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8,580 Years of Service Celebrated
500 Employees Recognized during Service Awards Ceremony

By Ioana Patringenaru | October 16, 2006

She learned French and Latin in high school. Her family spoke German at home. In college, she studied Spanish and picked up a little Italian, Portuguese and Russian.

So when a language librarian position opened in the linguistics department at UCSD, Linda Murphy immediately applied. She’s been holding that job ever since.

“It’s been like working at the candy store and being able to taste the goods at the same time,” she said.

Linda Murphy
Chancellor Marye Anne Fox with Linda Murphy at this year's Service Awards ceremony.
Related story:
Vice Chancellor Joseph Watson to retire More >>

Murphy was one of 500 employees recognized during this year’s Service Awards ceremony at the Price Center Ballroom. But she was one of just two employees recognized for 40 years of service. The other honoree was Vice Chancellor Joseph Watson, who recently announced his retirement at the end of the academic year.

The employees recognized Thursday put in a total of 8,580 years of service, totaling more than 17.9 million working hours.

“That’s a fabulous record and I wanted to congratulate all of you,” said Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.

Staff members are crucial to the university’s operations, she added.

“It’s because of your dedication and commitment that we do so well,” she said.

Murphy dedicated herself to the linguistics department’s language library for 35 years. She worked at the Central Library for five years before that. She loved being a librarian because it was always different, year after year, she said. In the linguistics department, she oversaw about 8,000 books covering about 200 languages. She learned the basics for most of them in order to able to catalog volumes. The library, she said, is a true goldmine for those interested in languages.

500 employees were recognized for their years of service at UCSD
Here is a breakdown of their years of experience:
155 employees with 10 years of service
144 employees with 15 years of service
98 employees with 20 years of service
56 employees with 25 years of service
31 employees with 30 years of service
14 employees with 35 years of service
2 employees with 40 years of service

Murphy did some prospecting of her own. Hawaiian languages, available for independent study from the library, were some of her personal favorites. The library’s collection of materials in Native American languages also holds a special place in her heart and mind. The collection came from former UCSD linguistics professor Margaret Langdon, who had worked with many local tribes. When she died, Murphy went to her memorial service. Many Native American leaders attended too. They all started their remarks in their language. Then they said that without Langdon, their languages would have disappeared and they wouldn’t have been able to speak.

Murphy shared other fond memories of life on campus. She was there for the second Revelle watermelon drop. She met her former husband on campus. Angela Davis, now a well-known activist and UC Santa Cruz professor, and philosopher Herbert Marcuse used to have lunch outside Murphy’s Galbraith Hall office. In fact, most of the people who had Revelle buildings named after them were still around on campus in those early days, Murphy said.

Now that she’s retired, she said she plans to help her brother take care of their mother, who has Alzheimer’s. Murphy also wants to spend more time with her 10-year-old granddaughter. The former librarian said she hopes the little girl will want to study at UCSD some day.

 “UCSD is a great place,” she said. “I’m really proud of the way it has turned out.” 

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