Sterling Moss McMurrin died April 6, 1996, in St. George, Utah.
He was born January 12, 1914 in Woods Cross, Utah. His parents were Joseph W. McMurrin, Jr. and Gertrude Moss McMurrin. He was married to Natalie Barbara Cotterel in Salt Lake City on June 8, 1938.His early schooling was in the public schools of Ogden and Los Angeles. He spent his early days with his grandfather, William Moss, on the Deseret Livestock Ranch, which his grandfather founded-a time he always cherished. He earned BA and MA degrees from the University of Utah and a PhD in the School of Philosophy of the University of Southern California. After nine years as an instructor in religious studies for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and three years as a philosophy professor at the University of Southern California, he accepted an in 1948 as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Utah, where he subsequently served as Dean of the College of Letters and Science, Academic Vice President, Provost and Dean of Graduate School.
Dr. McMurrin was United States Commissioner of Education in the administration of President John F. Kennedy. In this capacity he was a major advocate of civil rights and school desegregation and was instrumental in developing and implementing national initiatives for hiring women and minorities in education. He was also responsible for including liberal arts in the National Defense Education Act. He served on numerous national educational boards and commissions and as a delegate to international conferences on education and cultural affairs.
Professor McMurrin was the author of more than two hundred scholarly books and articles on philosophy, religion, and education, and he lectured widely on philosophical subjects and issues of national importance. In 1964, he was appointed E.E. Ericksen Distinguished Professor of Philosophy. In 1984 he was the first recipient of the University of Utah's Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence in Education. He was awarded numerous honorary degrees and other recognitions. Three lectureships and an endowed chair have been established in his name. He was a Founding Trustee and the first Director of the prestigious international Tanner Lectures on Human Values.
Dr. McMurrin had two lifelong commitments: establishing the University of Utah as a major institution of higher education and preserving the freedom, vitality, and innovation of the LDS Church. His family hopes that his friends, associates, and students will remember and continue his good works.2 comments on this story
He is survived by a brother, Harold Moss McMurrin, St. George; his wife, Natalie, St. George; their children, Trudy McMurrin, Las Vegas, Nev.; Joseph Cotterel McMurrin, Honolulu, Hawaii; Sterling James McMurrin, Williamsville, Verm.; Laurie Reed, and Melanie McMurrin, both Salt Lake City; grandchildren, Natalie Roberta Howard, Mira McMurrin Smith, Scott McMurrin Reed, Lyra Zoe McMurrin Smith, Kivalani Grace McMurrin, and Sadie LaGotta McMurrin; step-grandchild, Jeoffrey McAllister; and Sterling's horse, Sonny.
Memorial services 12 noon Thursday, April 11, 1996, at Monument Park 15th Ward, 1320 So. Wasatch Drive, SLC. Friends may visit family on Wednesday, 6-8 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 East 1300 South, SLC, and on Thursday, 10:30-11:45 a.m. at the chapel prior to services.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah
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