When there was a need on the College of Engineering campus, Tom Murray asked, "What can I do to help?" Under his direction, the college's Kurt F. Wendt Library has been a temporary home to the Engineering Career Services offices, a permanent site for Computer-Aided Engineering labs and classrooms and, most recently, a vibrant, collaborative student learning environment.
In an electronic era where the role of libraries is uncertain, Murray articulated a vision for Wendt Library that addressed the changing needs and expectations of today's library users. As a result, he and his staff developed state-of-the-art, user-centered, technology-based library services that influenced the entire university library system.
He helped strengthen the Wisconsin TechSearch technical information service, extending the university's resources far beyond campus. Under his leadership, Wendt became a leader in providing online access to journals, databases and library collections, and pioneered a fast electronic document delivery system that was the foundation for the campuswide Library Express service. He has worked with the university's Division of Information Technology to make electronic course reserves available to students.
As Wendt Library added more electronic information resources and moved lesser-used volumes to storage, Murray supervised the installation of a new floor over a former balcony, moved out bookshelves, and moved in tables, chairs and more computers. By fall 2001, the library's fourth floor became a high-profile central location for students to study together and seek academic support services. Under his vision, continues to evolve.
He is quick to credit others for these achievements. But one of his strengths as an administrator lies in his ability to help his colleagues identify and develop their individual strengths while inspiring them to contribute to a common vision.
Murray retired from the college in August 2004, where he served the UW-Madison campus for 37 years. He became the library's acting director in 1988; its director in 1991. Previously, he was director of the Engineering Publications Office, director of the university's Energy Information Project, and a writer for UW-Madison's University-Industry Reseach Program and the Institute for Environmental Studies.