Advisory Committee since 2007. He was the speaker for the 2009 commencement ceremony, during which he received an honorary doctor of law degree. As a law student, Murphy participated in the Harrisburg Civil Law Clinic and helped to revive the Widener chapter of the St. Thomas More Society, a national organization of Catholic lawyers dedicated to public service.