Head of Montana State University Alumni Foundation to retire

Friday Jan. 27th, 2023

BOZEMAN – Chris Murray, president and CEO of the Montana State University Alumni Foundation, will retire on Feb. 28.   

Since Murray’s arrival in August 2014, the Alumni Foundation has raised over $630 million to fuel MSU’s people, places and programs. He was responsible for cultivating relationships with alumni and donors and securing private support to advance MSU. 

“Though retiring is bittersweet, the best time to leave is on a high note,” said Murray. “I’d say a $208 million record-breaking year is just that.” 

During fiscal year 2022, MSU announced a philanthropic gift of $101 million, the largest donation to any college of nursing in the U.S. at the time. Six months later, in February 2022, a $50 million gift from the Gianforte Family Foundation was announced that would support a building for MSU’s Gianforte School of Computing. 

Murray was also at the helm of the Alumni Foundation when it launched the public phase of its first comprehensive capital campaign in 2015, seeking to raise $300 million in private support. That campaign, “What It Takes,” ultimately raised $413 million from 41,000 donors, the largest fundraising effort in the state of Montana at the time. 

“Under Chris Murray’s leadership, the MSU Alumni Foundation team helped provide significant opportunities for our students, faculty, staff, as well as academic and research programs through philanthropy,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “We’re grateful for his dedication to the university's mission of serving our students and the people of Montana." 

Murray came to Montana State after stints at the University of Idaho and the University of Oregon, where he built fundraising programs and led two significant fundraising campaigns. During Murray’s tenure at the Alumni Foundation, annual fundraising totals have grown from $27.6 million to more than $75 million, and gifts to the endowment increased by $92 million, which nearly doubled endowed gifts, from $98 million to $191 million.  

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the incredible team at the Alumni Foundation and to have worked with some truly wonderful administrators, staff and faculty at MSU,” Murray said. “The Alumni Foundation team and the Board of Governors are unparalleled and will assure that the tremendous success we have achieved will continue long into the future.” 

“Chris has done an extraordinary job building an organization that is the envy of our peers,” said Greg Collins, chair of the Board of Governors. “His expertise, tenacity and tireless energy have been instrumental in our success and the very real impact on the university, the students, faculty and communities we support.”  

The Board of Governors will work with MSU to conduct a national search for Murray’s replacement.