The University of Pennsylvania Class of 1943
Honors Its Classmate, PFC. Frederick C. Murphy, 1918-1945
By Dedicating Its Gift of a Circulation Area
In Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
To His Memory
At its 50th reunion, the Class of 1943 pledged $3 million to the University of Pennsylvania. It was decided that some of that money would be used to improve the public space in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. That gift was directed to the design and construction of a new circulation area, one of several class gifts dedicated to the complete updating and renewal of the intellectual commons.
However, it was not until some time after the 50th reunion that it came to the attention of the class that one of its members had fallen in combat. Queries were sent out to discover more about Frederick C. Murphy and the circumstances surrounding the Medal of Honor citation. A search of university records revealed Frederick C. Murphy was enrolled in the fall term of 1939-40, but it is unclear whether he remained into the spring semester. Because his attendance was brief, few classmates remembered Murphy particularly well, said class president Jack Lawler. "There were a few who had known him as a freshman. He came from a suburb of Boston, and students rode back on the train from Boston to Philadelphia with him. Some were in his dormitory, but we lost sight of him after the war and did not know he had been killed."
At a subsequent class meeting called to discuss the disposition of its gift, the class resolved to dedicate the library work to Murphy's memory. A plaque and portrait are mounted in his honor.
Frederick C. Murphy died performing heroic actions that saved the lives of others in the 65th Infantry Division during battle on the Siegfried Line near Saarlaurtern, Germany on March 18, 1945. He was posthumously awarded the military's highest commendation, The Medal of Honor, and a federal building in Waltham, Massachusetts bears his name.