Friday, February 12, 2021

Prof. John F. Murphy (1937-2021)

John MurphyWe are sorry to report the death of Professor John F. Murphy of Villanova University School of Law.

As a younger man, John initially planned to follow his father into medicine. He instead became intrigued with international law.

John earned both his B.A. and his LL.B. degrees from Cornell University. Following law school, John was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to work in India. Upon his return, John worked at Wall Street firms, and later in the legal advisor’s office for U.N. affairs at the U.S. Department of State, before turning to a career in academia. He began as a law professor in 1969 at the University of Kansas Law School, and ended at Villanova University School of Law, where he had joined the law faculty in 1983, and remained until his retirement in 2014. John also traveled the world to participate in conferences, teaching in Aix-en-Provence, London, Mexico City, Paris, and Haifa, and at Cornell and Georgetown Law Schools, and The Naval War College.

John had been recognized in 2011 with the Louis B. Sohn Award for Public International Law. He authored many law journal articles and books, including The Regulation of International Business and Economic Relations (published in 1991 with the late Alan C. Swan), a legal casebook that was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the American Society of International Law.

His family asks that in lieu of flowers, you should consider a prayer for the betterment of the world, and, when the spirit moves you, to donate to a charity of your choice.


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John Murphy was a wonderful colleague, mentor, and friend. I'm sure that those of you who knew him remember well his smile and chuckle, as well as his incredible background as an international lawyer and academic. He was a steady, gentle, and inspiring force for all.

For those of you who did not have the pleasure of getting to know John, you can read more about him on his faculty profile at Villanova Law,, and in volume 56(3) of the Villanova Law Review, containing materials from the Symposium held in his honor. See Of course, you can learn about John as well as from the vast world of his scholarship and discussions of his public service.

Posted by: Diane Penneys Edelman | Feb 12, 2021 1:31:58 PM

I met John, his English wife Sandra and twin sons Andrew and Robert at the University of Kansas. They were my host family. In fact, I found out upon arrival on campus that they had selected me from a pool of foreign students. We shared a love for curry dishes a delicacy he had acquired in India. When a problem arose regarding my student visa John helped me. When I became the president of the African Students Union, I asked John to participate in a symposium on Africa. He gave a lecture on the Middle East Crisis and its impact on Africa. John was kind, with powerful intellect. He will be missed.

Posted by: Kwadwo Akosah | May 7, 2021 11:01:18 AM

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