Vanderbilt professor Velma McBride Murry has worked tirelessly throughout her career to inspire her current and former students to be resounding agents of change in their communities.
This fall, Murry and nine other notable professors from universities across the United States will each receive a $25,000 cash award from the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award Trust for inspiring former students to make a difference in the community.
A native of Jackson, Tenn., Murry is the Lois Autrey Betts Professor of Education and Humanities in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development. While teaching at the University of Georgia where she served as co-director of the Center for Family Research, Murry mentored graduate student, Cady Berkel, who completed a Ph.D. in Child and Family Development there in 2007.
Berkel went on to work closely with Murry on her Strong African American Families program, which advances the wellbeing of African American families by strengthening family relationships, parenting processes and youth competencies. Designed collaboratively with African American communities in the rural South, it laid the foundation for Berkel’s career in culturally based prevention studies where she is now an assistant research professor at Prevention Research Center at Arizona State University.
This year’s award ceremony took place at The Carter Center in Atlanta on Nov. 9. Since its inception, the Beckman Award Trust has awarded $1.3 million to 52 professors and/or faculty members to date. The trust was established in 2008 under the will of Gail McKnight Beckman in honor of her mother Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman, an educator, a renowned author and a pioneer in the field of psychology. She was one of the first female psychology professors at Columbia University and later taught at the University of Pennsylvania.
The Trust is supported by the Wells Fargo’s Philanthropic Services group <www.wellsfargo.com/privatefoundationgrants/beckman>. For more information on Murry, visit <peabody.vanderbilt.edu/bio/velma-mcbride-murry>.