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Art & Art History
University of Mississippi

Jan Murray

Professor Emerita and Associate Dean of Liberal Arts

Foundations: 2D Design & Art Education
MFA, Yale University
BA, Yale University


Jan Murray is a native New Yorker who was born and raised in midtown Manhattan. Encouraged by her parents from the beginning, Murray recalls always having art materials at home and always engaging in the art of drawing. She attended Yale College, receiving her BA in 1975. After graduation she worked as an arts specialist for The Teacher Center, Inc. a non-profit organization whose goal was the continuing education of primary and secondary school teachers. Returning to the Yale School of Art for graduate studies in graphic design, she received her MFA degree in 1982. As a professional graphic designer Murray specialized in educational publishing. She served as a senior graphic designer for Xerox Educational Publications. At that time XEP was publisher of  “My Weekly Reader,” a respected children’s newspaper. Murray designed and art-directed the kindergarten through second grade editions of “My Weekly Reader.”

Murray returned to the academy in 1987, when named Dean of Davenport College, one of Yale’s twelve undergraduate residential colleges. For the next decade she served as an administrator and member of the faculty. As a member of the graphic design faculty, Murray taught design and typography to undergraduate and graduate students. She also served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the art major.

In 1997 Murray was named Chair of the Department of Art at The University of Mississippi. Murray, whose special interests include graphic design for non-profit organizations, interdisciplinary projects, regional folk arts, music and poetry, holds a broad view of the value of education in the arts. “I feel that art courses offer all kinds of students a very special liberal arts experience. Studying art can enrich students’ experiences and help them discover their role in society. In all our classes we want to provide a nurturing environment for creative work–a place where people develop critical cognitive skills and self-discipline, as well as self-expression and creativity.” Murray served as department chair until 2002, when she was named an Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Her special assignments include issues surrounding diversity, especially with regard to the faculty and interdisciplinary initiatives. She believes strongly that the college has a positive and important role to play as part of an institution which seeks to nurture an inclusive environment that is responsive to the aspirations of all of its faculty and students.